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.

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.

 

2015: Getting Ready

2015patchWe have had a lot of things happening to get ready for this year. As more people step up and get involved there is less on Toaster’s shoulders and that is greatly appreciated. The more people that step up and take over parts of the puzzle the greater our degree of success.

We will be posting a chart showing flow and leads in the camp as well as a few more of the volunteer positions in the camp through the week which includes ice runs. Many of these roles are fluid and can be traded among the campers as long as tings get done.

Many more announcements and  things to come. This image posted here is something else to add to the nifty things to come file.

🙂

2015 Camp Application

Interactivity Description
We have an amazing program for the week and tons of activity and presence mostly during the day, but have a whole vibe thing going on for the evening. We have really really upgraded this year and want to be a real presence for the burn.

First of all, we are building a spiritual temple that will look like a blend of Tibet and Hindu ideologies with a feature of the Hindu god Hanuman calling our theme this year “Hanuman’s House of Tea and Yoga”.

When you first pull up to our camp you will have to stop and park your bike in our safe area for those. We have several major elements on the street that will catch the attention of passers that include:

– THE WHEEL OF DESTINY where you can ask a question and get any answer possible. It is a combination of a magic 8 ball and a spinning wheel that will be accessible all throughout the event!

– CHAKRA sculpture will be mobile and the pieces can be moved. It will be glowy, shiny, illuminated for night, featuring the chakras.

– big l.e.d. sign that will become a feature from dusk to late night with moving graphic images, flashing, super psychedelic nifty awesome messages including more representation Hanuman.

– we will have lots of monkeys that will also be illuminated just like any monkey god’s temple would have.

– our temple will be ornate and colorful with a beautiful archway coming from the street. It is an inviting passage into a large comfy space filled with mild mood music and incense.

– THAT’S NOT ALL!!!!! Three days of the week we will host a boba tea giveaway! Yes we will have all the proper paper work for health department, but it will be amazing.

Our temple will host events, classes and workshops all through the week by people in my camp as well as people from other camps that are sharing our space to teach

– Yoga, Meditation, Dance, Chanting… and a great lesson about Hanuman!

– …and once again! THAT’S NOT ALL … we are having a wrestling exhibition; before anyone freak out it will be all in fun, on foam pads, typically naked (we suspect) in an inflatable pool and using a dry, safe water based lubricant.

We hope people will want to find rest, peace and comfort in our lovely temple in their travels plus take advantage of the tons of amazing things we will have all week long…

But… that’s not all!!!!!!! I said it again! We will have a fire barrel (yes, all safety concerns PLUS are being implemented) with benches people passing can enjoy at night.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE put us on a cool spot on the main strip across the street from Comfort & Joy if possible.

Project Interactivity
Primarily Day Time,Scheduled Events,Acculturation for First time Burners,Action for Reward,Chill Space,Create an Environment,Entertaining,Food Given,Games,Environmentally conscious,Lectures,Performance,Performance Art,Ritual,Ritual Performance,Sculpture,Structures to Climb or Play On/With,Theme-related activities,Theme-related visual effect,Workshops,Yoga

Number of Campmates
31 to 40

Acculturation
We require our newbies have sponsors and talk about acculturation in all of our meetings and have made a very strong emphasis on the 10 Principles AND protecting the environment. Half of our camp members are veterans and have at least 1 RC.

Physical Description
There will be a row of flags on the street welcoming people as well as our led lit sign with our raised Sun Guardians logo! While the face really is a row of car ports there will also be several items making it really eye catching.

A red archway with carpet and a drape inside leading into the temple.

A store front for out Boba Tea House with an extensive menu (the secret is we only have one of the items on a menu of a hundred things.

Near the Tea House will be the wheel of destiny where people can ask questions and get answers for their destiny.

On the opposite corner of camp will be a shiny, glowy chakra sculpture.

On the side if the temple will be a burn barrel set up for out camper and visiting guests with all the safety.

The passage to the temple will be warm, bright and inviting.

We will use RV’s and pulled trailers on the sides of the camp/ Our solar panels will be behind the fire barrel area and a wall of vehicles hiding our evap pond.

Project Features
Public kitchens

Sound Amplification
No

Sound Amplification Details

Stage
No

Big-Name Performers

Big-Name Performer List

Large Crowds
No

House Managers Name

House Managers Email

House Managers Phone Number

Do You Want to Share Your Camp Name, Location and information?
Listed

Text for website listing
A spiritual temple honoring Hanuman: “House of Tea and Yoga” taking you on a journey of your past, present and future. Your soul is timeless and our space is awesome.

Camp Hometown
San Francisco

Camp state/province
California

Camp country
USA

Public URL for Camp
http://www.sunguardians.net

Public Email
info@sunguardians.net

1st additional contact
Scott Reinhardt aka Knot-o

1st Additional contact role – Important to indicate, as this person may have more authority than the questionnaire filer.
#2

2nd Additional contact name
Raymond Gonzales aka Princess Beefcake

2nd Additional contact role – Important to indicate, as this person may have more authority than the questionnaire filer.
#3

3rd Additional contact name
Durwood Pepper aka Pepper

3rd Additional contact role – Important to indicate, as this person may have more authority than the questionnaire filer.
Kitchen Manager

4th Additional contact name
Jim Taflinger aka JT

4th Additional contact role – Important to indicate, as this person may have more authority than the questionnaire filer.
Kitchen Manager 2

Purchased a ticket?
Yes

Previous Camp Lead
Scott Kraske

Early Arrival Setup Crew Count
15

Early Arrival Date
Thursday

Camp Producer
False

Camp Producer Name

Camp Producer Email

Producer Phone Number

Who will receive the EA Passes?

Requested Sector, 1st choice
7:30 Avenue

Requested Frontage Option
100

Requested Sector, 2nd choice
7:30 Portal

Requested Frontage Option, 2nd choice
100

Requested Sector, 3rd choice
7:30 Large Theme Camp/Villages

Requested Frontage Option, 3rd choice
150

Requested Approximate square footage need by population
15000

You would prefer not to camp near …
I can think of more people I want to camp with than not.

Requested Sector: Other Camps

Other Camp Location: Comments

Requested Approximate square footage need by population: Other Camps

LNT Contact Name
Knot-o and Mike Piko

Leave No Trace is a cornerstone of the Burning Man ethos and one of our Ten Principles.  
Practice the 5 R’s: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Restore and Respect.,Reduce trash when packing.,Create a detailed strategy or plan for Leaving NO Trace

During Burning Man, our camp will:
Keep smelly garbage away from recyclables in BRC.,Clean As We Go and Keep It From Hitting the Ground.,Adopt the seven principles and practices of Leave No Trace at Burning Man.,Educate all camp members about minimizing our impact on the playa, so that my LNT crew can relax during the event knowing that all of our camp members are doing their part.,Conserve energy, use renewable energy sources and minimize waste.,Collect, reduce and properly dispose of grey water.,Use or creatively use discarded materials for all the components of our camp structure and decorations, so that our camp is sustainable year after year.

As we depart the playa, our camp will:
Bring tools to rake, magnetic rake, sweep and pick up every last nail and wood shard that dropped on the playa surface so that I leave my space and my surrounding spaces better than I found them,Follow the ‘rule of thumb for line sweeps’- (hyperlink http://www.burningman.com/environment/images/moopmap10fin.jpg) – performing required multiple sweeps of our camp before leaving BRC. (One sweep is not enough. Do as many passes as necessary: the strength of the line sweep is in the number of people and passes.),Organize neighborhood MOOP sweeps. (Joining with neighboring camps and sweeping an entire block together is the best insurance against MOOP hot spots, bringing your own MOOP scores down.),Secure all vehicles’ loads to prevent windblown trash on the highway and in neighboring communities.

Art Installation Name

Heavy Equipment Use
No

Heavy Equipment Details

Share Heavy Equipment

Outside Services Deliveries?
Yes

Outside Services Details
Water

Outside Services Provider
Meco-Reno

Number and Type of Vehicles
10

RV / Portable Housing Rental
No

Number of RVs / Portable Housing Units

RV / Portable Housing Provider Name

RV/ Portable Housing Unit Provider Email

RV / Portable Housing Unit Provider Phone

Have you purchased a year-round storage container from Burning Man?
No

What is the PC # of the container that you purchased?

Shipping Container From Somewhere Else
No

Water for Civic Benefit
No

Mutant Vehicles
No

Name of Mutant Vehicle(s)

Mutant Vehicle Contacts

Generator Powered?
Yes

Number of Generators
1-3

Kind of Fuel
gasoline

Fuel Storage
1-20

Alternative Power
Our primary power source will be solar panels, we are using a backup generator from the 1 RV in our camp for the water pump.

Comments
LOVE PLACEMENT!!!! We are a Gayborhood camp and the lead of this camp is also the administrator of Queer Burners [dot] Com. As far as I know we are the only established Queer Temple.

Flame Effects
No

Open Fire and Store Bought Fire Appliances
Yes

Describe Burn Barrel and/or Fire Appliances
A single designed oil can barrel with legs to raise if off the ground and we will use a grate over the top to prevent bits from flying out. We also will have a large perimeter around it.

Are You Using Lasers in Your Theme Camp?
Yes

Laser Safety Contact Name
Hunter Senft-Grupp

Laser Safety Contact Playa Name
Hunter

Describe Lasers and Safety Measures
We plan on using it as a night time affect with smoke around the entrance of the temple for night time visual impact.

Feedback from General Meeting 2/22

We managed to cover everything in the agenda which lasted exactly 1 hour. A new meeting will be scheduled soon.

Agenda

  • Who’s who in the camp
    Main Leads: Toaster, Knot-o, and Princess Beefcake*
    2nd Leads: JT & Durwood over the Kitchen
    Phinn over Tea Shoppe
    Piko over the Burn Barrel
  • Who got tickets and who still needs tickets? (Comment below too)
  • Water Decision
    – Talk to RV crew about their generator
  • Power Decisions
    – solar part 1 : Piko
    – solar part 2 : Black Rock Solar
  • Volunteer Roles Big Projects
    – Burn Barrell: Piko and Noah
    – Tea House: Phinn and others: rotating
    – Temple: Toaster and Others: rotating
    – Power Lord:
    – Sound Lord:
  • Volunteer Roles Smaller and rotating
    – Kitchen tops and bottoms
    – ice  runner
    – MOOP
    – Trash / separation / recycling
  • FOOD: Everyone with few exceptions is responsible for a meal; Dinner is first priority
    – Dinner: how that works
    – Lunch and Breakfast: how that works
  • WISH LIST
    – those items people bring to help the community; stoves, chairs, coolers, dispensers
  • Registration
    – 24 people have registered
    –  9 people have paid all or part of their camp sees
    – Cap will be approx 30 people
    – deadlines:
    It is time to pay your camp fees.
    1st people to pay fees are first considered
    EVERYONE who intends to camp with SG should be registered
    No refunds ofter July 1st

Facebook Notes

 

General Notes

Toaster: My feeling is we have a great group of people and that most of us have tickets is great. I would like to see about 10 more people on board for the camp before we shut the door, but we need to make sure everyone is paid and clearly locked in, too.

The next phase will be to start collecting the resources that we need to advance. I will report on those as we move forward as well.

  • Registered Campers: 25
  • Paid Camp Fees: 10
  • Payment Arrangements: 2

 

2015 Water and Other

Our new water solution will have an impact on the camp fee by raising it $50. This will be a required payment by all campers with Sun Guardians because it s a solution impacting the camp as a whole. Read through this and you will certainly see the win. There are some benefits:

  • no one has to worry about water; this water will be delivered to us before opening and filled on site. If we need more, we can get more.
  • not carting in what is about 2 gallons of water per person for every day (that includes a shared camp need) makes the process just that much easier, especially for people traveling in from afar.

As a benefit of this solution we will subsequently eliminate 2 additional fees that combined were about $35.00 OVER your water needs:

  • The $15.00/person ice fee is eliminated
  • The 2 bottles of booze fee is eliminated

In the past we ended up giving away more than half the booze that was brought in and the money in the ice fund was not as expensive as we expected. We will have this as a line item in the budget, but maintain the bank for it separately. There will be a 500-gallondaily volunteer slot for two people to go get ice for the camp and funds will be distributed by a camp Lead.

A 500 gallon tank will be delivered to the camp when we are setting up and it will be filled soon after with “white water” which is fresh drinking water. It comes with a pumping system, but we need to provide that pumping system with power; a generator.

The RV crew from San Francisco will have a generator and we will provide them $ for or fuel for the genie to power water needs when needed.

We did the math on water solutions here [click link]

Basically if you went on your own with all the individual fees it would be about $53. and cost about the same as the increase in the camp fee.

Smart campers WILL bring some water anyway. Bring some backup in smaller 1 gallon jugs for personal or shared use as needed just as a backup!

Gray & Black Water

We have the 7 Gallon Containers from 2014 that will be used to store waste water that cannot be eliminated through the evap pond. This will more likely be from the kitchen.

1st Meeting of the 2015 Season

We are going to have our first meeting for  2015 late January so if you want in on that and be a candidate for the group sale then you need to jump in. In any case it will be a chance to ask any questions. January 29th!

How do you find out about the meeting?

All the information is in the Group on Facebook linked in the required reading section. It will be a telephone conference call and if we can get people in the Bay Area to meet together on it that would be cool too.

2015 Plan for the Playa

MOOP-MAP-2014_DAY-6_3500wThis week we received some glorious news with a full and 100% Green color on the MOOP map from Burning Man. The Restoration Team inspects the entire city and puts down grades where MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) is found. Green means good, yellow means you left your boner, and red means you fucked up.

2015 Sun Guardians

Our camp plan from last year (see pictures in the sidebar and other 2014 posts) is going to take another leap this year into growth and presentation. We are already running and have the basic paperwork structure all written, it will be just over 5 months before we start seeing projects come to fruition.

Plan-AOur budget is growing too and with good reason, we have something to be very proud of. With each year our infrastructure grows a little and so does our ability to deliver.

  • 2013: est budget $1200
  • 2014: est budget $3000 (spent 3500)
  • 2015: projection of close to $5000

2014 also saw some very fortunate deals, but all those details are in the 2014 Trip Report. However, the plan for 2015 is looking fabulous but we need some real doers like we had to make this really take off.

We will handle camp fees through Eventbrite this year instead of money sent through paypal alone. One of the things we are emphasizing is not only some degree of transparency, but really an important drive to make sure we are set to reach everything we are gripping for.

What Sun Guardians Brings

Creating this project means we are a part of the city. We are a part of what makes Burning Man work. Our unique take serves the city and all the people who come and partake who appreciate it. We saw amazing turnouts at our 2014 events in camp when the announcements were handled right and this year we are going to blow it out of the water.

2014 Trip Report

We are going to look at a lot of things from the week because the camp is becoming a stronger presence and is slowly commanding a more need for professional roles to make it successful. From 2013 to 2014 there was 110% growth  and 200% demand for leadership. We think we accomplished these things in general and kept to the core of the camp, but we also asked all of you from 2013 and 2014 to give us feedback.

On a personal note I saw some points where I failed and should have done better but hearing from you all via the survey has so far proven to be very helpful. The best part was that in my opinion Knot-O and I felt like a Yin/Yang voice in camp leadership.

Fund Raising

This was the first year we put a camp fee into play and it seems to have been successful for covering the costs of creating the camp over all; well, mostly.

  • Most camp mates paid $120/person with exceptions*
  • There were donations from members over fee: about $350 total
  • Some members paid a little extra for water and vodka
  • We also charged riders in the van used to brought the camp out: $400
  • The total funds raised were approx $3400./ and we almost broke even

Huge thanks to Giorgio who managed a solar panel through Black Rock Solar, a direction we will do again in the future if we can implement it. We were a green camp. All the money went to the camp and between CMonster and I not a lot extra came out of our pockets. I suspect a lot of you put extra to make this happen and it is greatly appreciated.

Where did all that money go?

We have none of the infrastructure from last year so everything was bought new(ish). Matt owned one of the car ports and gave it to me at a good discount. I bought the second one in SLC and had them sent together for only $40 since I could not find them in the bay area.

Good deals were had and much was bought through Amazon. There was a lot of money spent on general items for the temple and all you saw.

Many members contributed out of their own pockets to make it work whether they were given a break on the camp fee or not. Those investments were so appreciated and we hope those contributors know they were appreciated.

*exceptions

If a member was bringing a major element of the camp out of their own pocket the $120. fee was waived and there were only 3 cases where this happen.

Fund Raising Conclusion

If there are any questions about this money or where it went please let Toaster know. There was a fairly detailed trail of the money made.

Who’s Who

We had quite the diverse group of people who came together and if we make it to 2015 it will be interesting to see how that lays out. We are seeing 2013 members saying they might want to come back and it looks like some 2014 family will also be returning. I think in the individual comments this was the best feedback we have seen.

Survey Says

Not every question was a required question. People could skip any one or more they were not comfortable answering. But most people answered them as completely as expected.

While we asked you to write the year you attended, all respondents put down 2014.  We were hoping to hear from people who joined the camp in 2013 as well. However, with a less than 50% response to the question many said they might return in 2015.

 

While the results of the following questions can seem harsh in their delivery, it should be noted they are not unexpected and unwanted. This feedback is what we need to make future camping better with Sun Guardians.

Q2

Q3

Q3aQ4Q5Q6Q6aq7q8

Quotes: Feedback from people surveyed:

The camp members were great and drama was minimal. With more delegation and more democratic/team structure I think the camp could take on a more ambitious schedule/shape/mission without a lot of extra work.

Overall, great work! The planning and organization is greatly appreciated and helped to make my burn a wonderful experience. I think that being more open and welcoming to guests will help to make the Sun Guardians camp more inviting, and pleasurable. After all, the spirit of BM is inclusive, not exclusive. Being able to interact with the general population as it goes by, as well as being courteous and welcoming to guests that do stop in, is part of what makes Burning Man unique. 🙂

Would look towards a more structured meal plan for next year.

Camp mates were fun, friendly with no drama! I love my new friends.

I loved our camp. I think our strongest asset was the diversity of the group – young/mature, gay/straight, mellow/wild – tied together by the common tread of respect for our camp members and leaders. Our camp theme/mission statement was not as strong as I think the leads intended, but the spiritual aspect of camp was not a draw for me personally. Our monk party was definitely not as popular as expected, but that was a blessing as we were were not super prepared for it. I think everyone had an amazing experience and real bonds were created. Next year, I think Scott or “camp lead” will benefit from assigning committee chairs once the roster is confirmed — definitley need a kitchen chair, a party chair (if planning to host anything), and a chief engineer. The role of engineer is a lot for one person, but someone with experience and know-how is absolutely needed to create sound structures and systems. I believe the Sun Guardians had a FANTASTIC burn, but I can’t help to attribute that to a bit of playa magic and contributions form strong camp members like Hunter and Giorgio, among others.

In terms of drug use, I think there was a lot of personal use. This was not a problem, per se, but I think that it would be something to aware of and maybe tell new campmates so it can be anticipated. I think things that went best were things that had an individual who was delegated to manage. Perhaps having better defined roles would help camp logistics run more smoothly. Overall I think there is room for improvement, but the “status quo” was really amazing!

You delivered on the objective to be a safe sane camp with a nice mix of decent people. I truly enjoyed everyone’s company. I didn’t see anyone completely wasted or out of control and very much appreciated the group which could have fun together but stay within their limits. Had great conversations with most people in small impromptu groups from 7 am to as late as 2 am just hanging around. Alwways made a point to come into the tent and say high to others when I returned. Nice conversation with Jim and Durwood late one evening. The Monk party had good camp participation but unfortunately didn’t draw in others. Perhaps some type of workshop or activity would have kept people engaged in the party for a longer time. Not sure what could have improved or if an improvement was even necessary. So many competing shiny things to do! One minor item is we didn’t have enough seating for everyone together which seemed to cause some folks to congregate in the kitchen vs everyone sitting together for dinner. Not really a big problem. Meals were super excellent and I appreciate all the work everyone did in planning to feed the group. The highlight of the camp was returning around 5 noshing a bit, socializing, dinner circle and dinner! For a smaller camp you guys did fantastic. I can see the benefits of scale and logistics with the larger camps where meals and water are arranged in advance (which I don’t think goes against self reliance if in advance the camp responsibilities are specialized along areas of responsibility). On the other hand the larger camps may not just be able to achieve the same vibe of group dynamics and depending upon each other that I felt at Sun Guardians.

– For the most part, SG was a well-run camp with good energy and a wonderful group of people. I think people generally want to be helpful, but they may not know how to help specifically on a day-to-day basis (beyond the regular assigned roles). – Maybe inviting camp mates to attend a short, voluntary morning briefing (Here is what is on Scott’s mind or what he’s worried about/driving him crazy.) This would help align us all with the concerns about the camp and direct our energy towards helping/problem solving. – Some small discreet signage would be helpful to reinforce some expecations/rules (e.g., to discourage too much socializing in the kitchen, to honor the sacred space/activities of the temple). – I would encourage leadership to help communicate your expectations and present problems/issues proactively or collaboratively. Taking a less punitive approach when possible would make us feel better about our participation.

It was a great experience. There could be more focus on the theme of the camp beyond the classes that were offered. Most of the campmates didn’t seem interested in yoga spirituality or art, which I’m totally ok with, but is an issue when trying to establish the character and recognition of the Sun Guardians as a theme camp. There was never any drama beyond people’s personal issues and everyone got along. It really did feel like a family and felt like we all had each other’s backs. There could have been better communication when people left to take their trash and food items from the kitchen. I’m sure those who left their food were doing it out of kindness for those remaining but there needs to be a discussion of what needs to be left and what taken. Overall, an extremely positive experience and props to Toaster for really giving this camp his all! 🙂

Toaster: you are a beast. I heard from lots of people about problems in other camps…and I only heard good things from Sun Guardians about this one. You made something special!

Toaster’s Notes

Overall the feedback has been very positive and any detractors and people who are moving on have their reasons. The data above was collected from 16 voices and my feeling is very good. I am so excited that I have started beginning planning for 2015 already.

I feel inspired on many levels by the feedback, discussions in camp, and the possibilities of what we can do in 2015 so I started working on that already. The new theme announcement will be coming out soon as well as some cool ideas that will further enhance the effectiveness of our camp.

Positives and Negative

I know, no one wants any negative vibes and especially in writing. But there is a distinct balance in this feedback that will lead to better things in the future.

  • Thanks to everyone for putting their best forward in spite of a personal drama played out in camp; which would not have happen the way it did.
  • The meal system will get a full upgrade; we did not fail but it needed to be stronger then what it was. And, my fault for not printing out the list before hitting the playa.
  • SG is not a plug and play camp and everyone needs to do their share. On the other hand there were some real superstars. Not going to put names out there either way, but those who really stepped up ricked it.

There were a couple incident where someone cooked a meal for themselves and I did not see where there was any consideration for anyone else in the camp. Cooking bacon? Make enough for everyone. Eggs? Make enough for everyone. I do not think the question should have even been asked… but on the other hand someone was making food for people anyway so wait and eat with the rest of the crew.

Within the same scope of issues, we had a lot of sloppiness in the kitchen. In this case, everyone dropped the ball a little and messes at breakfast were left for people at lunch and so forth.

To avoid messes like that in the future we will move the pantry and make more shelving for that. This will separate out the presence of too many people in that space except as needed.

Coolers need to be managed a lot better and the system for next year will answer that. Water was not drained off enough daily.

2015

Stay tuned for next year and come back if you can.

 

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