You’ll hear about our camp via the blog, and this page will be updated accordingly. If you are going to Burning Man or similar local festivals and would like to participate in any way, please e-mail us or leave a comment here! New members are also welcome! Our theme camp will be at 7:30 Plaza at Burning Man 2017.
Interactivity is at the core of our camp’s theme: We want to recreate the atmosphere of the Gymnasium in its original, Ancient Greek meaning, as a facility for training and competition in public games, as well a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The term originates from the word [gymnós] meaning “naked”, because historically in Ancient Greece one exercised naked, and we would like to revive this aspect too, as we think that by doing athletic and fun activities naked, participants will experience bonding aspect of such events stronger. We believe that nudity will make physical activities more fun and at the same time will be important in bringing across our message about body acceptance. Nudity will be encouraged but not compulsory in all activities. We hope that all our participants will only feel more comfortable and confident in their own skin after our events.
Nowadays, physical and intellectual activities are usually seen as belonging to separate domains, but we want to bring back the idea that they mix well together, and our events will include physical exercise, arts and philosophical discussions. We plan to hold events every day.
But we shall certainly have several athletic activities, as we shall revive a few events from the authentic Olympic games with some modifications.
Greek-style wrestling, and as a variation, oil wrestling; we shall provide olive oil to participants; on the one hand, oil will make wrestling more slippery = difficult and fun at the same time, but on the other, we think participants will appreciate its soothing effect on their skin, being in the harsh arid environment.
We had do think how go around prohibition of animals at Burning Man for our “equestrian” events…
The solution is simple, our participants will play the roles of both riders and horses:
piggy-back and wheelbarrow races (possibly relay races, depending on the number of participants) will be our equivalent of equestrian events. We would like to hold these two during the Burning Man’s edition of the World Naked Bike Ride aka Naked Pub Crawl. We may offer participants to cover themselves in olive oil for these events as well, as a symbolic act for filling a car tank, to remind that the World Naked Bike Ride is a demonstration for oil-independency and for alternative energy sources and body-powered transportation (not to mention that the slippery aspect will make it more fun as well).
A frisbee throw will be our equivalent of discus competition (this is one of the reasons why we would like our camp to be at the esplanade); we could have one frisbee event during day and another during night with LED-lit frisbee discs.
For athletic training, we would like to provide workshops on wrestling, yoga, acro-yoga, street-style dances (hip-hop, house, break etc.) and capoeira. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art disguised as a dance and usually accompanied by music. In this aspect, it is similar to the way Ancient Greek athletes often trained, accompanied by live musicians.
As for the artistic aspect of our theme, we plan to hold a poetry slam. In ancient Greece, literary events were an indispensable part of athletic festivals, including the Olympics. Also, champion athletes commissioned great poets to compose their victory odes, so we would like to combine one of our athletic events with a poetry competition and make the losers compose odes to the winners.
Similarly, to make our events even more interactive, we could introduce bets among contestants or their supporters: e.g. “If you win, I’ll give you a foot rub every night for three nights”.
Our camp has two certified and even more amateur masseurs, so we would like to provide massages to the winners and most active participants of our events.
To add another aspect of Ancient Greek culture – mythology and drama – we will reenact some famous duels between mythological figures.
For the philosophical aspect of our theme, we plan to hold discussions on various topics, and at the same time experiment with different forms of discussion: symposia, Socratic dialogues, debates, autobiographical explorations of themes related to the body. Our topics will include:
– body image and body acceptance across cultures and history; their roles in naturism, and what naturism may teach the rest of society about body acceptance;
– body modification (e.g. cosmetic surgery, piercing, tattoos, scarring, the practice of circumcision);
– the place of god(s) and humans in our modern worldview and in Ancient Greece;
– the concept of gymnasium, as training for the body and mind in equal measure; mind/body relationship; mediations of the body and athleticism of the mind.
Let us know what you think, and if you cannot participate directly but have an idea related to our theme, just comment here. You can go through ‘How it used to be’ sections of this website to get some inspiration for our camp, be it athletic activities or simply fun!
And let’s just reiterate this quote from Wikipedia:
“The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term γυμνός [gymnós] meaning “naked”.
The word gymnasium is the latinisation of the Greek noun γυμνάσιον (gymnasion), “gymnastic school”, in pl. “bodily exercises” and generally “school” which in turn is derived from the common Greek adjective γυμνός (gymnos) meaning “naked”, by way of the related verb γυμνάζω (gymnazo), whose meaning is “to train naked”, “train in gymnastic exercise”, generally “to train, to exercise”. The verb had this meaning because one undressed for exercise. Historically, the gymnasium was used for exercise, communal bathing, and scholarly and philosophical pursuits. The English noun gymnast, first recorded in 1594, is formed from the Greek γυμναστής (gymnastēs), but in Greek this word means “trainer” not “gymnast”. The palaistra was the part of the gymnasium devoted to wrestling, boxing and ball games.”
Active Naturists’ festival blog:
– first experience at Burning Man in 2012
– freedom and creativity, just at a smaller scale at Free Form Festival 2014
– theme camp for Burning Man 2015 announced!
– FreeForm Festival 2015: camp application approved!
– theme camp application submitted for Burning Man 2015
– first experience as a theme camp at FreeForm Festival 2015
– Gymnasium theme camp will be at a prime location at Burning Man!
– Gymnasium schedule at Burning Man 2015
– camp Gymnasium at Burning Man 2015
– Gymnasium schedule at Burning Man 2016 + 2 tickets available for new campmates
– camp Gymnasium at Burning Man 2016
– our theme camp will be at 7:30 Plaza at Burning Man 2017
2 thoughts on “Gymnasium theme camp”
Hello! I am hoping you might be able to help me. My camp plans for this years burn just fell through and I am looking for a camp. I am a second year Burner and Black femme living in Portland, OR. I am reaching out to camps that I found in an article about Black Burners- I would prefer to camp with POC. If you can help or know of someone who can I would very much appreciate it. Sorry to bother you, thank you for your time !
Hi! I was wondering if you will be putting on a burning man camp for 2018? And if so do you have any spaces? I love what y’all are doing here!