Where are we that….?

Over the years that I have been doing things under the banner of Queer Burner (formerly Gay Burners) it has taken many forms. As the primary voice on this project it has been my chief goal to unite queer burners and make a fun play space for all those who would like to play in this amazing sand box.

Like on any playground, there are bullies. There are people who would thrust their point of view on other around them in spite of facts or truths. We do live in an age where there is “truthiness” and “alt-truths” and revisionist history that seek to drive a narrative that is increasingly questioned by some and ignored by others.

In the scope of that, calling out white privilege has been a big subject. At the Burning Man Global Leadership Conference this April 2017 in Oakland, California there was a 2 hour discussion from a black woman to a widely mixed audience. The smartest thing a white male could do was to listen and observe, but that was too much for some of us. You can imagine the results.

This week we put a survey on one of our Facebook Groups : Queer Burners Global Social Network :

  • Patience. Calm. Honesty. Maybe reflect a moment before answering. There is a reasonable expectation that the Gayborhood / Rainbow Road is going to be very different in 2017. If the Queer Neighborhood is decentralized will this effect your burn?

The feedback has been amazing. The ability to answer in the scope of the poll was limited. Read through the comments and see some of what happen, because it is awesome. However, a lot of people had no problem with the dissolution of the Gayborhood. BTW: they were mostly white and male (as of last check).

Some battles have been strange and interesting. If you read the trip report from the 2016 Burn there was a meeting with Placement at a queer camp (Sun Guardians) where in mostly queer camps came to meet with Placement and have a conversation about being neighborly: this was not a meeting about Queer Camps.

There were two attendees that highjacked the meeting and tried to make it about the merits of the Gayborhood, but we were able to steer it away. Among them was a person with a complex and strong voice from the White Ocean camp who clearly was dealing with his own demons.

The second person was a member of the temple crew  whose partner wanted nothing to do with the direction of the conversation.

This week someone named Tom Steward posted publicly his feelings about the Gayborhood and this submission was an echo of sentiment from other voices in the minority about the Gayborhood:

  • Gays are in no more danger than anyone else at burning man. No need for a gayborhood unless you want easy cruising. Gays should be sprinkled lightly over the entire city. We are a gay camp and have never felt threatened and dislike that gays are segregated.” – Tom posted this with his email address and IP. It was a public submission through the feedback form and he had some feelings to share.

Tom reflects the feelings of some other burners; most often it is a voice of people who feel rejected by the Gayborhood and it’s residents. In my 9 years burning I have seen an amazing evolution of queer camps who have worked very very very hard to make their camps and residents more inclusive and welcoming. We have evolved and ask to see if your perception can evolve with us.

Even if the Gayborhood is broken into 2, if it is dissolute, it will evolve and survive. But with that, people who find a sense of safety with it are the people Burning Man is trying to reach. It’s not just an ethnic loss, it’s the loss of diversity on another level.

E very person I have seen asking for the breakup of the Gayborhood was a gay white male sharing a point of view that excluded anyone else in the scope of what they proposed to be destroyed. Objectively these people are missing a lot of facts.

  • we conducted surveys of the community and found clear data that there were significant threats to personal safety against gender ambiguous, trans and specifically female identified people in the scope of the survey sent to Queer Burner members.  The results are on this site from last year.
  • his expression of “we” seems to be limited to his white, gay camp mates of a mysterious camp yet unidentified.

Queers and people of color do not move through community like everyone. We (they) are usually aware of their environments for specific safety reasons. We do not walk through a neighborhood assuming safety. It is the same in the world and the same at Burning Man. With the commercialization of Burning Man, with the Bucket List thinking, we have to step up our game for safety and community support more and more.

Jan 2nd News Letter: Copy

It is with excitement and anticipation that we march into 2017 in spite of national politics and the passing of so many great voices and entertainers in 2016. AND we announce the opening of ticket sales for “All Of Us” 2017, formerly known as the Queer Burner Retreat.

 

All Of Us will be held at www.saratogasprings.com in Upper Lake, California for 5 days and 4 nights in the great beauty that is the northern California woods. It is about the same driving distance as Groundswell. While we will miss the lovely and inspiring land of Groundswell, this new location can handle a larger population and is just as beautiful.

Yes, we are expanding by offering more value with stronger leadership. We have built an experience unlike any other for LGBTQ+ Burning Man participants and our allies.

Join us on Memorial Day Weekend for a new level of amazing!

 

Burning Man Ticket Sales

As predicted, in the days before the December Holidays, Burning Man announced it’s theme and then the ticket schema. They are primed for an early sale to raise funds for the artist supported projects through the Burning Man Arts Grants (also announced in December). Some have asked why are there tickets at this price point? There are those eager to go to Burning Man at any price. There are those who are zealots for the cause. Either way, this is partially how grants make their way to artists.

Queer Burner Artists for 2017

There are some special projects we are already excited to see unfolding. Please help support these artists through sharing their gifts to the community or helping to fund/support their campaigns.

2017 The Get Down

The Get Down is a conceptual art installation hoping to find its way to Black Rock City and the 2017 Burning Man Festival. If you are interested in reading more about the project, would like to keep up on our progress, or would like to become a crew member, please join us and help this dream become a reality.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/BurnTheGetDown2017/

The Journey

We are a group of friends and artists experienced with Burning Man culture. We will bring a large scale art project, known as The Journey in 2017.

https://www.facebook.com/TheJourneyProject2017/

Leadership in 2017

Rumor has it that the Burning Man Org is inviting more people to the Global Leadership Conference for 2017, that is direct from a top Burning Man source. According to other bmorg staff in 2016 at the same conference, there is a strong desire to open up this inspiring event to more participants.

But, what else for 2017? Beside the “All Of Us” event replacing the Queer Burner Retreat, there is talk of a Queer Burner Leadership Summit as well. And finally, a faction has proposed a post-Burning Man event at Groundswell that looks like a great idea as well but has not been firmed up as of yet.

As for All Of Us we have a strong team creating the project that started meeting in October. Each meeting is like a onion revealing new and exciting miraculous layers. We are still looking for people for parts that will be played in the coming weeks. To sign up fill out this form.

  • Choreographer
  • Stage Manager
  • Gate Manager
  • Rangers
  • Workshop Leads

Very grateful for Ranger Kickstand for leading the Ranger portion of our event and leading a discussion about Mental Health and self care on the playa. To those who have stepped up including Phoenix from QueerCouplesCenter.com who is a licensed psychotherapist who will be also lending  hand with a workshop.

What Else about All Of Us?

It is all very exciting and our Education Manager is Papasmurf from Camp Proper. He and Toaster have been working together to start a program of educational and fun things for diversions at the event. One direction is to focus on mental and physical health. We are looking for programs for newbies that introduce the 10 Principles and burner life inside and outside the trash fence. Stay Tuned:

Upcoming Events:

The Mechanics

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped keep this network thriving. As we get closer to event season there is room for more people to play in this garden. If you sign up on the Queer Burners web site and are verified, then you too can write posts and continue conversations relevant to the community at large. Thank you to so many of you.

What’s a Sparkle Pony?

The following was an email received and answered: (The name of the inquisitor was changed)

Can you please tell me what a sparkle pony is? It sounds fabulous!
PersonX
—————
Well, hi there, PersonX!
You ask a very serious question. One that requires a history lesson and a warning for your safety. A Sparkle Pony is an evil, clueless race of heartless parasitic people who live off the sweat and hard work of others. They come from a far off land that they destroyed by neglect and carelessness while they focused on looking more beautiful. Without a home, they now invade all other lands trying to take as much air out of a room as possible.

12_sparklepony_withcopySparkle Ponies run around trying to look cute (but usually look desperate), trying to get attention from their costumes and their looks, while doing nothing to contribute to community or build a better world. In our history, we had a nasty infestation of Sparkle Ponies that we have successfully shunned and we must remain diligent to prevent them from trying to take over our little paradise in the desert – because they try every year.

But to be fair, I feel a little sorry for Sparkle Ponies. They’re just immature, clueless and have no idea how to enjoy the emotional benefits and personal growth that come from building community, serving others, acting in others’ best interests or nurturing their fellow human beings. But they do have a choice. A very important choice that can change their experience and their reputation… The changes in biochemistry that comes from truly bonding, wanting to get along with others, creating together and accomplishing great feats as a group, while glistening with sweat are what turns people into….Sparkle Stallions!

Now, you didn’t ask, but I feel it’s really important to explain what a Sparkle Stallion is. They are revered, beautiful creatures who know how to get shit done and look fierce while they are doing it. They work hard and play hard. They are professional partiers who create the party, make the party fun and clean up after it. Our camp is full of Sparkle Stallions! They are known for their hard work ethic, their ability to smile and have fun while glittering it done. They are a beacon of hope for humanity. So, if you can, choose to be like Sparkle Stallions. They are much more popular with sincere, kind, generous, heart-centered people anyway. And they have better sex lives, I hear 🙂

I hope this is helpful, PersonX! I know you’ll choose the positive path and stay away from those Sparkle Ponies.
Love,
Uncle Coop (aka Michael Coop Cooper part of Comfort & Joy)

_______

Burning Man Zodiac
zodiac

Mailer: July Addon

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Yikes! 1 quick correction and an addendum

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Sup’s Important

Not to weigh down your in box but there are a couple more notes from our calendar and happenings.

A link was broken on the last email:
We have this fund raiser that is about to end and we really need to meet our goal. It is only $2500 but that will do a lot for Queer Burners.
1. every few bucks helps out
2. some of the higher rewards will get you early access to the 2017 event on Mdemorial Day weekend.

Follow this link: to Indiegogo

Theme Camp News

Believe it or not there are a few camps still looking for people for TTITD. Want to camp with a Theme Camp? Each one of these brings a distinctly different flavor to the playa.

Thank you all for your participation and help this year with the Queer Burner Retreat. The next year is going to be absolutely amazing so stay tuned for more and exciting announcements for the next year.

These camps listed above posted on Queer Burners they were looking for people.

Toaster

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July 1st Mailer

 

 

Community announcements and news

 

 

View this email in your browser

 

 

 

Our New Look & More!

The web site has a new look and more changes to make it a better resource for YOU. We have some big things coming in the Queer Burner network for growth, structure and what we are able to deliver. We do need you participation and help to make it real though. Who benefits? Our community does.

What is contained in this email

 

 

How is this for a logo for 2017 starting with DaVinci’s Workshop and moving ahead through the coming calendar year. “Gayborhood” was removed as we seek to remind people that we are a radically inclusive community and many of our participants fall under the many other letters in the acronyms used to capture us bunch of Queers.

Starting July 1st we started a Fun Raising Campaign to take care of a few obligations and pave the road to the future. We are creating a legal identity and need a little boost to make that happen. The nice thing about the “rewards” from this fund raiser is a chance to get in on early ticket purchases for the 2017 queer burner retreat called “All Of Us”. EVERY PENNY COUNTS and we thank you all.

 

 Playa Prep

On your way out to the playa for your first time? You must be prepared… and if you are going on your own be extra prepared. If you are going with a camp make sure you are getting your acculturation training and HOW to prepare for the Playa.
All these resources are from 3rd parties that are highly popular on the Facebook web.

What is happening: Mark your Calendars

Here is what I can find on the Calendar. To see an evolving list go to the web site:
Quite literally this is all the events I have listed and for some reason only items in San Francisco. To get listed here and on the web site use the contact form on the web site or post on Queer Burners Facebook Group.

Things to mark your calendar on the playa!

There are some events to make special note of now and see more as they appear online in the coming future on the web site:
  • MONDAY burn week:
    • Down Low Club Annual Meet & Greet in the camp at night
    • Tectonic will host a Queer Burner dance party
  • TUESDAY burn week:
    • Sun Guardians Village hosts: Theme Camp Organizer Mixer with representatives from Placement
  • FRIDAY burn week:
    • Comfort & Joy w/ BAAAHS are moving their amazing Afterglow party out to the Playa! THIS IS A SOLID MUST ATTEND… it will be the hottest party for the week! Stay tuned for more information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information:

 

 

 

 

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10 Principles Lost: Dissolution of our Foundation

Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regional Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.

The 10 Principles were drilled into me when I first came into the community and I adopted them whole-heartedly. As a camp and community leader it is vital I embody these, but is the meaning of these being diluted with the ever growing commercial access of TTITD?

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

  • QB: exclusion is something we as a community know well as being excluded and a large part of the LGBTQAI population consider themselves MARGINALIZED in society. This is one of the Principles that holds an extremely important characteristic we  value and are attracted to.

Gifting
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

  • QB: Gifting is not Bartering. Accepting a gift with kindness and appreciation without expectation of exchange is also a key part of this Principle.

Decommodification
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

  • QB: This is about taking the commercial and mass marketed part of products out of the experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

  • QB: Do not be a “Sparkle Pony” – come to the burn prepared to survive long enough to not die.
Join the conversation in the 10 Principles blog series.
Join the conversation in the 10 Principles blog series.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

  • QB: “Don’t dream it, be it…” – Dr Frankenfurter

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

  • QB: Some camps have this down like a fine art, some camps seem to be struggling with getting people rallied to make a camp happen. It seems that the larger the event gets, the more accessible by the bucket list crowd, the more attendees are looking at theme camps as hotels for the weekend where everything is set up for their pleasure. Getting some people engaged is a struggle while some get very motivated participants.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

  • QB: Part of this is the responsibility of the camp to provide an attraction for the city residents. It includes making sure that our spaces and streets are safe and clean. In fact there is a lot that falls under this umbrella. I think some camps are not evolving and working on making their presentations fresh for the years as they progress.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

  • QB: Pack it in and Pack it out… if you bring it with you take it with you when you leave. LNT is vital for camps and individuals and is perhaps one of the most abused and bruised Principles on the list. e.g.:
    • ever see the trash left along the side of the road on your way out of burning man?
    • campers who dump their excess on follow campers and leave without taking any trash with them?

Participation
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

  • QB: We have layers of community and it is important that each one supports the other with near seamless lines. From our group of friends, our camps, our queer neighborhood and the city at large.

Immediacy
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

  • QB: That means now. Your team needs to get a goal accomplished that means that people are needed to spring into action.

EVERYTHING IN RED IS  a copy / paste from http://burningman.org/culture/philosophical-center/10-principles/

EVERYTHING in Gray is written by the author/presenter: Toaster

Depending on where you are in this community of Burning Man participants you might see the 10 Principles and how they can be applied. As camp leaders, community leaders or individual participants perspective is perhaps very different.

I think we are in trouble of loosing some very important ties to the 10 Principles in the wake of a tourist/festival mentality that is filtering into a culture that many of us have really opted into. As a camp builder and community leader, I personally see a lot of holes that participants are not filling in while leaders scramble to make up the difference.

Some leaders are really good at reaching into the assets of the community and asking for, selecting people, that are perfect for filling those spaces where someone is needed. On one hand it might seem like a lack of immediacy and civic responsibility when that volunteer is asked for, but on the other hand I hear participants say “I’ve done my share.”

Another area I think we are loosing ground is in the area of LNT. Leave No Trace is a case for the environment and the ability of our community to show we are reducing our impact on the very precious land we gather upon. This is something that has a point of view as well.

As a camp leader and community leader we often see participants unconsciously leaving their footprint on people in those roles. While it is not seen as a direct assault on the idea of LNT the importance of a camp leader is to get that green and hopefully the entire camp can feel proud about getting that green on the MOOP map.

Campers departing from the event often abandon furniture, food or other items with the assumption that someone else will take care of it. This is the biggest complain heard by camp leaders year after year. It takes the community minded collective to see the project from built to breakdown and leaving the space clean upon departure.

The real answer is Acculturation Training. While it will come from a variety of perspectives having a clear understanding of the 10 Principles and how they apply to the burn experience on and off the playa is the key to success in the culture.

BRC Gay Pride Parade – Please Support

There is new blood running the Gay Pride event at Burning Man this year. Justin is part of Camp Proper and he is taking a whole new perspective on the Gay Pride Parade which has historically taken place on Friday of burn week.

The Gay Pride Parade started more than a decade ago under Mario Cisneros (formerly Moonbow Camp / RIP) whom we lost in 2012. Since then Toaster took over the Pride event, but in 2015 participation was at an all time low and the thought was that it needed new imagination, new eyes and new ideas.

Burner Buddies has been the other end of that event and have generously invited attendees to their camp with Nacho Daddies and others to an after party in their camp.

The pride parade is still done in honor of the memory of Mario and is driven by community support. This is really important to people who knew and felt the loving support and brotherhood with Mario in his day.

This is important to rally and support this project. If everyone would commit to giving a couple hours to Justin and help make this a success it would be a great way of helping build community.

Burning Man Placement is asking for Feedback

We did it! A collective of local queer camp leaders met with Placement at BMHQ to discuss how to manage the number of request for 7:30 sector, which are almost double the number requesting any other sector of Burning Man. Besides providing a safe space for LGBTQIA folks, we’ve created a tight-knit community that produces amazing art and a powerful experience on the playa. Other burners have responded, and queers and allies alike are flocking to our rainbow colored beacon.

Using survey data you, the Queer Burner community, provided us, we discussed what makes the Gayborhood (or more inclusively “Queerborhood”) such an important place for our community and for Burning Man in general. We tried to tackle issues of safety, inclusion, freedom, self-expression, and all the powerful themes that you all wrote to us about!

The Placement Team also brought data of their own. Using the BRC census data, almost a third of the BRC population self-identify as “LGBTQQ”.

Scan_20160602

And, now, BURNING MAN PLACEMENT needs actionable information so as to not break up the Gayborhood/Queerborhood and still solve the logistics challenge of cramming too many camps in a limited amount of space. So…

URGENT: Before Friday afternoon we need the community to answer a few more questions (not many, really): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GPJFRLZ

Answering the questions above will directly guide the ongoing logistics discussion with Placement. You and your camp leaders are invited to participate so that we can continue to create a supportive space for those who want to share in the community.

This year we anticipate seeing a Gayborhood “Rainbow Road” scenario much like 2016 (possibly extending beyond the bounds of 7:30 and into the adjacent sectors). However, in the not so distant future, we are likely to see TWO Gayborhoods and new questions in the Placement Questionnaire for camps to self-identify as queer and wanting to be in the Gayborhood/Queerborhood (rather than just requesting 7:30).

For now, use the Queer Burners [dot] Com Forums to share your opinions. Help us continue the dialog by letting us know what you need!

Leaders of Queer Camps facilitating the discussion:

– *Tiger (Glamcocks) – *Christian (BAAAHS) – *Cyndi NoPants (Gender Blender) – *Toaster (Sun Guardians / Queer Burners) – *Indigo (Astropups) – *Dare (Glamcocks) – *Foxy (Beaverton) – *Ariel (Gender Blender) – Terry Grossman (Gaylactic Village / Time to Burn) – Ed Edmond (Burner Buddies) – Zach Bunker (BloAsis)  *in attendance at meeting w/ Placement Team

URGENT: Changes to the Gayborhood

Placement @ Burning Man wants to hear from the community about the role of the Gayborhood. We need feedback from the community NOW as we are meeting with the BMorg on June 1st. Please complete this Survey Monkey post right away and give us your feedback. [link here to survey – UPDATED]

Some of the collective leaders of queer camps are being asked to communicate with Placement @ Burning Man about the logistics and purpose of The Gayborhood. The Gayborhood has become a huge presence. Now Burning Man is asking us questions about HOW to manage requests to camp in the 7:30 sector and HOW to fit the concept of the Gayborhood into their current policies.

Toaster reached out to some of the most active leaders he knew about creating a survey so we can come to the meeting better prepared with data. What we have surmised from the Queer Burner Leadership Summit discussions is that there are clear and compelling reasons for the gayborhoods that have appeared on playa.

Did you know there are 2 annual Gayborhoods? One is the Gayborhood usually falling in the 7:30 sector most people seem familiar with. Another is the 4:30 and J self placed camps like Burner Buddies and Nacho Daddies that have made that area their own space. In 2010 there was also a Gay Ghetto. (Yes, they called it that) It appeared over on the entire block of 3:00 & C. A group of campers independently made that happen.

[link here to survey – UPDATED

Safe Place: You will see reference to the term “safe place” in the questionnaire. This is not the same things as the project “Safe Place.” Some camps are going to be implementing a project called Safe Place for people under duress to retreat to while at the burn where they can be safe from predators or the effects of “too much.” A meeting about “Safe Place” the project will occur on June 8th if you would like to learn more. [Facebook Event]

The HIVE mind behind the survey includes: Toaster (Sun Guardians / Queer Burners Admin) Foxy (Beaverton / Ranger Torchwood) Cyndi Vee & Ariel (Gender Blender) Terry Grossman (Gaylactic Village / Time to Burn) John Pacheco (GlamCocks) Russ Smith (AstroPups) Ed Edmond (Burner Buddies) and there were others included in the discussion who may or may not have added but were included in the conversation: Yogen Kushi (GlamCocks) Jered Floyd (HIVE Boston) Micheal Cooper (Comfort & Joy) Brian Busta (Comfort & Joy) and Zach Bunker (BloAsis)

 

Community

When listening to old Larry Harvey speeches COMMUNITY is the same reason Burning Man was founded and allowed to evolve. We build a city every year with a gift based economy and sew the seeds of love that inspire almost super-human creations; then we burn it all down and come back the following year. It is the life cycle of a phoenix over and over again.

“Community is the result of a group of people
striving for a common purpose.” – unknown

Most of us strive for a diverse and interesting population we are welcoming guests into our camps for various functions on the playa better than we do in the default world sometimes. We find comfort in out cliques and forget through the glass bubble that people on the outside can just as easily see in. For the Queer Burner population we have been challenged at an even higher standard from within and out to make ourselves accessible and escapable. That is the Gayborhood has been unfairly accused of being a wall keeping people in and out. Some camps have been accused of the same, but many of us have worked hard to show them they have no foundation for that claim.

“Well it seems to me, that all real communities grow out of a
shared confrontation with survival.Communities are
not produced by sentiment or mere goodwill. They
grow out of a shared struggle. Our situation in
the desert is an incubator for community.”
– Larry Harvey

In the comfort of our camps and social groups the unintentional barriers based on looks, social similarities and basic needs exclude some people. Again, some camps have worked very hard to turn that image around with tremendous success. Others have been less willing to forgive and others have enjoyed the bounty of more mature and less synical memories of the past and looked to a shining bright future.

The Gayburbs out at 4:30 & I:
This space developed as queer camps began
coalescing with the familiar for neighbors who
made the experience safer.

As leaders in the community we have a responsibility to our people. Radical self reliance is a good principle to live by, BUT watching your team-mate’s back is also important to solid. We have those camp mates that do not use self-care and sometimes it is by choice or reaction to the new world around them. The weather and the fervor of the TTITD event can be overwhelming. By watching out for a fellow beings we further strengthen the bonds of our foundation.

What defines community?

The people behind the common goal. It really takes those who can see the vision of a unified force to speak up and stand out and then show the leadership qualities that create the wake that others follow in. We have our leadership and we have our participants. The ties that bind us are the thin string of individual faith and unspoken desire to be safe and secure that we rally behind. Sometimes, as we have seen time and time again, is merely proximity. Sometimes safety and community develops out of something greater. But we do it together.

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