Greeters once again acted as the welcome committee for a wonderful event this year. We had the opportunity to pass out useful printed materials and garbage bags. We encouraged participation in our community’s culture and understanding about what is necessary to make Black Rock City possible year after year. Porta potty practices and moop avoidance are always at the top of our discussion list. Driving limits and vehicles leaking fluids on the playa came to the forefront in 2003. We asked that folks from registered theme camps identify themselves so we could radio their placers and get them home. We answered questions, showed participants their spots on the map, and passed out camera tags. Greeters were a great team of volunteers. Although three greeters were asked to leave because they were intoxicated, we had a very successful year.
Vancouver, Sacramento, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco hosted Greeter meetings prior to the event this year. The regional contacts ROCK, and we send a special thank you for their help.
From the very beginning of Burning Man up to 1995, participants were often greeted by the founders or other participants. Some were welcomed and offered donuts by the Gate crew. Below is a brief history of Greeters as a team within Community Services;
- 1998: Greeters team was born. No station or booths, just a handful of volunteers suffering the elements to touch everyone coming home.
- 1999: Greeters started to become more organized and involve more volunteers. Greeters Station was built, and obelisk booths were first used.
- 2000: Scheduling became more formal, and job descriptions were established.
- 2001: Lead/Trany/Meta positions were solidified. Potty booths were built.
- 2002: Continued growth of Greeters, with more volunteers joining. H.A.P.P.Y. established and formal training started. Greeters camp established.
- 2003: A great year for Greeters. Greeters camp started hosting on-playa training. Many returning experienced and enthusiastic Greeters. Storage trailer painted. Questionnaire sent out after the event.
We used the same station building, booths, and virgin bells in 2003. Due to deterioration and in the spirit of making way for new life, the booths were burned at the end of this year’s event as part of a celebration at the burn platform at 7 p.m. and Esplanade. We will build new, redesigned booths for 2004. This expense will be an item added to the 2004 budget.
Also, 2004 will bring a focus on training, as our numbers are growing and the need for consistent management has grown. Our survey uncovered a few other areas for improvement that will be addressed, including:
- More greeters during slam times so that we do not have to rush people through
- Better process for camera tags
- More maps so we do not run out close to the end of the event
- Better layout for improved traffic control
- More involvement in onsite collation of hand-out materials
We look forward to greeting everyone in 2004, and we invite potential volunteers to consider Greeters as a great way to participate.
Greeter Project Manager