In my fifteen years of burning, I tried a lot of channels. My position has always been to be a person who contributes and supports my community. As you might have noted from previous posts, I talk about my fellow burners a lot. My community focus is the LGBTQIA, but my network and community extends far beyond that. And, also noted in a recent post, I set a clear intention to develop better relationships with women, which I feel successful at. The bonus is, I met and became close to a lot of wonderful humans from all kind of walks of like that became very important to me as well.
The positive side of rangering, from my point of view, is you someone can feel like you have become a co-host for the party. Honestly, you walk around and get to watch people having a great time and when someone is being a jerk, you get to help them walk themselves back into the party in a btter place. Well, hopefully. There are times when people are just going to be assholes and that is not really your problem in the bigger picture.
As a Ranger you are a volunteer on vacation and you get to hang out with like minded people. There is a dizzying amount of ‘kinds’ of ranger you might see at Burning Man, but the most common you might see is the Dirt Ranger who is wandering the event in pairs. They are level one ambassadors and have built a lot of trust. That trust is called “Social Capital” and its really important. Bottom line, Rangers are there to help make things run smoothly.
Let’s go back to Social Capital. I learned a lot about leadership from this model. I wish I learned this in the beginning, like before I started leading camps, because my world might be very different from today. Part of rangering is about learning to listen and not reacting to a situation. Often that means doing nothing. Social Capital lets that happen because very often just being around a Ranger makes people want to do better. As a neighbor or as a citizen of BRC.
Volunteering is what makes Black Rock City tick. It is the major line that defines Burning Man as a cultural event over being a festival. Anyone calling it a festival is missing the point. There are rewards that come with giving your energy and time that make it worth while. Rangering is, IMHO, one of the best things leaders in our community could take on and find themselves much better evolved because:
- You learn a lot about conflict resolution
- You learn a lot about yourself
- It is the perfect chance to leave you camp and self assigned responsibilities to enjoy the event
- It is freeing of the ego
Is it too late to jump on ship? Check out the Volunteering form through your burner profile today. There are several layers you have to go through to be a ranger to start off with. Do this with intention.
- Complete the Volunteer Form
- Complete the online training course (it’s short this year and concise)
- Complete in person training (a whole day)
- Complete your Alpha Shift on playa (10 Hours)
This is very much worth it with what you will walk away with.
The only negative side of this coin is that there are still some jerks that ruin that social capital that is hard to unsee. Ranger really value that Social Capital and those remaining salty old fuks are a dying breed. Like the Ranger Manual says, sometimes do nothing and move on. Hold on to the intention we talked about in a previous paragraph and use these tools to make you a better leader, community member, and participant. Community is more important than ever these days.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It seems to be too late to become a ranger for 2023. Can’t stop you from learning about it and getting to know some cool rangers. Maybe 2024?