I posted a blog on our camp's FaceyBook page (LetsGo Lounge) addressing a closely related topic, especially in the few weeks before the burn. I'm reposting it here since I think it is pertinent, and provides viewpoint from a camp organizer perspective.
How to request to join a camp
So you have decided to go, and want to camp with others for whatever reason (more fun, good advice, safety in numbers, you're scared to go alone, etc). Most camps, registered or not, spend a certain amount of time, money and energy preparing for the trip. As the burn approaches (particularly in August), most of the camp energy is spent gathering supplies, organizing people and logistics, laboring on camp infrastructure or art projects, and sometimes just basic fund-raising. They may be open to having additional campers with them, but they have plenty on their plate, and trying to figure out if this 'new person' is trustworthy, dependable and fun would be another challenge. Thus, a tip for people asking to join a camp is to demonstrate the value that you can bring, and the almost negligible cost that you will cause. Yes, it is like a job interview. Think of it as interviewing to be someone's roommate.
The following are amalgamations of inquiries I have come across in the years I've been going. Imagine if someone were requesting to share a room in your house or apartment, and came up with the following responses.... what would your reaction be?
I have no ticket, but I'm hoping karmic goodness will provide one. I've never experienced it before, and am not sure what to expect, or how to prepare. My specialty is performing 5th level chakra cleansings. I can contribute karma blasts to the camp and campmates to improve our energy flows. I am willing to camp with you, but I would need (economic subsidy). What are your fees, and do they provide RVs and food? I have (verrrrry specific & complicated dietary preferences), would that be a problem? I would need a ride for me, my 3 suitcases of stuff, and an art sculpture I'm bringing. I'm -very- 420-friendly. Can I bring my/ can you bring me some party favors? I know the people from (some group that may have been at BM but I don't know them at all), and they can vouch for me. I don't have (important camping gear), could I borrow one from you? I want to get supplies in Nevada, but could you get them for me and I will pay you back when I meet you up there? I want to go, but is there a way to avoid the dust? We have (large noisy unruly vehicle) that we want to bring. I plan to drag my (friend of requestor that doesn't seem to really want to go but is being 'dragged' along). Can you get me early arrival passes?
I/we am/are (pertinent bio-data), and am looking forward to this years burn because (intriguing back story). I am proficient at (useful and practical skillset), and have (interesting experiences that would enrich a camp)
I have my ticket, and after reading all the resources available on the net, I have the food, water, shelter and clothing I hope I'll need. I want to be leaving on (date) from (location) and plan to leave on (date), but can be flexible. I have room for (people or stuff). I have (camp supplies) that I can bring, but also can bring (interesting foodstuffs, beverages, homemade crafts that are unique to you). If there is something your camp is specifically looking for (item or intangible resource), please let me know. I talked to (someone camp knows) and your camp sounded interesting. I do have some questions, and hopefully you can answer them or point me in the right direction.
The 'good' section is a decent way to introduce yourself. However, It doesn't guarantee a spot, or even a response. Like all good roommate situations, expect much preliminary cross examination. To point, the following are questions I would ask you if you wanted to camp with me:
Is this your first time? What compelled you to go for the first time? Are you a fan of camping? How do you think you'll do in the dust and heat?
What are your expectations of this years burn?
What are your expectations of a BM camp?
(If you've gone before) What was your camp like last time? Why aren't you camping with them again?
What, if any, are dealbreakers for you in a camp? That is, what are events, behaviors, or characteristics that would cause you to pack your stuff and flee, or at the very least scream in disgust?
Do you have any questions for me, about me, the concept of the camp, or about BM in general?
In the process of this Q&A session, you and the camp are going to get a better idea if you are a match for each other. The process is worth it.. after all, it is a week long experience in a stimulating and stressful environment, not a movie date. You want to be right for each other.