The Summerisle Guide is for First Timers, Veterans, and Everyone In Between! Click on on a topic or download a printable copy.
Our community considers volunteering a gift to the community and an incredible, hands-on opportunity for civic participation. This is one of the qualities that makes burns the unique experience that is so close to our hearts. It is also, bar none, the easiest, best, and most rewarding way to make new burner friends!
There are plenty of ways to get involved and put your particular skill set to good use, whether before, during or after the event. Are you new to burns? Volunteering is the best way to meet the community. Are you a seasoned burner, ready for more? You already get it – this is just camping in the forest without YOU.
DIFFERENT LEVELS OF VOLUNTEERING
Summerisle Burn is a volunteer-run burn. Even the Summerisle Board of Directors buys tickets to the burn and plans it for no pay. We can always use more help on so many levels of the burn. All the gears make the burn go!
We have clarified the different levels of volunteers across (most) departments. We hope this enables more clarity as to who is responsible for what. Please contact us if you are interested in stepping into any higher-level leadership with our burn!
- BOP: Board on Paper. Irrelevant for most of our planning explanation purposes, but good to know. They are the “legally accountable” board members who are on the nonprofit’s paperwork.
- BOD: Board-effective. Those who play Ozian yahtzee behind the curtain re: addressing the critical infrastructure needs that makes the burn possible at the base level. Many also maintain coordinator and/or lead positions, but this role is theoretically distinct. This is an (almost) year-round job.
- Coordinator(s): Pre-planner(s) for a Dept. or high-level job and head Bish-in-Charge on site in most cases unless it is urgent enough to elevate to BoD This is the person(s) the BOD looks to if something waxes catastrophic. Where every other volunteer fails, this is where the buck stops. More than one person can be a Coordinator of a Department, but they must work together, either via our Discord Summerisle Planning server or by other means of communication.
- Lead(s) (either Of-the-Day, Of-the-Task, or Of-a-Shift): The person reporting directly to the Coordinator, but is the lead on their shift. They make the on-the-spot calls unless it is urgent enough to elevate to a Coordinator or the BoD. More than one person can be a Lead. We invite Leads to be part of pre-burn talks and decisions on our planning Discord channel.
- Shift volunteers: Burn staff filling in open non-Lead slots on Signup.com and keeping the gears turning smoothly during the event itself. They elevate issues to Lead as needed. Most burners fall here! These shifts do NOT qualify for the reserve tickets.
WHERE TO SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER
Volunteer signups, once live, will be posted to the Summerisle Facebook group, the event, as well as on our website at https://summerisleburn.com/volunteer/. You can also sign up onsite at The Hive, located at the top of the hill where The Crawl meets Chill Pill, but it’s easier to volunteer ASAP!
Ticket releases will be based on the percentage of volunteer slots filled. If you have any questions concerning volunteering, talk to our Volunteer Lead, Cat (“Caitlin Watts-FitzGerald” on the Book o Faces.)
Volunteer categories are listed below, and there’s always something for every burner!
Greeters are the first point of contact for almost every burner arriving on site, and can set the tone for the entire burn! They are detail-oriented, over-caffeinated, hug-generating assembly lines of delight and wisdom. Greeters gift positive energy and warm greetings to every traveler at every hour of ingress, as well as explaining the land and theme camp layout to get burners started on the right foot (and in the right direction!). They will also communicate with Gate during peak arrival times and when RVs arrive to ensure that traffic into the event runs as smooth and safely as possible. Equally relevant, Greeters will be the first point-of-contact for anyone entering the property including landowners, law/county officials, and gate crashers.
Gate volunteers handle ticket processing, participant waivers, wristbands, and vehicle checks. You must be sober during your shift. You will be trained on procedures prior to your shift, but please arrive 10 minutes early for a quick onboarding.
At Summerisle, we have changed the structure of our Ranger program. Pink Light Camps, where burners may request ranger assistance, first aid assistance, sanctuary assistance, etc. anytime, day or night ensures that contact via a radio with a Ranger is never too far away, will again be a fixture at Summerisle.
Additionally, we will have the following Ranger roles & designations: the Ranger Lead is the Board-appointed person responsible for all facets & responsibilities of the program, & has direct communication with the BOD at all times. The Officer Of the Day (OOD) will be on a 24 hour shift and will be pre-appointed before the burn. They will serve as the on-hands decision maker, arbiter, & in the event that they are needed, backup to the R-12. The R12, otherwise referred to as the Khaki, ranger role will be to monitor issues, either on-call or through encounters while moving about the burn. They will directly liaise with the OOD, Ranger Lead & Board when necessary. We ask that Khaki volunteers have Ranger experience of at least two related burns, or equivalent experience on a case by case basis. Volunteering to this position will require confirmation/permission by the Lead before the burn. The R12 is the onboarding ranger that brings Dirt Rangers up to speed on any ongoing things to keep an eye on, or issues that have already cropped up. The two person/two teams Dirt Rangers, are our boots on the ground who walk the burn as members of the community on Friday & Saturday evening from 9p to 3a. Participation in the Ranger Training Meeting is mandatory for Dirt Rangers (new rangers & veterans alike) before their shift. The Ranger Training meeting is at 11 a.m. on Friday @ Ranger HQ @ The Hive.
Summerisle Rangers will be watchful for issues as they arise but are always abiding by the Ranger Motto – First, Do Nothing. Our Rangers are not a source of policing or enforcement, but rather are the social lubrication that encourages burners to answer to their better selves, and to help those who may be frustrated, tired, strung out, or irate, find their balance again.
Black Rock Ranger training or rangering experience desired, but not required. Newcomers and Rangers from other burn events are welcome! Note: You must be sober for your shift and are asked to show up 10 minutes beforehand in order to be apprised of any ongoing situations to watch.
Everyone knows the feeling of needing a quiet, safe place to breathe, take a moment, and settle down for a bit. Burns can be 24/7 motion, and for many of us, that can get to be overwhelming at times (haven’t we all felt alone in a crowd, or like the only person we see not having a good time?). Sanctuary is where we can all take a deep breath and remember to relax again. Sanctuary volunteers are kind, empathetic, nurturing individuals who can keep a cool head and navigate emotional moments with an open heart and clear head. Green Dot training a plus, but not a prerequisite, and there will be on-site training announced on the event page for those interested in learning more.
In order to qualify for your Sanctuary shift, we ask all volunteers (from first timers to veterans) to please participate in a training before their shift. Trainings will be Thursday-Sunday at 1pm daily. Meet at Sanctuary (located behind Gate – by the small field @ the firepit by the woods).
The porta-potty service we use includes daily morning cleanouts and restocks, but we take care of the upkeep in between. Take a shift and help keep our potties clean! You don’t need to scrub them by hand – just spray them down with bleach spray, clear out any trash, and make sure they have enough toilet paper. We supply the supplies – you supply the effort to get it done and keep things tidy.
First Aid will be a stand-alone station that folks can visit for basic first aid care (bandaids, etc.) . First Aid volunteers will check on the station to tidy up and restock it each day. No medical experience is required for this shift.
We will also have spots open for persons with medical and/or CPR training to sign up to be our First Aid Lead-On-Call You will be who people may turn to for higher-level questions of the “Do I need to go to urgent care for this?” variety. The First Aid Lead-On-Call will also be called upon in an actual medical emergency onsite that needs immediate assistance until an ambulance can arrive. The First Aid Station will be located near The Hive (at the top of the hill where The Crawl meets Chill Pill). For urgent medical emergencies that need immediate attention, please call 911 and let us know so we can help you get to the Gate ASAP as safely as possible.
Do you like fire?…Silly question! Do you play and perform with fire, or want to keep our burn safe while others do so? If you have an interest in fire safety, want to learn to work with fire safely, or perform in our Conclave, then join our team! To participate behind the burn line during Conclave, you must participate in the Conclave Safety meeting at 4 p.m. on Burn Night (Saturday) to receive a Conclave wristband. Both Conclave and Perimeter meetings will be at the Burn Field, by the Effigy.
We are looking for guardians of the perimeter – this is a powerful sacrifice, as your back will face the burning effigy in order to keep eyes and attention on the crowd to maintain their safe distance from the embers. You will also slowly, as approved, let the burners circle the effigy embers once it is safe to do so. Check the reProgram for the pre-burn meeting time & location!
LEAVE NO TRACE
LNT volunteers inform unknowing or inattentive participants of the LNT principle. These volunteers will also conduct MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) sweeps during the event to politely call out MOOPers, collect unattended MOOP, or gather folks to take care of their own MOOP as appropriate (one piece of trash? Perhaps pick it up yourself. An entire frontage that has been wind-blown with numerous fliers, cups, silverware, and what-nots about to be carried further along the burn road? Perhaps ask for a camp lead and see if you can get a group involved!).
LNT also needs volunteers that can stay after Summerisle ends to conduct all final MOOP sweeps and ensure that our impact on Fort Royale Farm is minimal.
Parking volunteers help organize the parking lot, direct participants into their spots, and help maintain an efficient flow of vehicles and people. Parking knows the lay of the land to direct cars, trailers, camps, and campers in the right direction. Volunteers make team leads (including Rangers) aware of any arrivals that require extra care in moving, trailer guidance, or any arrival situation that needs extra attention. Great way to be active, see new people as they arrive, and to be the second set of friendly faces to assist burners on the long road Home to Summerisle.
ART & ART PLACEMENT
The art team is in charge of reviewing and determining art grants in order to maximize the level of Amazingness that will be turning up on site, as well as where to place approved projects throughout the grounds. Some volunteers serve as liaisons to help funded artists navigate the grant process through to completion. The Art Grants team holds artists accountable for our community standards for safety, financial transparency and our broader values.
Sound Team is that friendly liaison that ensures sound camps are following Summerisle’s sound camp policy, allowing camps to radically express themselves while respecting others’ rights to do the same (and keeping neighbors of the property happy). Sound works with placement before the event to ensure our various sound camps are ideally placed and faced to not interfere. In the event a camp doesn’t cooperate with a sound team member’s warning about decibels the first time, team members on shift are authorized to shut down the equipment and involve rangers, if required. Why not volunteer to dance at your favorite sound camps while monitoring DB levels? Summerisle’s full sound policy is further below in this very document!