Whether you have decades as a theme camp organizer under your belt or are just starting to think that you have what it takes to run a camp, the Camp Symposium is your opportunity to connect, learn, and grow together as a community of leaders.
No matter what kind of camp you come from – be it theme camp, village, small camp, art/mutant vehicle support, or staff – we welcome you to join us!
The event is divided between a plenary focused on key information and broad topics in the morning (Pacific Time) and in-depth breakout sessions on specific topics in the afternoon.
Just like Black Rock City, this event is organized by industrious community members like yourself. The TCO-led breakouts are a great volunteer opportunity to host, produce, assist, or present and put your own spin on the Symposium.
Learn more about the 2023 Camp Symposium Speakers, Presenters and Moderators HERE!
Plenary Schedule (10:00 am – 12:30 pm Pacific)
- Welcome from Burning Man Project CEO and Black Rock City Event Operations Director
- Ormat Geothermal Lawsuit Update
- Panel: Benefits of Downsizing and Taking a Year Off
- Camp Frontage Slide Show Extravaganza
- Support Resources for BRC Camps
- Panel: Radical Participation: Community-Led Initiatives in Black Rock City
- 2022 MOOP Map and Leaving Less Trace in 2023
- Project Updates from Green Theme Camp Community, BRC 2023 Art Preview, 25 to Thrive Regional
- Volunteerism in BRC
Session 1 (1:00 – 2:15 pm Pacific)
- Ask A Placer
Are you lost in the depths of the Placed Camp Questionnaire? Wonder why Placement has so many forms? Curious how the Placement team works and what they’re looking for when making their mapping decisions? Fear not, Placers are here to help! Join us, with Placement volunteers to answer your questions, share resources, and maybe tell a joke or two.
- Growing Your Camp – Attracting, Acculturating and Building a Culture of Community
How do you spell Burning Man?? C-U-L-T-U-R-E! Let’s talk about your campers, your culture and how to attract, acculturate and incentivize your team to create a great experience for you, your campers & your guests. Both new & mature camps will benefit from our diverse perspectives… from creating a culture, to keeping it going and succession planning!
- Offering Compelling Frontage, Lighting, and Signage
Camp frontages are key to welcoming and inviting participation. See stunning examples then discuss how your camp can make its public face appealing and engaging.
- Power: Using Less While Living Large
Sustainability is an important focus for many camps. However, many don’t know that you can reduce your power usage and carbon footprint without materially reducing all the good things generators and their electricity provide. Come hear from our experts on how solar, LED’s and other technologies can help you have your cake and eat it too.
- R.I.D.E. – Encouraging Diversity and Inclusivity in Your Camp
Burning Man has made a pledge to Anti-Racism and ensuring a more diverse and radically inclusive Black Rock City. Join this conversation on practical steps your camp can take to increase diversity in your camp and make it more welcoming and inclusive to people from all backgrounds. Learn what others have done, share your own experiences, and walk away with some tips you can try this year.
- Shit Happens! – A Red Folder Workshop
Don’t freak out! A Red Folder is easy to see, holds critical information and is kept in a place to access easily if a crisis arises. Our speakers will provide some information and tips on being prepared for a variety of sketchy situations. You will walk away with a wealth of resources to create your own camp red folders and camp preparedness kits/materials to use in the event of an emergency.
- When Having a Smaller Impact is a Good Thing: Maximizing your LNT & MOOP Strategies to Minimize Our Impact on the Playa
Turn your red mark into a green camp. Whether a new camp or a dusty veteran, we can all use some tips and tricks for practicing LNT. Come learn some new techniques to encourage your entire camp to participate in the battle against MOOP.
- Work+Play: Motivating Campers & Keeping Volunteerism Fun
Running a theme camp makes you the ultimate volunteer – offering up your time, sweat equity and even your sanity for a creative vision or service you (hopefully) believe in. But how do you keep your campers (and out-of-camp volunteers) whistling while working amid heat, dust or the aftermath of too much revelry the night before? With all that bright, shiny playa out there, how do you get them to show up for shifts and motivate them to help you fulfill your questionnaire promises, without making it all feel like default-world work? This panel offers different POVs & tips for getting “f–k yeah!” enthusiasm for camp organization, build and interactivity!
Session 2 (2:30 – 3:45 pm Pacific)
- All About Trailers – Packing and Transporting Gear Safely to and from BRC
Learn how to avoid disaster on the road when traveling to and from Black Rock City. Highly experienced camp organizers will describe common problems they have experienced when driving trucks and towing trailers, and will provide useful advice regarding the best ways to pack and transport your camp’s infrastructure.
- Conflict Mediation Training – How to Win a Goat Rodeo
Whether we like it or not, conflicts happen. Learn some tried, tested and proven tips from our speakers and presenters about how to best mediate conflict in your own camp. How to Win a Goat Rodeo is a panel discussion featuring a demonstration of non-violent communication tools and real-world scenarios of conflict, because frankly, most people who say “this isn’t my first rodeo” haven’t actually been to a rodeo.
- Consent – How to acculturate camp members and teach camp guests
Consent is often referred to as the Eleventh Principle given its importance. We’ll discuss how camps educate about and encourage consent-seeking and consent-honoring behaviors in their activities and among their campers and guests.
- Nothing Succeeds Like Success: How to start and maintain a healthy theme camp and thrive or survive as a camp lead
Whether you’re thinking about starting a new camp, refreshing your current camp, or planning to move on from your camp, our panelists will provide you with insights, ideas and strategies based on their years of experience leading small camps, large camps, and villages. Topics will include practices for adding newbies, camp expectations, leadership succession, self care, managing a camp with a lot of international campers, and reflecting on how to measure the success of your experience from both a leadership perspective and that of your campers.
- Office Hours with DA
Have questions about your camp’s Leave No Trace plan? Want to dive deeper on the Playa Restoration process and how we make the MOOP Map? Join this session with Playa Restoration Manager Dominic Tinio (a.k.a. Dark Angel or DA) to up your LNT game and get feedback about your camp.
- Volunteerism: In BRC, Your Camp, and the World
Burning Man runs on volunteerism. Learn how camps can excel while having and encouraging their members to volunteer for the event – and how to take that momentum back into your communities across the world.
- Yell Less, Incentivize More – The Pros and Cons of Dues, Deposits, and Other Financial Structures to Help Motivate Your Camp
Did everyone bail on teardown? Did your campers skip their volunteer shifts? Did your camp tools wander off? Let’s talk about different ways the challenges and benefits of incentives to encourage behavior while still respecting the Ten Principles and decommodification.