Camps are the heart of community at Burning Man events. Camps are how a group of friends or strangers goes from casually packing up their car, unsure of the adventure that awaits them, to becoming a year-round connected group planning and creating feats of creativity, interactivity, and fun for us all to experience. This year, 1,576 camps registered to be part of Black Rock City. That’s 1,576 mini communities ranging from 6 to 400+ people from all over the world. That’s in addition to the hundreds of camps that are part of our over 85 official Regional Events around the globe.
How have all of these camps evolved over time? By figuring it out! And our community sure has figured a lot out. There has been some support given to our rapidly-growing network of camps, but we have a long way to go. At Theme Camp Symposium events, through past formal proposals to create a camp-focused team, and from community conversations on social media, Burning Man Project has been asked to provide additional support and resources to camps large and small.
To that end, we’re thrilled to announce the Camp Development & Support Team!
This team is our way of “answering the call” and we are excited to engage with you to learn what your camps need most and how this new team can help you thrive in your hard work. The Camp Development & Support (CDS) Team has been created to serve the camp community in Black Rock City and camps throughout the Global Network. Our objectives are to:
- Support and advise camps to reach their goals,
- Connect and amplify camps, leaders, resources, and our collective experience.
Modeling after the Community Development discipline, this team does not have all the answers. This team is your resource for addressing camp-specific challenges. The support they provide will help all camps develop, achieve their goals, and be the best they can be.
The initial Camp Development & Support team members are leaders from a diverse array of camps, many with over a decade of experience. They are Ali of Kazbah, Candyass of Blissfits Retirement Village, Doctor Dilemma of Paradise Motel, Pele of Red Lightning, Pono of Creation Nation BRC! and formerly with the Placement Team, and Yeti of BRCHOA Village. This team represents a range of camp sizes, sectors, street types, and types of interactivity. We’ve intentionally started off with a small, nimble team so we can figure out what’s needed and adapt quickly. There are areas of experience we look forward to adding and there will be future opportunities to participate in this team’s work. Read more about each of the team members here.
To be clear, this team is separate from the BRC Placement Team. Camp Leads will still communicate with their Placers for everything they already do, including their camp questionnaire, camp placement decisions, Directed Group Sale, and on playa during build week.
There are three ways you can engage with the Camp Development & Support Team now:
1. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone can email us questions, challenges you’re facing, ideas you have, etc. Our team will help however they can. We may directly answer your question, link you to a resource, connect you (consensually) with someone from another camp who went through a similar challenge, or direct you to a distributed social network so you can get multiple answers to your question. Think of this as a help desk for the inner workings of camps in BRC and across the Regional Network — build, kitchens, acculturation, logistics, interactivity, frontage, Leave No Trace, camp finances, camper participation, leadership, and the list goes on!
2. Apply for the 2018-19 Camp Advisory Program
We’re piloting a Camp Advisory Program, starting with BRC Theme Camps and Villages. Camps will be paired with a CDS team member to advise and mentor them throughout the year. There are many reasons your camp may be interested in applying for this program. Perhaps your camp is struggling with acculturation issues, growth pains, leadership model challenges, communication problems, feeling stale and wanting to reinvent your interactivity, or something else entirely! Would having a new voice in the mix make a difference as you work through your challenges? Camps must fill out a questionnaire if interested, the deadline is Friday, July 6 at 12pm Noon Pacific Time. Full program information and the questionnaire are available here.
3. Sign up for our Newsletter
Starting in the fall we’ll be putting out an email newsletter with updates from the CDS Team. If you’d like to know what we’re up to, sign up here. We’ll also be creating content focused on the inner workings of camps for the Burning Man Journal. We will share inspiring learnings, resources, and stories coming from camps in Black Rock City and Regional Events around the world. So much wisdom exists within our decentralized community, we’re excited to share this with a wider audience.
In 2019, this team will also oversee the Theme Camp Symposium programming and plan year-round virtual events to connect camps around topics of interest. We will be figuring out how to better centralize the resources our community has developed so it’s easier for us to learn from each other.
What we do and how we function will evolve from your feedback. Please email email@example.com with your ideas. Thank you for your support as we discover how to best support all of you!
How do I contact the Camp Development & Support Team?
Anyone can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is my inquiry confidential?
Yes, inquiries are between you and the CDS Team. We will ask for permission first if we would like to share our conversations with any other parties. Please note communication with email@example.com is not secure or encrypted.
What if I don’t like the answer they give me?
This team exists to support camps, not to dictate what they should or should not do. Unless we are communicating a Burning Man policy, it’s up to you whether to take or leave our advice, answers, or communications. It’s your Burning Man experience, your camp, and your decisions to make, and we’d love to help however we can.
How can I get involved with the team?
We’ve intentionally started off with a small, nimble team so we can figure out what’s needed and adapt quickly. There are areas of experience we look forward to adding and there will be future opportunities to participate in this team’s work. If you are interested in being involved in the future, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
Top photo by Chuck Revell