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In the News: After 37 years, Pompano Beach couple turn over reins to their nudist camp
Posted on Friday, September 15 @ 13:44:24 EDT
Topic: Nude Beaches
Miami Herald, FL

Nudist couple decide it's time to cover up

After 37 years, a Pompano Beach couple turned over the reins to their beloved nudist camp

Janice and Charles Youngman have run South Florida's only nudist camp for the past 37 years.

They were on the cutting edge. They sponsored nude volleyball teams; they hosted the ''Barely Proper Players,'' a weekly theater; and a preacher even led services in the buff.

''Our intent was to live and die there,'' said Janice Youngman, who raised four children on the grounds.

Jan and Charlie Youngman, 28-year owners of the Seminole Health Club Nudist Resort in Davie.

But now that Janice and Charles are in their 70s, his poor health has made nudism difficult. He gets chilly. And the two have taken to wearing clothes.

They have given up their beloved 10-acre compound in west Davie and moved to a house in Pompano Beach.

It's time to give up the lifestyle, Janice said.

''My husband's cold all the time,'' she said. ``He's gotta wear a jacket.''

Will they stay in the buff in Pompano?

``We have a house, and we don't have a fenced-in yard, so naturally we don't.''

In June, the Youngmans sold the Seminole Health Club to businessman Patrick Toma (a non-nudist developer) for $3.2 million.

Toma has recruited his best friend, Ryan Hennessey, also not a nudist, to manage the property and live in one of the cabins. It's been a bit of an adjustment from his former digs on Las Olas Boulevard.

Toma said he sees potential in ...

the nudist park and hopes to bring back the Miss Nude Florida pageant the Youngmans once hosted -- their daughter Cindy took the crown in 1976.

He also wants to attract more locals, who may want to spend weekends in the nude.

On a recent afternoon, Pat Waite shed a printed wrap and waded into the Seminole Health Club pool, a jeweled necklace and sunglasses the only thing between her and the water.

As she swam, a man with nothing more than his sagging belly as a cover-up wandered past.

''It's a way of life,'' Waite said. ``It's very relaxing, very natural.''

A common question from a lot of non-nudists, said Janelle Cardini, 46, who joined Waite in the pool: ``What do nudists do when it gets cold out?''

Her answer: ``We put our clothes on.''

Standing at the edge of the pool was Toma, wearing noticeably more clothing.

Some cover up slightly to walk around the park's RVs and cabins, others throw on jeans and T-shirts to leave the park for work. One man mows the lawn in the altogether.

A smattering of exercise equipment sits next to the pool, where residents have the option of naked cardio workouts.

Nude volleyball is a popular activity, with the park trying to field a traveling team.


But there are certain rules. Sitting down without a towel is a no-no, as is wearing dark sunglasses.

One thing Toma doesn't plan to change -- the park's clothing-is-optional policy.

Toma hopes to capitalize on being the only nudist camp in South Florida and learn from other larger nudist campgrounds in the state.

He wants to add space for 100 more RVs at the site and create a mile-long jogging path.

''Some people think I'm crazy,'' Toma said. ``Even the appraisal said the highest and best use was homes for $1.5 million to $3 million, but I see the potential in the long run.''

The park's 40 permanent residents haven't objected to the new ownership.

''We're trying to get them to be nudists, we're working on it,'' said Waite, who has lived at the park for about a year.

Her husband, who has been a nudist for 30 years, persuaded her to join in about two years ago.

''I was raised here in South Florida, and I used to try and peek over the fence, never thinking I'd be here,'' she said.

To celebrate the park's 37th anniversary over Labor Day weekend, there was a naked luau, complete with a roast pig.


Toma has recruited his best friend, Ryan Hennessey, also not a nudist, to manage the property and live in one of the cabins. It's been a bit of an adjustment from his former digs on Las Olas Boulevard.

''Carrying on a conversation with a naked guy takes a little getting used to,'' said Hennessey, 32. But the job isn't without its perks.

''If I order any Chinese or pizza, it comes fast,'' he said with a smirk.

Janice Youngman said she misses the 150 or so French Canadians who come to the park each winter. Many had been coming for more than a decade.

She'll also miss the resident monkey, Chip, who lives like a king on his very own island. But so far, Janice hasn't minded covering up.

''We're busy, so I don't miss that part,'' she said. 'We can always fence in our yard if we want to do it. Right now, I don't miss it. We've been nudists for years and years, and they'll probably be times we'll say, `It might be nice to get in the yard.' We could probably take our clothes off in the pool, and no one would know it.''

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