Being a ‘Burner’ is like joining a community of diverse, distinct and unique individuals. A continual source of both awe and wonder to me is how the Burner community comprises of endless tribes within tribes. Theme Camps, Artists, Department of Public Works, Greeters & Gate, MOOP Troop and Rangers to name a few, with folk often participating in two or more. This year I had the honour and pleasure of joining the ranks of the Black Rock Rangers in Nevada…and I am putting an Allcomms call out to any participants who would like to join our Ranger tribe…
Jilakin Rock Rangers are participants who volunteer a portion of their time at Blazing Swan in service of the safety and well-being of the Blaze community. Rangers act as non-confrontational community mediators, providers of reliable information, facilitators of public safety and navigators of the edge of chaos. Day or night, pairs of Rangers can be found walking the streets of Jilakin Rock City, engaging with the community, enjoying the art and always ready to help sort things out.
Rangers form a crucial role at Blazing Swan in the following ways:
- Provide outreach and education to help new Burners orientate to Blazing Swan
- Act as an information resource to the community
- Promote the 10 principles to participants
- Respond to emergencies and help get the appropriate resources to the scene
- Reunite lost children with their family
- Help disoriented participants get back to their camp mates
- Listen to participants who are having a particularly rough day
- Facilitate problem solving, mediation, and conflict resolution (without telling people what to do)
- Hold burn perimeters for the effigy and temple
- Ensure that operational support is available during the event to other Swan crews such as DPW, Art, Moop, Greeters and Theme Camps if needed
- Build social capital with fellow Burners as participants and integral members of the community
- Demonstrate through their volunteering the principles of; gifting, communal effort, participation and civic responsibility
In order to provide a 24/7 presence, Rangers run a 4-shift day:
- Midnight to 6am – Graveyard Shift
- 6am to midday – Morning Shift
- Midday to 6pm – Afternoon Shift
- 6pm to midnight – Swing Shift
Working in Teams
Rangers always work in a team of two and we seek to have two teams walking the dirt each shift. Rangers are the eyes and ears on-the-ground at Blazing Swan, roughly 85% of what we do is build social capital within the Blaze community. Ranger teams report directly to Black Swan who coordinates the teams and ensures that resources are directed where needed. Volunteers sign-up for a minimum of four shifts across the seven-day event. Rangers come from all parts of the Blazing Swan community and share a common desire to ensure its continued well-being.
This year, we are particularly keen to see Theme Camps encourage one or two members to volunteer for Ranger shifts, welcome back Rangers from previous years and train-up any new ‘shiny-pennies’ who would like to join our ranks.
Rangers are provided with a comprehensive training and in 2017, new Rangers will benefit from a mentor shift with a Black Rock Ranger
Rangers demonstrate the following qualities:
- Good judgment
- Excellent communication skills
- A great sense of humor
- Patience, patience, and more patience
- Generosity and empathy
- An easy-going attitude
- Creative problem-solving abilities
Think Rangering might be for you? Want to expand your mediation and problem solving skills as a leader in the community? Hop over to the Blazing Swan website and fill out a volunteer application form. Make sure that you indicate that you’d like to become part of the Jilakin Rock Ranger crew.
As volunteer forms are sorted through over the coming weeks, I will be contacting existing and potential Jilakin Rock Rangers via email. I would like to organize a social or two at Swan’s Nest as we head towards the Blaze and provide opportunities for folk to orientate to and feel part of the Jilakin Rock Ranger tribe.