Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matures

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dazoo
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Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matures

Post by dazoo » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:51 pm

For the past two years, my friends and I have made a small theme camp at Burning Man. In 2012 we had 12 people and last year we had 25 people. Now, we are discussing what to do for next year, and the biggest issue that camp up is size.

Herein lies the issue. There are two groups within our camp. One group knows each other from school and the others used to live in the same city. When we had 25 people last year we were concerned that our infrastructure (communal area, kitchen) were being nearly fully utilized. Instead of purchasing a lot of new infrastructure, several of us prefer to keep the camp size small. But many new people want to bring friends and have asked to join.

So the question is: How do we best determine who can and can't join a camp? By a council? By a vote? By vetting people to meet certain criteria?
I would love to hear from some theme camps that have gone through this process before, because we are trying to be as equitable as possible.

Thanks!

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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by trilobyte » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:30 pm

I think the first thing you need to do is have a camp meeting, or carry out a vote. See who wants the camp to stay roughly the same size, and who wants to grow the infrastructure.

If it's an even split (or close to it), strongly consider splitting the camp in two. Otherwise, half your camp won't be happy...pretty much from the start. Plus, despite your best efforts and intentions, there will always be drama and frustration.

From there, keep meeting and talking with your campmates. It kind of doesn't matter what the rest of the camps on the playa do, you guys get to (and have to) decide for yourselves what you'd like to do as far as deciding who does or doesn't join. I've seen camps that take anybody who fills out a web form, others where new applicants are welcome but must be voted on after coming to meetings/work sessions, others that use more of a sponsorship model (where an existing member sponsors and takes responsibility for the new person they bring in), and some camps that are just plain closed - they're comfortable with the size and roster of their camp, and aren't planning on making any changes. All the variations are capable of working, it depends on what you guys prefer to do.

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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by AntiM » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:36 pm

I am not of the bigger is better or the more the merrier philosophy. Infrastructure only goes so far, more people means more work for someone, and more money. Equitable is not always in the equation.

Who owns the infrastructure? Who stores it and transports it? Who are the original camp members? That's who gets to decide. The new people can bring new infrastructure for their friends. Only way it works, otherwise not only do you get the expense, you get the drama and the workload. You need to sit the senior members down, face to face if possible, and talk over the future of your camp. Do you want to have the chain of command thing going, with camp leaders, a kitchen boss, and assigned meals/chores/responsibilities? If the answer is no, then consider two partner camps. Or camps within the larger camp.

It all comes down to how you want to burn. If you don't want a bigger camp, then you must diplomatically push your sophomores out of the nest.

I can tell you about how we operate. We are a small camp and can only support six to ten people comfortably. I've been very vocal about expansion, as my experiences with increasing numbers of camp mates in the past has been very poor. They treat our "home" disrespectfully, and don't follow common courtesy guidelines. Friends of friends are especially bad; while delightful individually, they are not emotionally invested in our group, so do not take care while using the kitchen or shade. I put my foot down after a few years, and while we offer hospitality, I will no longer allow camp expansion. We have finite resources, and finite worker bees. I have finite patience for bullshit, so I no longer invite it in. This year we had seven members, with a few daily visitors, and it worked well.

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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by GreyCoyote » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:36 pm

My suggestion would be to splinter the camp, deliberately, into two "rival" tribes. Pick some arbitrary division issue (Kirk or Picard? Ford vs Chevy? Innies v Outies?) and make an ersatz rivalry along those lines. Camp next to each other, or across from each other, and feel free to "infiltrate" each others camps, but make separate management and infrastructure decisions. Maybe share power or greywater, but that's about it. This makes it friendly, interesting, slightly competitive (good!) in the planning stages, and still lets you hang together.

And of course the mischief potential is huge. Kidnapping the other camps pickles and holding them for ransom, or some such other random hijinks.

You may find that after a year or two of this you either decide to rejoin the "factions" into a large camp as your infrastructure grows, or the two camps may drift apart naturally and put down their own unique playa roots. Whatever you do, I would strive to keep your "tribes" small for a while until you find your equilibrium point. I have seen too many neat camps try to go big and instead implode due to management, logistics, or social factors.

Smaller really can be better.
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by FossaFerox » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:32 pm

The thing is, splitting doesn't automatically solve the infrastructure problem dazoo is facing. There's an economy of scale with shade, kitchen, etc up to a point and half a camp won't serve half it's members if it's split in two. Plus, who says whoever owns the infrastructure is okay with half of it walking away?

First off, I would say you make taking on new people all or nothing so as not to play favorites. If you're capping your camp size, do it based on number, not whether people want Bill to join. That way there's no hard feelings. My advice would be to talk things out with whoever holds seniority and or partial ownership of the shade and other supplies and put it to a vote, if only to see where things stand. If there's a clear consensus, great.

If people are mostly on your side and only a few people want to bring friends suggest that they splinter off and camp near you, offer to help them design their infrastructure and maybe share costs on anything where economy of scale works to your benefit without detracting from your burn, such as sharing a box truck or other transportation arrangements. But make it clear that you aren't willing to fund someone else's burn while compromising your own.

If people are mostly for bringing on new people, perhaps you and a few others should move on and be the ones to camp near them. You might even ask that the new comers who would effectively be taking your spots "buy you out" of your share of the camp if you guys have set up equity from past dues or anything of the sort, though recommending that now if you haven't probably won't go over very well...

If it's split down the middle, you're stuck. :?
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:36 pm

One thing you don't want to do, under any circumstances, is to send emails to those people you want to continue camping with, to join say, a facebook group, and start planning for next year--and don't even tell those people you don't want to camp with what's going on.


If you don't take my advice and actually stab those poor fellows in the back, keep in mind that you are betraying them, and doing so, writing off the friendships, for a very long time--quite likely forever.
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:58 pm

Some friends and I started a camp in '00 with about ten members.
It progressed just about exactly as people on this thread are saying.
Every year our numbers grew as people invited their friends, etc.
We obtained more and more infrastructure, held meetings, all of that.
As it continued to grow over the next four years, sure enough, the original camp founders workload and transportation loads and general responsibilities skyrocketed, and the whole thing became a pain in the ass and was dissolved. The last year or two I walked around my own camp asking myself "who ARE these people... and what are they doing for us? What are they taking from us?"
The infrastructure kind of disappeared, with whoever happened to have possession of it.

That's pretty much a standard tale of the rise and fall of a theme camp.
Staying small keeps it a lot easier, and keeps you from providing for what basically amount to squatters.
If you go big, and many successfully do, you'll need the management skills of a good businessman.
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by BBadger » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:17 am

++ to what Fishy said above. Don't beat about the bush once the decision has been made: make it clear and direct to all involved what the policy is.

If you decide to allow growth you're going to have to add some taxes to cover your time, infrastructure, and expenses. This can mean dues/higher dues, labor allotments, etc. The worst thing to have happen is that the founding group gets disillusioned with having to deal with all hard shit, while the other people -- that you don't even really know -- get to sit back and do nothing. You'll be resenting that situation and perhaps witness a vicious schism in your camp when shit comes to a head.

In my camp [1] we have a combination of dues -- to cover infrastructure, projects, and time spent -- and responsibilities. The responsibilities are pretty small: the camp is divided into cooking/feeding groups and for one night during the burn, that group is responsible for feeding the entire camp. If you help out setting up camp you may also be excluded from the cooking duties. Meals are also coordinated and sub-groups allocated to make sure that good quality meals and compatible meals are brought to avoid having pork and beans each night and to allow for a vegetarian component. It works great because you only cook/clean one night and enjoy dinner someone else makes the remainder of the week. For other meals, people are responsible for their own provisions and cleaning their own dishes to avoid resentment. Everyone is also responsible for their own lodgings and anything else they want to bring.

Also, in my camp, as far as infrastructure is concerned, the communal area is set up by the core group, as is the evap pond, organizing the shipping crate, and other stuff. Tear-down is also their responsibility, but they generally get help from everyone. For that responsibility, that core group/person also has complete discretion on how camp dues are spent. Don't like it, don't join the camp, but at the same time don't have to deal with setup. That last point is important: the dues are for covering all the shit you have to deal with. You need to rationalize that you're getting paid for your time, effort, and camp expenses. It also means that if someone is not "pulling their weight" in effort, you're still getting "paid." You could also trade in labor/responsibilities, but the benefit of the dues approach is that you don't have to worry so much about dead-weight friends-of-friends unless they're causing drama.

Don't make your camp a democracy. Not everyone's vote is created equal, especially people with little investment in the camp. Don't make your camp a "do-ocracy": you can't depend on people to take responsibilities without force. Make your decision-making body an oligarchy of the most worthy individuals. It's your camp, and if you don't like what's going on, do something about it. You'll end trimming the fat and end up with a group of people who are generally in agreement with how the camp should be run and avoid all the drama.

Finally, if you're not the type of person who cannot deal with drama, is not willing to step on toes to correct dysfunctions in the camp, and prefer to let things slide rather than offend, you might consider not growing or at least you need to find someone else to run the camp. You need to embrace that leadership role and remember that it is not all fun and games.

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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by Ratty » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:32 am

I've camped next to someone for a couple of years and I can see that next year more people will be joining us. It's more of a neighborhood. This year we had impromptu parties where we all contributed. (Margaritas, grilled cheese, antipasto plates etc...) We all benefited from shared resources such as shade, bikes, air mattresses, food, drink. You don't have to camp together. Side by side or across the street may be close enough. Everyone burns at a different rate.
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:38 am

An extra few words about dues:
My old camp was strongly opposed to having camp fees. Some didnt like the idea, many couldn't scratch up the money.
Well, a camp costs someone money.
25 people who are all willing to work for their contribution aren't as useful as 10 who will put up $100 +
They might help load - who's truck?
They might help cook - who's food?
They might help set up camp - who's lumber, screws, tarps, etc?

The truth is Burning Man is a an expensive party.
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by CaffeineGirl » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:48 am

BBadger wrote:++ to what Fishy said above. Don't beat about the bush once the decision has been made: make it clear and direct to all involved what the policy is.
The "involved" word is really the point. When a camp/village grows so much that no one really knows who is there, kind of hard to "notify" everyone that plans are changing. And even more so when leaders of camps within villages say they have had enough and are not going to bring their camp back the next year. Who owes what to those camp members?

Camps/villages change every year. If someone wants to be a part of it, sitting back waiting for a FB invite may be a long wait.

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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by Dr. Pyro » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:08 am

I'm going to chime in here, and I wouldn't mind if some of our fellow Barbiebarians added their two cents as well. Barbie Death Camp & Wine Bistro has been around since 2000. We have grown from 6 people to north of 250. We now encompass something like 10 camps within the Village and we sit on 4.16 acres of prime playa real estate. Do I know everyone in camp? Nope. Do I even like everyone in camp (those that I know)? Absolutely not. Does everyone like me? Are you kidding, of course not; in fact, I know of some denizens of this forum who think I'm an asshole, and they may well be right. This point however is this: We experienced plenty of growing pains over the past fourteen years. Many people were against growing the camp/village to it's current status. We had to implement a dues structure back in 2005 to help defray the cost of storage, the art vehicles (maintenance, insurance, gasoline), shelter, generators, etc. Our big decision was how to best pay for everything: Either 1) have fewer people and a much higher dues structure; or 2) have more people but a much lower dues structure. We decided upon 2. People can't believe that all we charge is a measley $75 if paid for by June 1; then it's only $100 after that. We have placed economy of scale squarely on our side. The money covers what I listed above but also some food, showers, new sofas every year, carpeting, absinthe, a seperate party each and every day/night, assigned camping space with a Village Map showing where everybody is, piano maintenance, wine, and on it goes. Have we reached a point of diminishing returns? Perhaps. I know one of the BRC publications (it may have been the BR Beacon or Piss Clear, I don't recall which) had in one of those What's In-What's Out columns at the very top was In: Spanky's Wine Bar; Out: Barbie Death Camp & Wine Bistro. That came as something of a relief to me quite frankly.

So to answer your question, it all depends upon the group. You need a small cadre of leaders (we probably have a dozen or so in our Village, with the current Mayor Felony Arson ruling the roost with an iron talon) and we are set up as an enlightened oliagarchy, but make no mistake about it: What she says, goes. I think most people like the way she and the Council of Elders run the Village and are happy to be part of us. We have monthly newsletters (beginning in January and going through October) to keep people abreast on what is happening, including work activities and expulsions as well as welcoming the new members. We use Volunteer Spot to list all activities and who's in charge of what. Nearly 1/3 of our people in 2013 came from outside of the United States with about 20% coming in from Australia. We are organized and anal almost to a fault. Two sets of eyes see all monies coming in and going out of the treasury. Our books are open to any member in good standing should a question arise. These are things you have to begin to consider as you grow. Otherwise internal squabbles will tear even the closest camp apart. Will the day come when BDC&WB goes the way of the dodo? Almost certainly. Just not now. If you have any questions or comments feel free to PM me.

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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by DrYes » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:40 am

My experience:

This was the first year I've led a theme camp, and we were a new camp composed of a core of members who had camped together before, and a bunch of friends and friends-of-friends. We ended up with 33 people, which was about the upper limit of what I wanted to deal with, particularly as there were a number of birgins.

We had no dues, and anyone could invite someone new, though they had to run it through me. We rejected one couple because some members of the camp dislike the female half so much that it would have been a problem.

Communally, we had our art project (The Stimulus Tree), a lot of shade structures, chairs, a bar, and as 8 people were staying in yurts, we kind of communally helped build those, or at last the core group did. A kitchen was shared by a subset of camp that wanted to share meal duties with each other, but many others (including me and my wife) just did our own thing meal-wise.

Organizationally, a simple google groups kept us all on the same page, and we had a fairly active little community going pre-playa.

Overall it worked pretty well, except for one group of friends-of-friends that are certainly not invited back. <rant>They did virtually nothing to help with the art project pre-playa (we had about 1500 necklaces to blow glass for, laser cut, and assemble). They showed up and plopped down under communal shade as they hadn't brought their own. They did nothing to interact with visitors to the Stimulus Tree all week. They ran their generator (to run aircon in a tent....) off gasoline they 'borrowed' from the rest of us, and during take-down, they helped for about 15 minutes, and only after I told them to get off their asses and help. After about 15 minutes, they retreated into their aircon'd tent to do whippits while the rest of us worked in the heat. I could have strangled them. They were the only members of our camp from Texas. I blame Texas. </rant>

For this year, I'm going to adopt a slightly more dictatorial tone. I was all hugs and love last year and let people know that we're not the kind of camp where there are required work meetings or any requirements at all. Not again though. This year, it's going to be clear that if you want to camp with us, you better be contributing to making the camp better somehow. And the only people inviting new folks are people I need to run the camp - the two guys that helm the Tree project and the couple that own most of the infrastructure. Anyone else will need to demonstrate that somehow this new addition will be worth the hassle and will give more than he/she will take.

And no Texans.

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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:45 am

Dr. Pyro wrote: I know of some denizens of this forum who think I'm an asshole, and they may well be right.
Lol... I won't say it.... :)
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by AntiM » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:48 am

FossaFerox wrote:The thing is, splitting doesn't automatically solve the infrastructure problem dazoo is facing. There's an economy of scale with shade, kitchen, etc up to a point and half a camp won't serve half it's members if it's split in two. Plus, who says whoever owns the infrastructure is okay with half of it walking away?
Who says the infrastructure will be split? New group acquires new infrastructure. Two sets.

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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by Drawingablank » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:58 am

Although I am not a camp leader or organizer, I would like to say that in my opinion one of the things that makes Barbie Death Camp / Village so successful is the amount of reliable people willing to step up and help.

This ranges from post and pre burn prep (storage, art cars, infrastructure maintenance, art, loading, transportation, etc...) to on playa tasks. Although most of the off season work falls on those that live in the area, there is a lot of preplanned volunteering and delegation done through Volunteer Spot for many of the necessary tasks for the playa(mooping, set up, break down, events, etc...). There is generally no shortage of unplanned help on the playa as well.

This is quite a contrast to one of the most common complaints by camp organizers / leaders - lack of assistance. If a handful of people gets stuck doing most of the work for a large camp, I can see that getting tiresome rather quickly.
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by FossaFerox » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:12 am

AntiM wrote:
FossaFerox wrote:The thing is, splitting doesn't automatically solve the infrastructure problem dazoo is facing. There's an economy of scale with shade, kitchen, etc up to a point and half a camp won't serve half it's members if it's split in two. Plus, who says whoever owns the infrastructure is okay with half of it walking away?
Who says the infrastructure will be split? New group acquires new infrastructure. Two sets.
The infrastructure seems to be the big point of contention in the original post, and there are probably a number of people who have a claim to it who want to bring more people.

If the camp were 10 people who wanted to keep it the same size and 10 people who want to bring a new friend this year, the 10 people who want to bring a friend probably aren't willing to simply give the infrastructure to the 10 who don't, especially if the founders, structure designers, storage/transporters etc are in the group that wants to expand.
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by Eric » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:19 pm

trilobyte wrote:It kind of doesn't matter what the rest of the camps on the playa do, you guys get to (and have to) decide for yourselves what you'd like to do as far as deciding who does or doesn't join.
(emphasis mine)

This is the bottom line. No two camps are the same and there is no "correct" decision - there is only the decision that works for you. Doesn't mean I won't add to the layers of personal stories, but it can only tell you what worked & didn't work for our camp, not yours.

When I joined my camp in '03 there were 4 of us, by '06 that had moved up to about 12, in '07 we decided to let a bunch of friends stay with us which pushed us to near 20. In '08 friends of friends came in and we crossed 40, and everything flew apart. It was a disaster for some of the same reasons other people have said above, and the decision was made never to go that large again. We now have only 10-12 members and a growth-cap. We also expect each camper to be completely independent, other than the communal shade structure - no camp kitchen, no camp grey-water (part of us are in an RV, so it's pretty small anyway)...
FossaFerox wrote:The infrastructure seems to be the big point of contention in the original post, and there are probably a number of people who have a claim to it who want to bring more people.
Not sure if you've been part of a camp split before, but from the ones I've been in & seen, the people who paid for the infrastructure usually take it. If one person paid for the dome, they take it; if someone else paid for the dome cover, they take that. If a group chipped in to pay for it, the ones who take the dome pay a share back to the ones who are without it. The dome-owner can either make a new cover or buy the existing one from the person who has that. It's never quite this neat in real life, but unless that camp is fully in civil war, it's rarely a case of King Solomon and the baby.
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:31 pm

DrYes wrote:My experience:

(bandwidthectomy)

Overall it worked pretty well, except for one group of friends-of-friends that are certainly not invited back. <rant>They did virtually nothing to help with the art project..... (snip of whiney drivel) ..... They were the only members of our camp from Texas. I blame Texas. </rant>

And no Texans.
It astounds me that you would equate someone living in the state of Texas with being a TEXAN. As Bill Ingval (a Texan) says, "Here's your sign!"
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by tamarakay » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:31 pm

GreyCoyote wrote:
DrYes wrote:My experience:

(bandwidthectomy)

Overall it worked pretty well, except for one group of friends-of-friends that are certainly not invited back. <rant>They did virtually nothing to help with the art project..... (snip of whiney drivel) ..... They were the only members of our camp from Texas. I blame Texas. </rant>

And no Texans.
It astounds me that you would equate someone living in the state of Texas with being a TEXAN. As Bill Ingval (a Texan) says, "Here's your sign!"
I live in Texas and I am a Texan. Not a g.w.bush Texan, more of a hang my head in shame every time time I see Ted Cruz on TV Texan.

And I work my ass off at brc.

I will post on topic later. Right now I have to go feed the horses and shoot my guns.
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by name redacted » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:49 pm

I was part of largish camp from 06 through 12. Just like everyone else's, it started small, and grew to about 25. Thats when it started to become a pita.

The wife and I left this year, and camped with two good friends from our town. It was the best time we have ever had.

I petsonally want to spend my vacation relaxing, not dealing with camp drama.
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GreyCoyote
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:51 pm

tamarakay wrote:
I live in Texas and I am a Texan. Not a g.w.bush Texan, more of a hang my head in shame every time time I see Ted Cruz on TV Texan.

And I work my ass off at brc.

I will post on topic later. Right now I have to go feed the horses and shoot my guns.
THIS! A proper daughter of the South. Your momma raised you right. :mrgreen:

Darlin, what say you and I introduce the Good Yankee Doctor to a little game called "Cowboys & Indians"? :wink:
"To sum up my compassion level, I think we should feed the unwanted animals to the homeless. Or visa versa. Too much attention and money is spent on both."
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DrYes
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by DrYes » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:03 pm

GreyCoyote wrote:
DrYes wrote:My experience:

(bandwidthectomy)

Overall it worked pretty well, except for one group of friends-of-friends that are certainly not invited back. <rant>They did virtually nothing to help with the art project..... (snip of whiney drivel) ..... They were the only members of our camp from Texas. I blame Texas. </rant>

And no Texans.
It astounds me that you would equate someone living in the state of Texas with being a TEXAN. As Bill Ingval (a Texan) says, "Here's your sign!"
Heh, yeah. I live in SF, and a number of years ago I had a girlfriend from Austin. She had moved up here to live with me and had a large Ford suv of some kind. She parked in the Castro one day and got harassed by people for her Texas plates + obnoxious vehicle. Her defense? "I'm not from Texas! I'm from Austin!"

Irrelevant to the complaint, I know, but I laughed.

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trilobyte
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by trilobyte » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:19 am

@FossaFerox - Make no mistake about it, whoever paid for and owns the infrastructure owns the infrastructure. It goes with the owner, unless they give or sell it to someone else. Camp's don't generally reach the point of incorporating or getting organized as a non-profit until they're bigger and more mature than dazoo has indicated, until it reaches that point it's all just a collection of campmates' personal property. If all the stuff is owned by one person, or a couple people who aren't interested in expansion, then the faction that wants to split off and go big is starting from square one (well, they'll have the benefit of experience). It's a new and small camp, there's not likely much (if any) contention over the ownership of the gear. From your posts and profile info it sounds like you're still pretty new at theme camp management - I can assure you that those who paid for the stuff own the stuff. If the camp splits, the gear would split with those individuals. However costly that may be for each side, it beats the fuck out of a camp full of drama and resentment in my opinion.

@dazoo - Fishy makes a very good point. Whatever the fuck you do, be upfront about it with your campmates (as I'd suggested earlier, you should be making these decisions in meetings with them). Your campmates may be hurt or upset to learn that you're discussing and plotting big changes to something they thought they had a decision-making stake in, and even moreso if you're out there soliciting advice from complete strangers over them.

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FossaFerox
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by FossaFerox » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:15 am

trilobyte wrote:@FossaFerox - Make no mistake about it, whoever paid for and owns the infrastructure owns the infrastructure. . . From your posts and profile info it sounds like you're still pretty new at theme camp management - I can assure you that those who paid for the stuff own the stuff. If the camp splits, the gear would split with those individuals.
For my camp, the shade was a communal expense; everyone paid for it with dues. I purchased it (since I designed it and sourced the components) and another camp member is storing it in the offseason, but no one person owns it. I was under the impression this sort of thing was relatively common. If you're starting or expanding a camp with a group of friends, why would one person buy a dome or EMT structure that's for everyone?
ygmir wrote:Everyone loves you there, and no one cares a shit about you..........all at once. and vice versa.

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AntiM
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by AntiM » Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:06 am

In our case, we purchased the carports because we were the only members of the camp who had the disposable income to do so. We never have had dues, the best our campmates can do is provide gas money, their own food, and sweat. We are also the only homeowners, with a garage and shed for storage.

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tamarakay
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by tamarakay » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:14 am

The stallion and I paid for the communal shade structure ourselves. Also,paying for its expansion ourselves. Simpler that way. Where we go, it goes.

Several people pitched in for the car, and the fundraiser paid a good amount for fixing it up. I can see a potential for some issues if we don't all communicate fully.

Our camp went from the stallion and I too around 20. Not all the ones who camped with us participated in the official dwd activities. I need to do a better job of asking for help with the communal area setup and tear down.

We don't have a communal kitchen. Probably won't ever. I just don't want to deal with the drama and I don't want to clean up anyone else's mess. Everyone is responsible for their own stuff.
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BBadger
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by BBadger » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:27 am

FossaFerox wrote:For my camp, the shade was a communal expense; everyone paid for it with dues. I purchased it (since I designed it and sourced the components) and another camp member is storing it in the offseason, but no one person owns it. I was under the impression this sort of thing was relatively common. If you're starting or expanding a camp with a group of friends, why would one person buy a dome or EMT structure that's for everyone?
Well, that's assuming that you're always going to be camping together, will always use the same objects for the same purposes, and the space you're storing it is always available, etc. You're only a "camp" for 1-2 weeks a year. The remainder of the year people might move, have something else to do during the BM period, join other camps, need the/their gear for some other purpose, etc.

In your case, maybe what you bought was exclusively for BM; however that's probably the exception. Most stuff used for BM is just camping gear. It's multi-use. Other stuff like Carports can be used for makeshift structures throughout the year too. For example, I bought a Costco Carport specifically for use at BM, but at the moment a family member is using it for covering his truck. The cooler I bought for storing our food is multi-use as well. The truck and trailer we hauled in our stuff belongs to friends and that's definitely not BM-exclusive. I'd wager that the majority of camp infrastructure is constructed out of materials and products that are not earmarked exclusively for the burn.

As for collective ownership... it can work, but it's often just setting yourself up for a lot of tears. Priorities change, some want more access than others, resources dwindle, and some people just don't want to be involved anymore. Sometimes the stake in ownership is questioned: how much does the original purchaser have a stake? What is the value of storage? Of upkeep? Of transportation? What if indirect costs such as vehicle depreciation to transport the object comes into play? How much is your time worth? What stake does the person who spent time repairing or decorating the shade cloth have in the ownership?

On the other hand, sometimes ownership becomes a liability: What if your friend doesn't have the space for that shade and "disowns" it so someone else can take over the storage responsibilities? What if your buddy with the only vehicle who can transport the dome doesn't want to go or can't go to BM this year? Where does that leave you?

It's easy to chalk this all up to equal ownership, but again, that depend on if conditions all stay the same and you're all in agreement. Don't bet on it. The nice thing about exclusive ownership is that you know exactly what the boundaries are. Even if something goes wrong, you know where you are, not some grey area that wastes everyone's time. It's like giving a friend money rather than that touchy-feeling realm of loaning money. That predictability is often more valuable than any material value.
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BBadger
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by BBadger » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:36 am

tamarakay wrote:We don't have a communal kitchen. Probably won't ever. I just don't want to deal with the drama and I don't want to clean up anyone else's mess. Everyone is responsible for their own stuff.
Communal kitchens are the perfect microcosm for camp management.

Who brings the kitchen? Who brings the fuel? Who cleans up the mess? What if someone doesn't clean up their mess? Whose mess is this!?! Who wrecked the stove? Who stole the stove? Who used the water I brought for cleaning my dishes? Is this water for everyone or just whomever brought it? Where are my drying utensils? Those are MY utensils you're using for eating (yeah, the ones with the Hello Kitties on them); you better wash them when you're done! Who gets to take home the kitchen evap-pond sludge? Who keeps dumping food in the recycling container?! Don't put GLASS in the recycling container!! Stop using the side of the sink that doesn't drain into a bucket! Stop hogging the stove; I want to cook something before we leave too! Are you even in our camp?


It wasn't all that drama in my camp, but regardless, my sub-group just brings our own stove and cooks stuff there. Sometimes it's nice just so you can say "Hey, I only use my own shit. That mess wasn't mine!"
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AntiM
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Re: Looking for experienced advice on how a theme camp matur

Post by AntiM » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:48 am

Gah. Even with a tiny group of seven, and dishes with names on them, and two people using one set of dishes and cleaning them up each meal, and disposables brought by one campmate, somehow we ended up with dirty dishes, cups and spoons. I've been known to throw remarkably insane hissy fits if someone constantly violates my kitchen space.

That's why every camp with a stove needs a kitchen bitch. Even camps of one, two or three people, even if you have to bitch at yourself.

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