this one (as well as the one up there) is for kia: it's about the potential for frustration with being a regional rep
In December of 1997, I met with Pyru, aka Pyru Joe at a coffee shop in Pacific Beach. As far as i can tell, that was the very first San Diego regional gathering. We discussed how to start having events to bring local burners together, so that we could start experiencing what we'd found at Burning Man on a more frequent basis.
The first beach burn, held the following January, was a modest success, in part because we had a number of visitors from Los Angeles. But there was no real spark, and the few people i connected with were not locals. Over the course of that year, we had a few more, with moderate attendance, but there was no real gelling of community.
Somewhere during that time, Joe became the regional rep for San Diego. The next year, a kernel of community was created when a couple of locals got together to form Xara . Joe tried to model the get togethers after local drum circles, while Xara pulled in a different kind of crowd.
Over the next couple of years, what community there was centered around Xara as a theme camp. Other groups, such as the lustmonkeys, joined and spun off again.
Finally, for no discernable reason, right after 2002, something happened. A whole bunch of people, some new to Burning Man and some new to San Diego, but also people who were around both for years, decided to start hanging out. The local mailing list, once primarily used by Joe to announce burns, all of a sudden had two way traffic. Someone suggested a face to face get together, and within weeks after that burn there was a thriving community of people who got together several times a week to share experiences, creativity, and wisdom.
Also, right at that same time, right after things got rolling, Joe left San DIego for greener pastures. His leaving had nothing to do with the success, it was just a matter of bad timing.
The lesson to learn from this is that, as a regional representative, all you can really do is be a contact point for people to get together. You can't force them to create a community. All you can do is give them the opportunity, and wait for time to take its course
aarchived at http://www.cultureshark.net/wiki/index.php?SanDiegoRegionalHistory