How to Start a Theme Camp

Whether you're a registered theme camp or not this is the place to discuss and share camp plans, find a camp to join, or recruit new campmates.

Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby LilMonster » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:51 am

Cryptofishist,

Thanks! That puts it in prospective. I was not sure how much money people put into camps, let alone who funds it...I think I will keep my idea but hook up with peeps this year and watch where they get the funds, etc....Yeah It will be my first burn!!
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:16 am

I hope you have a wonderful time.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby Simon of the Playa » Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:41 am

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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby shykat » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:37 pm

Bump.....


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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby vangran » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:49 pm

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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby vangran » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:55 pm

Is it too early to start thinking about an orphan theme camp?
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby CornMan » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:15 pm

vangran wrote:Is it too early to start thinking about an orphan theme camp?
Sadly, Not to be held on the Playa. Fertility2.0, disseminate.


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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby vangran » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:42 pm

Thanks for the pointer, Zeke
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby veleda » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:11 pm

My recommendation (as someone that has been running camps from 30-250 people since 2005) is start small and have the goal of your camp to be staff/leadership retention. People burn out doing theme camps at a phenomenal rate because it is a ton of work. Many small camps plan too much infrastructure for their first few years and end up building till Wed/Thur of the burn, having their camp for 2-3 days, then tearing it down. It is demoralizing. Much better to start small with infrastructure, focus heavy on community-building fun events, find ways to nurture the leaders for the first year or two..the goal is everyone wants to come back and bring their experience into creating something better the next year.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby mdmf007 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:17 pm

God yes, I helped out with camp logistics 2010 and 2011 - NEVER again. no one is pleased with what you do - even though they had no EFFING input during the planning stage when you beg for input.

It got to the point where It was ruining my burn last year. I did get to see my fellow mods though, so that was a great treat. Never in history had so much Eplaya snark and wit been concentrated in one spot (other than the M&G)
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby veleda » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:58 am

You make is sound like a crappy job! okay..it is a bit thankless and yes noone has an opinion despite begging until like a month before the burn then people will feel intensely about things that were decided in February. HAHHASHAH.

but to say good things about leading a camp.. its awesome.. nothing will grow you fastest, push farthest, or radically transform your life as intensely as leading a big community project like a theme camp. you will discover parts of you that you didn't know existed.. develop your strengths.. work through your weaknesses..realize your immensity and smallness.. and contribute to one of the phenomenal experiences in the world.. the burn.

really...its awesome. its just a matter of learning how to do it well..and to do it for the sake of doing it and ignore the haters...
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:33 am

So, what makes a good contributer-but-not-leader of a camp? I'd say partly an acceptance of the role, and a willingness to just say "fuck it, one ways as good as another" except in a few areas where you know it does matter. Decide on "no drama" with the camp. No pleading when your special friend or lover does not get to camp with you because dues weren't paid...
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby Father_Burn » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:03 pm

1. A theme camp is a Do-ocracy. There is no real Leader... Kind of... Somebody needs to make certain its safe, cohesive, and gets there, but there shouldn't be a real leader. You If you have a vision for the camp, sell it to everyone so they will want to build it. You can't tell people what to do at burning man!
2. Start small, and grow slowly. Grow only as the size of your group of dedicated workers grows.
3. Camp Puchases should be usable for multiple years. Our Front of House shade structure moved to back of house to cover tents our second year when we got a dome for the front of house for example
4. Easy to set up, Easy to tear down, Packs small and light is the name of the game here. Be done building BEFORE THE GATES OPEN.
5. Have fun. If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong!
6. Talk to the people that have run camps before for advice. You'll need it! (Thanks Dennis and Erin!)
7. Make certain that you have a camp genius that can build things. You probably haven't even thought of the things that a camp has to have to function. (Power generation and distribution, Grey water disposal, refrigeration, camp kitchen, lighting are examples)
8. Join another camp before you do it (I wish I had). Go a year before and ask the people that are running camps (Not Big Camps like Basscamp or Nexus) but established smaller camps about things. Take pictures of cool ideas and things that work well to jog your memory 6 months later (Shade structures, Bike Racks..). Take very detailed pictures so you can tell the sizes of structural things, numbers of Bolts, etc... You'll wish you did 6 months later when you try to build it.
9. Build it, set it up, and test it before you leave for the desert. That teaches your campmates how to build it. Pack the truck/trailer a few days before you plan on leaving. You'll remember things you forgot in those few days. Have a detailed packing list.

Feel free to drop me a line if I can help you
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby trilobyte » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:55 pm

I disagree with the idea of no real leader (or mayor or whatever the title is used). At least in the case of a registered theme camp - somebody's ass is on the line, and needs to be accountable even if only for the purpose of liaising with their placer or rangers on-site. From there, whatever management/decision-making style works best for you and your campmates is the right one. I've seen camps that work really well without any structured leadership, I've seen others implode because there wasn't enough structure. On the flip side, I've seen camps that work really well with a lot of structure as well as those that suffer as a result of it. It's your camp, figure out what fits best for you and your friends :)
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby ZaphodBurner » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:47 pm

trilobyte wrote:I disagree with the idea of no real leader (or mayor or whatever the title is used). At least in the case of a registered theme camp - somebody's ass is on the line


Pretty much, in all kinds of strange ways. Especially if there are virgins or unfamiliar people in your camp. Our camp has an awesome core group; once we're on the playa, they don't need leadership, just a liason and a little bit of organization.

There's a camp from Oregon who had a problematic person or couple last year who utterly destroyed their good reputation within the village community by throwing drama at the neighbors and the Org. They trashed the playa so bad that the camp organizer decided not to bring the camp back this year. Sucks.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby gaminwench » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:57 pm

... which brings us to...

How very important it is that you vet your new camp members.
Once selected, include them and inform them.

I like a 'playa buddy' system; one on one pre-playa connection for info, questions and assimilation.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby Savannah » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:22 pm

My favorite large camp has a small team of fairly natural leaders that assembled casually over several years based on their ability to communicate, their interpersonal skills, a willingness to work hard and set an example, the ability to deputize, and the willingness to risk making decisions. Charisma, generosity, and a bit of organization help immensely. The team tends to specialize in their proven strengths/areas of real-life expertise.

The leadership team eventually became formalized and announced (if still laid-back where they can be). It's really good for a Burner to know who to talk to if there's a problem, so it can be nipped in the bud. There's almost always a little bit of conflict if a camp is large enough.


. . . I have camped with a smaller group of 20 in which a leader was not necessary, but it was not a theme camp or village. There was extremely good communication however, before the Burn (several meetings and lots of emailing) and additions to the group were carefully chosen.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby mamasharon » Mon May 14, 2012 11:28 pm

OK It's too late to register to be placed, but you can still create a theme camp. right? And if you are not registered, can you still be in the WWW guide?
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby Savannah » Mon May 14, 2012 11:50 pm

mamasharon wrote:OK It's too late to register to be placed, but you can still create a theme camp. right? And if you are not registered, can you still be in the WWW guide?


Anyone can create a theme camp, yes. Call yourself something, and you exist. (Placement in theme camp areas/reserved camping involves an application, and is indeed separate from the act of simply existing.)

Last year, submissions to the What/When/Where Guide opened on June 16th and continued through July 8th. The dates might be similar this time. There seem to be no events to browse yet, so it's probably not open yet.

http://playaevents.burningman.com/

Note the "Submit" area. I note that you'll create an account. That's as far as I got because I don't want to create one. :) I don't know if it's limited to registered camps. However, you can email questions to:

playacal-admin (at) burningman (dot) com
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue May 15, 2012 10:00 am

I think that they may not post events that don't have addresses. You can find alternate ways to publicize. Sandwich Board, bullhorn, paper posted someplace, invite the neighbors... I don't know if hte board at Playa Info, or Playa Info itself are permitted or useful.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby DrYes » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:54 pm

Starting a theme camp with friends this year, and saw on Twitter: "If you were invited by your Group lead to set up a Burner Profile you need to do it TODAY by 12 pm (noon) PST!"

Could someone explain what that means? We haven't even submitted an application for placement yet, as they aren't accepting them until February.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:56 pm

Don't worry then. If it's a new theme camp there's no track record so you wont get the tap on the shoulder.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby DrYes » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:01 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:Don't worry then. If it's a new theme camp there's no track record so you wont get the tap on the shoulder.


Ok, thanks. We sort of have a track record insofar as the new camp is about 90% of an old camp that we all left but I understand what you're saying. We brought the major art project of the last camp with us (The Gifting Tree, was at about 8:40 on Rod's Road last year) to make bigger and better this year.

Anyway, it'll all work out! Thanks for the help.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby Savannah » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:12 pm

DrYes wrote:Starting a theme camp with friends this year, and saw on Twitter: "If you were invited by your Group lead to set up a Burner Profile you need to do it TODAY by 12 pm (noon) PST!"

Could someone explain what that means? We haven't even submitted an application for placement yet, as they aren't accepting them until February.


I believe that refers to established camps who are participating in Directed Tickets. Those folks had to register Burner profiles sooner.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:37 pm

Yeah, what she said. It's what I meant, but i got it all sideways.
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby st8ter68 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:20 pm

Once you have your camp mates and an idea and design where do you submit the information to have it listed on the Guide? I went to the page but it appears the link is down. Has the timeframe already passed to submit first time theme camp info?
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby Savannah » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:37 pm

Placement (Theme Camp or Department) Questionnaire: accepted March 12, 2013 – April 30, 2013 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
http://forms.burningman.com/

Submissions to the What/When/Where guide are accepted later in the year. (June is typical.) Keep checking this page:
http://playaevents.burningman.com/
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby psixonavt » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:09 am

Hey guys! Question to y'all about placement...

We've been an unofficial camp since 2008 (called Pretentious Fox), and last year we built a very cool bar (the Foxhole) that was quite popular even out on H street. This year we want to apply for theme camp placement to be a little closer and serve a wider audience. My question is, is a bar with good offerings such as great sound, foosball, bar-top art, and a couple of events (bloody mary brunch, Russian pelmeni night), enough for placement? Here are representative pics:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kolored/8519508827
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kolored/8520621922
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kolored/8520622336

We have many other ideas for interactive installations that we are starting to work on, we just wanted to know if we need to include them in our description in the placement questionnaire. A follow-up question is this - we have 45 campers, so we need a space of about 120' x 100' for living space and the bar. Is this a consideration during the placement decision? Meaning, do we have "enough" of an offering for this camp size? What do you guys think?

Thanks!
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby trilobyte » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:01 pm

Include all the information about your camp's plans that you've got when you fill out the questionnaire. There will be space to describe what you'd like to do/offer, as well as request zones/areas you'd like and specify the approximate number of campers and your space needs. If I remember correctly it's done via drop-down menus, camp sizes are kind of modular (which makes it a little easier for them to plan out the city). Once the forms open up I'll be posting some tips for successful theme camp registration, keep your eyes open for that in another week or two (forms open on the 12th, and you have til the almost the end of April to register).
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Re: How to Start a Theme Camp

Postby psixonavt » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:50 pm

trilobyte wrote:Include all the information about your camp's plans that you've got when you fill out the questionnaire. There will be space to describe what you'd like to do/offer, as well as request zones/areas you'd like and specify the approximate number of campers and your space needs. If I remember correctly it's done via drop-down menus, camp sizes are kind of modular (which makes it a little easier for them to plan out the city). Once the forms open up I'll be posting some tips for successful theme camp registration, keep your eyes open for that in another week or two (forms open on the 12th, and you have til the almost the end of April to register).


Thanks, trilobyte! Any suggestions, now that the forms are open?
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