Questions about DPW/Greeters/etc

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Questions about DPW/Greeters/etc

Postby psychoalpha » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:31 pm

Okay, here it goes:

This year will be my second Burn. My first was last year and was all kinds of amazing, and the highlight of the whole thing for me was actually the time I spent volunteering, so I'm committed to doing far more of it this year.

I'm hoping to either get in with DPW and/or Greeters or the Rangers or SOMETHING that will enable me to do a lot more on the playa this year. My question is this, though -- all my friends will be arriving on Sunday, but clearly my goal is to get out there beforehand. I'm assuming I'll be able to find a way down there, but what's the camp situation like once I'm there, especially if I don't know anyone?

Do people just form a loose camp since there's a much smaller number of people there pre-Burn? Or should I be prepared to camp alone? I realize this might be a stupid question, but that's what ePlaya is (partially) for, right?

I guess it'd just be nice to hear a bit from people who've worked with the Rangers or DPW before so I can do at least the tiniest bit of planning!
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Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:52 pm

Rangers and DPW both have camps that set up before the gate opens.
I'm pretty sure that greeters do to. I beleive that you are also permitted to camp someplace that is not reserved, just so long as you aren't saving vast swathes of land.
Rangers and DPW also both have pretty definite standards, especially for getting in early. They want people who will work. The party isn't supposed to start until 12:01 monday morning. Yeah, there are pre-celebrations. there's a natural tendancy to celebrate accomplishments like "Flying the Man." Proving that you are there to work and not party is an important step.
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Postby Savannah » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:57 pm

You would be unlikely to camp alone unless you wanted to. (DPW is there especially early.) Volunteer opportunities involving early entry involve a significant number of people--the main site says at least 2,000 volunteers a year--and if my own bracelet number was any indication, there were @ least 3,000 people with early entry for volunteerism and/or art to set up. And the terrain looked that way when I came in--far more sparsely populated than I usually get to see, but not frighteningly so. I camped on a spot I knew was not reserved, and then watched as the city assembled around me.

It would probably be easy to network on mailing lists with regards to having neighbors once you were accepted. However, not every kind of volunteer opportunity involves early entry. It depends on what you're doing and when.

http://burningman.com/participate/volunteer_faq.html
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Re: Questions about DPW/Greeters/etc

Postby Rice » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:01 pm

psychoalpha wrote:Okay, here it goes:

This year will be my second Burn. My first was last year and was all kinds of amazing, and the highlight of the whole thing for me was actually the time I spent volunteering, so I'm committed to doing far more of it this year.

I'm hoping to either get in with DPW and/or Greeters or the Rangers or SOMETHING that will enable me to do a lot more on the playa this year. My question is this, though -- all my friends will be arriving on Sunday, but clearly my goal is to get out there beforehand. I'm assuming I'll be able to find a way down there, but what's the camp situation like once I'm there, especially if I don't know anyone?

Do people just form a loose camp since there's a much smaller number of people there pre-Burn? Or should I be prepared to camp alone? I realize this might be a stupid question, but that's what ePlaya is (partially) for, right?

I guess it'd just be nice to hear a bit from people who've worked with the Rangers or DPW before so I can do at least the tiniest bit of planning!


Hi Psychoalpha,

Awesome!!! It is nice to see that you want to give back to Black Rock City with your time and energy...

If you wish to get into the event prior to the official gate opening you will require one of the much coveted (and hard to get) early entry pass, as well as a ticket. If you are involved with the setup of a large theme camp or have already proven yourself with DPW you may be lucky enough to get early entry.

No group is prepared to give one of the above mentioned coveted early entry passes to someone they have not worked with. So, join the rangers for the burn week ... work lots of shifts, get noticed, and you may end up in a position to get in early next year. I suppose the same goes for theme camps, but based on the "comments" on eplaya they are not necessarily getting all the passes they desire.

The Burning Man site has many volunteer options if you don't know where to start: http://www.burningman.com/participate/volunteer.html

http://www.burningman.com/participate/vol_event.html


That is how I became involved with Parameter. It started off with a shift to see if I liked it, then I ended up adding shifts for the remainder of the burn. The following year I worked the entire burn week. Last burn I worked for 3 days prior to the burn and at least one shift each day during the burn. That works for me, but certainly not for everyone!!!!

I suggest you check out the BM web site and see if anything grabs your eye. The earlier you start the process, the better the opportunities.

Good luck on your quest!

TTFN.,
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Postby TomServo » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:40 pm

Youre in Portland...so not too far away. You can volunteer during the off season with DPW. But, be prepared to work. Its loads of fun, but work comes first. My friend is a greeter, and he goes out almost as early...but seems to love it.
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Postby C.f.M. » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:07 am

If you just want to "do something," skip Rangers and DPW, go for Greeters, Post Office, Arctic Cafe, etc.
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Postby AntiM » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:23 am

Rangers begin with filling out the volunteer questionnaire on the main site. Then applicants are selected to train in groups with a mentor, several shifts, several mentors. The mentors then select who is right for rangering and the next year the "alpha" rangers begin doing shifts. (May start the same year, I'm not 100% certain) Many people are bonked, just don't have the skills, mindset, physical ability, want to ranger for all the wrong reasons. Like early entry.

I think I have the basics right. I'm not a ranger, but I camp with a couple. LOL, everyone who has stayed in my basement room for more than one night has become a Black Rock Ranger! Odd, yes?
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Postby oneeyeddick » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:28 am

If you want to be a Ranger, you are first required to stay in AntiM's basement.
We have an obligation to make space for everyone, we have no obligation to make that space pleasant.
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Postby AntiM » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:30 am

oneeyeddick wrote:If you want to be a Ranger, you are first required to stay in AntiM's basement.


Must like cats.
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Postby PavementBlues » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:06 am

oneeyeddick wrote:If you want to be a Ranger, you are first required to stay in AntiM's basement.


IT PUTS THE LOTION ON ITS SKIN OR IT GETS LECTURED ABOUT THE VALUE OF NON-CONFRONTATIONAL MEDIATION AGAIN.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:18 am

AntiM wrote:Rangers begin with filling out the volunteer questionnaire on the main site. Then applicants are selected to train in groups with a mentor, several shifts, several mentors. The mentors then select who is right for rangering and the next year the "alpha" rangers begin doing shifts. (May start the same year, I'm not 100% certain) Many people are bonked, just don't have the skills, mindset, physical ability, want to ranger for all the wrong reasons.

It is possible to do the Ranger orientation (a step AntiM may have skipped) off playa. In San Francisco, of course, but I think Seattle, too. Maybe Portland, there are a lot of burners there. So, spending a weekend in San Francisco or Seattle and taking that might get you ahead of the game. There are, I think, earlier than city building shifts with mentors--I forget if that's work weekends or regionals or what.
And keep in mind that it's been a long time since I was slightly plugged into that world, and I can't spend the nights in AntiM's basement, so I may not have invested the neurons to get this right.
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Postby VeganChoirGirl » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:32 am

I think everyone has pretty much summed it up.

First, DPW is a pretty tight knit crew. If you have some serious skills: welding, heavy machinery, carpentry, construction, etc. they may just be the right group for you. If not, there is not likely to be a spot with this group. I am no DPW, so I am not 100% sure how they handle their early entry *though DPW is the front lines when it comes to early entry...especially if you want to be out there for a month or more* but I assume, like every other group, that their early entry passes are given out first by seniority, then my skill sets needed, and then first come first serve.

I do know several people that came out early their first year with Rangers, but I do believe they did training OFF PLAYA well in advance.

I would start, as Sav said, by filling out the volunteer form on the bm site, listing your skills honestly (odd skills are sometimes needed...so if you know how to do something unusual, don't forget to put it down...que the sex jokes and inuendos) and telling them a little bit about yourself.

I volunteer and go out early. It's incredibly hard work and sometimes thankless...but honestly...it's the best part of my burn.

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Postby C.f.M. » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:43 am

PavementBlues wrote:
oneeyeddick wrote:If you want to be a Ranger, you are first required to stay in AntiM's basement.


IT PUTS THE LOTION ON ITS SKIN OR IT GETS LECTURED ABOUT THE VALUE OF NON-CONFRONTATIONAL MEDIATION AGAIN.



rofl rofl rofl


Rangering in BRC requires sitting through a training, then some in-training shifts and even then you might not get it. They will politely suggest you sign up for something else.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:44 am

So, is it easier to stay late with DPW and do clean up than get in early?
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Postby PavementBlues » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:49 am

theCryptofishist wrote:It is possible to do the Ranger orientation (a step AntiM may have skipped) off playa. In San Francisco, of course, but I think Seattle, too. Maybe Portland, there are a lot of burners there. So, spending a weekend in San Francisco or Seattle and taking that might get you ahead of the game. There are, I think, earlier than city building shifts with mentors--I forget if that's work weekends or regionals or what.
And keep in mind that it's been a long time since I was slightly plugged into that world, and I can't spend the nights in AntiM's basement, so I may not have invested the neurons to get this right.


Ranger orientations take place all over the country, in just about every region that has Burners. The schedule can be accessed at rangers.burningman.com and will be updated with this year's orientation dates and locations in May. As for the Mentor shifts, I've never heard of off-playa Mentoring - it's difficult to judge how an Alpha is going to Ranger unless you are right there in the middle of the madness with them.
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Postby C.f.M. » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:58 am

To be a BRC Ranger, mentoring shifts must be done on-playa (after training, and only if you've been at least one previous year).
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Postby psychoalpha » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:43 am

Thanks for the input!

I filled out the volunteer form and indicated that I'd be happy doing work with DPW, Rangers, Arctica, Artery, Greeters, etc.

A couple of my friends were DPW a couple of years ago and have put me in touch with some people who they think might be able to help me out, but, like I said - I'm not so dead set on DPW and I know they're tight-knit group. And that's fine.

I like the idea of the Rangers a lot, and from what I gather they do off-playa orientations. I can easily get to SF, though it'd be great if they offered them in Seattle (or Portland, for that matter).

I figure that any way this pans out, I'll just be happy to volunteer again. I have my sights set on lamplighting, too. :)
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Postby PavementBlues » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:50 am

psychoalpha wrote:I like the idea of the Rangers a lot, and from what I gather they do off-playa orientations. I can easily get to SF, though it'd be great if they offered them in Seattle (or Portland, for that matter).


If you end up Rangering, please God try to get the handle 'Ranger Balzac'. I want to hear the annoyance in Khaki's voice when they have to call you on the radio.
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Postby Bob » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:57 am

Might violate radio protocols.

Try "Wet Spot", a DPW water truck driver retired that alias 10+ years ago.
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Postby PavementBlues » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:15 pm

Bob wrote:Might violate radio protocols.


The cretins must not appreciate classic literature. Sigh.
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Postby gyre » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:12 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:So, is it easier to stay late with DPW and do clean up than get in early?

Always, for any crew.
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Postby Bob » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:36 pm

That's what I'd tell first-timers.

I like July, before "DPW" shows up with their rah-rah bullshit.
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Postby Lord Of Ruin » Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:31 pm

Ok, a couple of points of refinement and opinion:

Yes, there are normally Ranger trainings in Portland and Seattle.

Training is required before signing up for mentor shifts. Mentor shifts must be done on playa. As of last year, there was only ONE pre-event mentor shift which was Sunday before event opening. This is for people that already have done their training off playa.

At the conclusion of mentoring, after a deliberation period of somewhere between 2 and 60 minutes the mentors let volunteers know who made the Ranger cut. At that point you are allowed (and encouraged) to sign up for shifts. Rangers generally like Rangers to do at least three shifts during the week, and like all Rangers to work the burn itself. REad those expectations again, if you don't mind.

So, it goes: 8-hours training -> 6 hour mentor shift -> decision

Last year had a higher bonk rate than the year prior. Standards and emphasis fluctuates with the overall mission and skills of the Ranger body.

Ok...Gate will also allow early entry for new volunteers. However, we have strong expectations about your working, and it's policed a bit. The days of SAYING you're going to work for a department, getting in early, and then splitting to party are pretty much over. Still happens, but most departments have come up with unique ways to combat this.

Another note: If you checked a whole bunch of departments on the VQ, don't be surprised if most departments turn you down for early entry. People that don't select one or a few departments aren't generally coming out to try something they like, they're shopping for a way to accomplish their goal (free tix, early entry, free food). They'll gladly take you during the event when everything is up and running, but pre-event is very much a high speed/low supervision/get your shit together type affair. Most pre-event peeps are working 12-14 hours a day and are trying mightily to be ready for the doors to open.

Finally, a follow-up question: How early is "early" to you? As mentioned elsewhere...some DPW are there for almost a month prior....Gate has people out about 3 weeks prior. The further out from opening date, the tighter the requirements it is to get an entry pass as a general rule. Very, very specialized skillsets and experience for those. Most departments generally gear up in the week just prior to event opening and have their volunteers start at various times during that week.
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Postby VeganChoirGirl » Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:39 pm

Lord Of Ruin wrote:Another note: If you checked a whole bunch of departments on the VQ, don't be surprised if most departments turn you down for early entry. People that don't select one or a few departments aren't generally coming out to try something they like, they're shopping for a way to accomplish their goal (free tix, early entry, free food). They'll gladly take you during the event when everything is up and running, but pre-event is very much a high speed/low supervision/get your shit together type affair. Most pre-event peeps are working 12-14 hours a day and are trying mightily to be ready for the doors to open.


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Postby gyre » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:12 am

This very common attitude ignores those of us that prefer to work for more than one department, which I highly recommend.

Who do you think burns out first?


And don't call anything 'free' that is given out for work during the event.
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Postby Rice » Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:45 am

It is quite common for an individual to work for more than one department. Most people that do that have volunteered for years and gradually expanded their horizons...

Once you have proven yourself with one department it is easier to get recommendations with others.
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Postby Dr. Pyro » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:58 am

Another suggestion is considering helping Robbiedobbs and the Pottie Project. She is both a member of the Rangers and DPW, but what she does is both unique and necessary. You can see a lot of Black Rock City while performing a very vital public service, one that cannot be overstated.
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Postby VeganChoirGirl » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:58 am

Dr. Pyro wrote:Another suggestion is considering helping Robbiedobbs and the Pottie Project. She is both a member of the Rangers and DPW, but what she does is both unique and necessary. You can see a lot of Black Rock City while performing a very vital public service, one that cannot be overstated.


I agree. It's a really important project and honestly she NEVER has enough volunteers.
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Postby gyre » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:13 am

Dr. Pyro wrote:Another suggestion is considering helping Robbiedobbs and the Pottie Project. She is both a member of the Rangers and DPW, but what she does is both unique and necessary. You can see a lot of Black Rock City while performing a very vital public service, one that cannot be overstated.

She really is the most valuable volunteer on the playa.
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Postby C187 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:27 am

Forget about EE and everything else you might of heard, and think about these three things.

1) Will you have more fun, and receive more over all enjoyment because you are volunteering at the event?

2) What skills do you have that you use in the real world that you enjoy?

3) If those skills are confined to a certain environment, then how would they apply to the department your thinking about joining? (allow yourself to draw non-conventional but realistic analogies to realistic but presumed situations that could happen)

Do those things and a laundry list departments will turn into a few in short order. Those are going to be the departments that you'll enjoy working in, and presumably the ones that will enjoy having you around.

---
edit:
Completely unrelated. But don't Rangers do training in Second Life as well? j/w
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