Looking ahead to 2017

Hi folks… since we began some of the initial footwork in getting ready for 2017 it is important to let potential campers know that there have been a lot of lessons learned that will see corrections. We have received a lot of accolades for our organization and structure. Our infrastructure has been top notch, but I sold a big chunk of it to help pay the bills in 2016 and to reduce the bandwidth on the camp.

If you saw any previous posts on here talking about 2016 Trip Reports it is clear there was a lot of frustration and holes we fell into in certain areas. Let me be clear that I take on the responsibility of all those problems. The support from leads in camp was above board and one had too much on their plate and not enough help.

Reboot for 2017 with a new deity: Kali the Goddess of Death and Destruction. But Kali is also creativity and renewal. Sun Guardians: Dead Monk Society is a chance to create a platform for new ideas and new leaders to come forward. Ideally someone will step forward and take over the camp logistics from me in 2018. Not that I am leaving the camp, but it is a chance for someone else to take the reigns and maybe chart something of a new path.

Camp fees are going up. As demonstrated the last 2 years, the 200$ / person is not enough. For all the resources the camp provides and for the health and well being of our Theme Camp the camping fee is going to be $300 / person and put everyone on the same level. Even me.

We have some new temple design and a new backstage we need to develop and curate. There is still a question if we can use the shower Doug built. These are just some of the things that will be discussed in the 11/17 meeting and are listed in the agenda. (Link will take you to the Agenda in Facebook)

We will have some changes in leadership. I need people who will work together and leaders of the camp need to communicate and make decisions we would all make and support each other like we have in years past. This is one area that never faulted.

Sorry this has gone as long as it has. I want to make everyone a promise that this is going to be the strongest year yet. But with that comes higher standards and expectations from you AND ME. I am amazed how wonderful our team has been. It can only get better… and so can I.

Love & Light

4/7/2016 Video and Notes

Here’s the notes captured from the video published by Scott April 7, 2016.

Action Items
  • Make meetings if you can
  • Communication between group is key
Next meeting for all camp members – Wednesday April 13
Camp leads meeting – April 23 @ Kevin’s
Notes
  • The Sun Guardians camp has gone from a standalone camp to a village where other camps are included
  • The Sun Guardians camp is an Asian inspired place/pseudo Hindu temple.
  • This year the camp has distinct features
    • Frontage
    • Courtyard – the features in the courtyard need to be inviting so that people want to engage and participate
    • Rootist Temple
  • Camp projects/lead – list published on April 7 which priorities A, B or C added to denote priority
    • Camp sign/Doug
    • Shower/Doug
    • Prayer flags – 4×6” with quote/inspiration/your choosing – send/give to Scott
    • Kitchen sink/tbd
    • Bike racks/tbd – will share with Rootist Lounge.  The Aids LifeCycle bike rack pattern will be used
    • Hexadrome/tbd.  Biggest and most complicated.  Have paint; will need lighting expertise
    • Wheel of Destiny/tbd
    • Zoetrope/tbd
    • Temple decorations/tbd (both interior and exterior)
    • Tea house decorations/tbd.  Already have camouflage netting and spare wood.
  • Budget
    • New storage taking a big part
Remember Sun Guardians is fun and a big family where strong relationships are formed.

Burning Man 2016 Ticket Sales:

-Directed Group Sale tix and Main Sale tix will remain $390
-Low Income Sale tix will remain $190
-2 levels of limited Pre-Sale tix increase to $990 and $1290
-The new mandatory Nevada “Live Entertainment Tax” of 9% will be collected from you at the time you purchase a tix
-Nevada still hasn’t answered Burning Man’s inquiry as to if/why the 9% tax applies to Burning Man
-If Nevada sees it Burning Man’s way (“Hello, Hell? Is that snow?”) the 9% collected will be refunded
-Vehicle Passes increase to $80 for 2016 yet are not subject to the 9% tax
-See tix sale info on BurningMan.org at http://bit.ly/1PiXeNj
-See tix sale 2016 Important Dates at tickets.burningman.org
-You must register to participate in any tix sale
-To register, you must have created or updated your Burner profile in order to buy tickets. Do that NOW at profiles.burningman.org

Meeting on 1/13/2016

We met online today using Google Hangouts and it ended up working really well. I like the idea of meeting in person, but this is a great tool for sharing the meeting for those who need to catch up after.

We talked about camp fees and the process of getting people registered for the camp. At this point we are expecting about 25% of the 2014 camp coming back. We are alos looking into the group for new leaders who can help drive the camp. Changes include:

  • Mary is taking a stronger role for the kitchen and Kevin says he is going to help back her up
  • Kevin is also another good candidate for being more in a lead role in camp in general
  • Doug is taking the lead on a couple projects he says he can build at home including:
    • the sign letters
    • the new shower
  • We have some additional projects in the groups tab at the top that are also needed
  • We talked about the camp fees and they seem fair. We are including a level that allows people to opt out of the kitchen scenario and food plan

2016 Decision to go Village?

There was a suggestion last year we go village this year which would be an opportunity to give a bigger, better presentation. While the person who made the suggestion is not coming back, the idea to solidify and diversify some Plan for 2016of our camp features seems to be a chance to make those features stronger. It also gives us a chance to bring in people who march to the same tune who can give new dimension to our camp.

Is it an absolute? No, but we have partners in the community that could make a sweet addition to our story on the playa. One of them is Rootist Temple; who has taught every year in our space anyway. Another cool one might be Milk + Honey (formerly Shabbat Shalom) but they seem to be doing really well on their own.

One of our own campers thought about an all girl camp called Moon Guardians. I really liked that one!

Either way I am hoping to make a much powerful presentation this year. We have been so lucky year after year with the people who came and were engaged. I see people who never met before, spent a few days together in the dirt, and are out traveling to see each other in their home towns. This has been such a powerful and amazing thing here.

2015 After Burn Report for Sun Guardians

2016 Sun Guardians Group Shot

2015 was our most successful year and celebrating that, on any level I can think of, will not do it service. While there were weak points in the presentation and production the camp was a win. Participation was beyond expectation with very few exceptions.

  • Pre-production and builds – win
  • Getting people and stuff to the playa – win
  • Build day – painful and windy but… win
  • Meal Plan – bumpy road (Feast Plan: win)
  • Kitchen Mngt – refinement needed
  • Resources – (pantry, water, ice, shower) – bumpy
  • Breakdown – went well but needs some help

Preproduction and Builds

Planning for the camp started in September 2014 and the budget was dependent on the camp fees collected. We agreed to keep the camp number to about 30 max, but we ended up finishing at 34 camp members. Almost everyone paid a camp fee. There was some bartering and no circumstances where someone fees were totally scholarship based.

We collected around $7500. and spent somewhere around $9000. on the camp this year. Additionally, outside of the expenses during the event, the storage fees equal somewhere around $1200./year approximately. Total Est $10,200 which is right on track with a camp of our size.

Almost all projects were completed including the zoetrope and wheel of destiny. The only build project out of budget was the sign for the face of camp because it would have taken us well over budget.

Huge thanks for the people that were able to help construct projects.

Travel to the Playa

The van that was rented to take the infrastructure out to the playa worked, but coming home we were well below what was needed to take our belongings back. Planning went relatively well and people united nicely from the Reno storage unit (which is no-more) to get our stuff out to the playa.

Build Day

The support team beat the infrastructure out by a day. While we lost a day of build time everything still managed to get done on time. Because of weather conditions (white out and winds 50 mph plus) Saturday’s build suffered but we still managed to get a lot done.

We managed to get the main structure of the camp up and spent Sunday morning tweaking the space to make it presentable for guests.

Meal Plan

The over all meal strategy was “good” but we fell into a problem with a surplus of food and the failure of people to pack out when they packed in, thus dumping their excessive amount of goods on the camp. In essence, food was just left behind in huge amounts with the expectation that someone else was going to manage it.

  • Menu Plan good: meals needed better adjustments for people coming in v. exodus
  • Pantry Foods: we sorta lost control of that as well; better planning next time

We generally stuck with the meal plan, but many meals were not prepared to meet the dietary needs of some camp members. There was not enough conversation about how to meet the needs of a minority of camp members who deserved to have food they could eat. We had several allergies and special food needs that could have been easily met; this was a failure that will be corrected next year.

Kitchen Management

We expanded the kitchen on some level but there was a failure to have a solid system to maintain a clean space.

  • Dish washing: we fell down on this section and were lucky no one got sick
  • Cooking equipment: we seemed to have just what we needed in this area
  • Camp members: Ziploc plates and bowls for each camp member – genius

We really suffered on cleanup and people in camp carrying through on making sure the camp space was always kept clean.

One solution is to add to the Kitchen Team and have a lead that only job is to inspect the kitchen daily and hold campers to the fire who cook or are assigned cleaning and that person would have the full support of the camp leads.

Resources

This year we took a chance and ordered a 500 gallon tank of water and initiated a lot of controls around the use of that water and ended up using only 60+% of it. Concerns about it not being enough were unfounded but valid. We required all camp mates to bring some emergency water to avoid any conflict (based on last year’s disastrous Gypsy Flower Camp noted in the Burning Man Blog). It is recommended to make sure individuals are not dependent on someone else for their well-being on the playa.

  • water: plentiful but we had a problem disposing waste water; thank you RV1 crew for your help
  • ice: we took daily collections and spent <$50/day with careful cooler management
  • pantry: food available 24/7 mostly went uneaten

Next year we will add a gray water tank to reduce the impact on the kitchen and the camp.

  • shower: it worked well again this year

The evap pond did okay, but we were left with too much in the base when it was time to put it away. The evap pond solution is not the most practical and realistic solution moving forward. With the new gray water tank and some changes to the shower we can make a better system for next year, too.

Breakdown

We took the camp down in phases starting Saturday night with some minor items and reserved the larger elements for Sunday. The goal was to be able to leave the playa by Monday morning at 10am.

Enough people remained to have most of the camp down by Saturday night with 2 car ports (kitchen and lounge) left behind for Monday. We were able to enjoy the burns and have space for function until the last minute.

Monday, so many people had left camp and left behind a lot (A LOT) of their items and donation that placed a heavy burden on the last people left behind.

  • we had oil stains from the kitchen that had to be dealt with
  • spill from the fire barrel that was never cleaned up properly
  • the water tank stuck on top of tarp that we were forced to leave behind
  • SO MUCH extra stuff that thanks to the grace of Gender Blender they were able to take many items with them

The last members of camp left at 3pm in a horrible state and did not arrive in Reno until 9pm.

 

2016 Sun Guardians

Hey, this is Toaster. Been working on the plan for 2016. I do not think it will be as much as work as it was last year, because we have a lot in place and a few places to fine tune. It seems basic on the surface. Pending a discussion with my key players many of the details for 2016 are already on The “Joining Sun Guardians” Page and the “Burning Man 2016” Page, too.

  • Do we have the leadership we need?
  • Is there a way to bring a more solid plan to the playa?
  • How do we prevent, what has been an epic fail 3 years in a row, when it comes to breakdown?

This lotus blossom is unfolding… be amazed.

We will need:

  • stronger sound management and system
  • rigging and planning manager
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