CampArctica found tremendous reason for celebration in 2004. For the first time in our camp’s history, we did not run out of ice! Credit for this feat goes to the fabulous array of returning volunteers who knew how to move bags of ice with speed, efficiency, and style, along with the new volunteers who jumped right in full of energy and enthusiasm. The DPW construction crew did their part, building our new structure in record time, and the gate crew whisked our ice trucks past the road traffic. Of course, it never would have happened without the hard-working and entertaining truck drivers themselves. Thanks to everyone involved, CampArctica had its best year yet.
This year, volunteer recruitment became a year-round priority, and we succeeded in signing on just under 200 dedicated volunteers. The CampArctica online group saw a dramatic increase in membership and allowed Arcticans to share growing excitement and helpful suggestions from as early as January on through the year to the event. This method of communication also enabled veterans and newcomers alike to contribute ideas for layout, decor, and general day-to-day operations. This online group will certainly continue to function as the best tool for communication for a volunteer community with members spread across the world.
The structure designer and the newly appointed DPW construction manager and crew broke out of the box and created an entirely new design, re-purposing a lot of materials from last year’s utilitarian ice ?cube.? They added a lot more dimension and interest without sacrificing access to our three badly needed truck bays. Not only did the fabulous DPW crew finish the project right on schedule, but they also willingly (and happily!) returned throughout the event to respond to problems and address additional construction, safety, and security issues.
With the structure finished 2 days before the event, the decor crew added the finishing touches that were so obviously missing in 2003. A handful of core volunteers strung lights and fabric for that ice-cave ambience, and two more zealous Arcticans contributed hundreds of acrylic icicles along with the new flag seen flying high above our structure. (The truck drivers quickly began using the Ice Flag as their homing beacon.) We still felt the lack of a designated decor team, and we hope to attract more artists and contributors for this purpose in 2005.
Power failures were our largest challenge for 2004. Nearly every day, we had to operate the registers manually for upward of half an hour at a time. Not only did this problem slow down operations, but it also prevented us from keeping a perfect count of ice sales. Each time we experienced a loss of power (sometimes multiple times in a day) we had to reprogram the registers, causing additional delays and frustration. The most obvious solution to this problem is acquiring our own power supply, a solution already proposed and under discussion. Still, in comparison to past challenges, the variability in electricity did not prevent us from providing ice and smiles to every citizen who walked into our camp.
This year, a total of 19 semi trucks were required to slake the public’s thirst for ice. Years of solid communication with our ice vendor finally paid off with all 19 requested trucks delivered as promised. The Gate crew greatly assisted in getting the ice trucks into and out of the city quickly while reliably alerting our shift managers to each truck’s arrival. We continued last year’s plan of meeting the trucks at the Greeter’s Station to guide them in on designated roads. This process worked flawlessly, except when one driver lost his way in a dust storm. Even with the challenge of the whiteout, cooperation between our staff, the Rangers, and helpful participants helped to locate him and direct him back to Center Camp within minutes.
CampArctica’s fabulous volunteer community came together for the most successful year to date. Thanks to them and everyone who purchased ice at Burning Man, considerable donations to the following organizations were made possible:
We should, of course, mention that ice sales operations once again allowed us to make a series of substantial donations to local Gerlach, Empire and Bay Area organizations. This year’s list includes: Crisis Call Center Empire 4-H Club, Friends of the Black Rock, Gerlach General Improvement District (GGID), Gerlach High School, Gerlach Medical Clinic, Gerlach Volunteer Fire Department, Leave No Trace, Nevada Museum of Art, Nevada Outdoor School, Friends of the Library, Kid’s, Horses & Rodeos, Lovelock/Pershing Chamber of Commerce, Marzen House Museum, Pershing County Humane Society, Pershing County School System, Pershing County Senior Center, Lovelock Boy Scouts Association, People to People Programs, 23five, Black Rock Arts Foundation, Epic Arts, and The Crucible.
Xandra Green aka Ice Queen