Volunteering: Greeters

Despite the focus on tickets seemingly by the entire Burning Man community, we here at Sunrise Burners will continue to provide information on the 2012 burn for people 50 and over.  To read the latest on the ticket issue, we suggest you check on the Burning Blog at http://bit.ly/wuXalo.

Another great volunteer opportunity that I strongly recommend is taking a Greeter shift.  There’s nothing quite like standing at the gate and welcoming new and returning people to Burning Man with the words “Welcome Home.”  The look of excitement in their eyes as they arrive at the iconic festival is energizing.

However, your job as a Greeter is far more than just the welcome.  There’s important information that you’ll be trained to deliver – including warnings about driving too fast between the gate and your campsite (yes, you will be ticketed by BLM Rangers for speeding), instructions about the Leave No Trace principles and reminders to stay hydrated.  Greeters are also responsible for handing out the festival guide that lists almost all of the 24/7 activities scheduled to take place during the week.

One way to arrive in style on the Playa

The best job as a Greeter is welcoming first-timers – “virgin burners.”  Every virgin burner has to ring the virgin bell and declare themselves “not a virgin” anymore.  Typically, Greeters also ask the virgins to make some kind of sacrifice to the playa – such as making dust angels on the playa surface.  I like to tell them that they’re becoming one with the playa at that moment.

Some virgins – especially those from out of the country – might be asked to sing their national anthem.  It’s the gentlest of hazing, and it’s a Burning Man tradition.

What’s physically required of a Greeter is your ability to stand up for a long shift (usually three or four hours), and use your voice.  As a Greeter, you’re encouraged to wear playa finery so the newcomers get the right impression of the fun and whimsy of the event.  One day a week is usually “naked Greeters day,” so you want to check your shift carefully if you prefer to be clothed.

To find out more about Greeters and Greeters Camp, contact toplessdeb@gmail.com.

More volunteer ideas to come, but I also want to encourage our experienced readers to send their own ideas in so we can publish a broader array of volunteer opportunities.

As always, thanks for visiting Sunrise Burners.  See you on the playa.