Once again in 2005, Greeters had a successful year. Actually one of the best ever! The newly created Greeters council, led by a new project manager, held regular monthly meetings in San Francisco. Training sessions were held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. The council spent the July 4 weekend at the Black Rock Station work ranch cleaning out and sorting the contents of the Greeters storage container. This hard work paid off when crews began to set up the Greeters Station, and improved organization will continue to simplify setup and teardown of the station for years to come.
Greeters began their long hours of work on Tuesday, Aug. 23 with the process of collating the printed materials that are handed out to participants. The job was finished by Friday morning. The setup team had the station beacons up and beautiful by Thursday afternoon. We officially opened the station on Friday, Aug. 26, at noon and closed at midnight Friday Sept. 2. Volunteer greeters, including theme camp teams, staffed the station 24/7 between those times. Teardown of the station was complete and the container locked by late Saturday, Sept. 3.
What worked well this year:
- Completing the collation process at Greeters Station was an incredibly successful change. Delivery of the printed materials happened on time and in a well-organized fashion.
- Camera tags were redesigned in 2005. In the past, each video-capable camera received a small metal rimmed tag attached by string — but only after it could be extracted from the messy ball of other strings and tags. For 2005, greeters began attaching a manila numbered tag to each camera with a zip tie. This new design was much easier to handle and distribute.
- With a full team of volunteers helping, setup and teardown of the Greeters Station went smoother than ever.
- A spanking coupon created for 2005 and went over very well. As noted in the 2004 Afterburn report, we have been trying to overcome the reputation that first-time participants must accept being spanked at Greeters Station. As part of the attempt to discontinue spanking at the station, we began handing out spanking coupons. The feedback from the coupons was mostly positive. Overall, spanking was reduced, and many found that the coupon was great fun.
- Beacons designed for the Greeters Station in 2004 continue to work perfectly as lane dividers.
- Greeters camp continues to be the best place to live for greeters.
- Instead of building a new station, greeters used an empty container for shelter. This innovation worked out really well for all, and the container will continue to serve as shelter.
- Many participants just show up at the station unscheduled to greet. We enjoyed the help of so many new greeters this year.
Some challenges in 2005 and their anticipated solutions in 2006:
- The early arrival list and its formulation was not completely understood. Consequently some last minutes changes did not go over well with the greeters at large. For 2006, the list will be easier to handle.
- Scheduling Metas was difficult in 2005. Meta duties include problem solving, helping with the placement of theme camps, and recruiting volunteers when low numbers of people show up to help. Metas usually work 8-hour shifts. Planners may discontinue the Meta role after Wednesday morning, since experience showed that once the theme camps were placed, the position was not really needed.
- Scheduling volunteers on the Friday night before the burn was a nearly impossible task, and it has been an ongoing problem. The 2006 schedule will formally be closing at midnight Friday night before the burn versus Saturday at noon. Communication to other teams of the midnight closing will be handled better in 2006 to help with smooth closing of the station.
- Problems with the virgin bells continue. A first-time participant entering Black Rock City is invited to ring a bell in announcement and celebration. New bells and bell towers will be constructed for 2006.
- Communication between greeters and other volunteer teams was difficult in 2005. With some additional training, this situation should improve in 2006.
- The ongoing safety issue of staff vehicles passing through the Greeters Station area will need to be corrected in 2006. A trash fence will be placed along the border of greeters station to will help detour staff vehicles around the greeters area.
The 2005 greeters should be proud of what they achieved this year. As the greeters participation in Black Rock City continues to grow, we suspect that all Black Rock City citizens will eventually wander out to the greeters station to find out what fun it is to welcome everyone.
Debra Stiers aka Topless Deb
Greeter Project Manager