Many theme camps won't function as expected this year because key members aren't present. The large, complex, theme camp with a huge overhead is on its way out, and it's time to look for a new model of theme camp. Smaller, more fluid, camps can grow up around ideas, infrastructure, and communities. Most burners who do have tickets want to be involved in a project, but aren't connected with a "live" project this year. Camps that can bring in these burners will reinvent themselves and thrive.
Let's put this into perspective. We're able to build an entire city in a desert, live in it, and leave no trace. In the space of a week. With 30 weeks, we can self-organize into new groups of 20-50 people and pull off some truly awesome stuff. Without breaking a sweat.
Each theme camp should reach out to the community and pull in other already-ticketed burners to bolster their ranks. Then, work with those new members to come up with new and improved ways of participating at the event. Collaboration with a bunch of new people on projects would be challenging... ...and a whole lot of fun! This would lend itself to simpler, less elaborate themes, as well as groups of inter-related smaller projects.
Our camp, Baggage Check, has 10 ticketed people. To be effective, we need 25, and our infrastructure supports 60. I'm thinking of proposing we bring in new recruits who fit some basic criteria:
1. Willingness to abide by the core camp rules and philosophy (in our case mostly be welcoming, be respectful, and don't bring any drama)
2. Commitment to provide some service for the camp (could be transportation, setup, tear down, ice runs, odd jobs, etc)
3. Commitment to provide some participation for the community as a whole. This could be through camp projects (giant games, dogeball, or something new), as performers, or by being part of an art installation, art car, or other key group (rangers, DPW, etc)
This way, we continue to provide our services on playa, encourage wider participation across the event, and let people's true capabilites surprise them.
So, what do people think? How else can we use the situation we're in to build new communities and create new and unique experiences?