10739

The Bestest Seed Theme Camp? KIDS CAMP!

by HAVOC!

In 2011 a Leeton local, Aurora Sparkles, attended a crazy new addition to the area called... Burning Seed. Back then the population of Red Earth City was still under 500 and Aurora had such a fantastic experience that she spread the word to her local friends. In 2012 another Leeton legend, Jo Roberts, formed the first “unofficial” theme camp specifically for families - Burning Seed Kids’ Camp 1.0 was born.

Aurora, Jo and Mel Browell had about 30 kids that first year, growing to 45 kids in 2013. By 2014 there were 50+ kids and in 2015 we had 63 registered children on site plus all the other kids that visit from other camps.

Burner Family

After 2014 our local legends and founding Mother Monsters retired from KC duties in order to have some grown-up fun. Transitioning leadership of a big camp is not for the faint hearted but family Burners are a special breed.

Last year we had 54 registered families living on site. Kids Camp is a camp with special needs in terms of the relatively high proportion of dependents; imagine if half your camp couldn’t be Radically Self-Reliant (not just that one guy... you know who you are/he is).

So our operational model, while challenging, works really well and is always being refined. Having the support and strong relationships with past Camp leaders means KC is going to be better than ever this year as Bonnie Roppola takes the reigns.

So what happens at Kids’ Camp? SO MUCH FUN! We have a dedicated art tent, a baby and infant marquee, a mess tent that feeds everyone dinner every night, a movie tent and a shaded outdoor space and for the second time running a kids’ only loo. Last year my five year old started the Kids’ Café where they gifted breakfast to each other and passers by (cutest thing ever and a welcome self-reliance exercise for kids with tired parents).

Safe and Inclusive

Kids’ Camp is a reminder that Burning is not just about partying. For families to share the opportunity of a reprieve from the default mode; to see adults playing like children, to meet people of like mind from all sorts of places and socio-economic backgrounds, to focus on creativity and individual self-expression and look after each other outside of institutional models is a precious and rare thing. Kids’ Camp is Inclusion.

Not everywhere at a Burn is suitable for children but Burner parents get to expose their kids to as much or as little of the carnival as they wish to, without judgement. However, children need a safe place with clear boundaries; one they recognise as consistent and not too challenging. At Kids’ Camp we provide this safe place, where the environment is just adventurous enough to be exciting without pushing into causing them to feel insecure. They know where their friends live and can run around our lovely site freely. Our gift is to build and manage it with them in mind.

Kids’ Camp has no nudity, drugs or smoking. These boundaries are of course open to challenge on the Principle of Radical Self-Expression, yes, but as a tribe we have to allow for parents who may have boundaries that require a greater restraint, co-parenting arrangements for example. On the basis of Inclusion these things are non-negotiable on KC site.

KC Families are fiercely collaborative but this is not a drop and run zone; your children must be supervised by you or a guardian you have organized at all times. Leaving a child anywhere at Burning Seed without making adequate arrangements is taken very seriously and Rangers will be informed if a parent cannot be located in a reasonable amount of time.

Deep Space Cadets

So what’s new this year for Deep Space? Improved site management; families don’t travel light and everyone tends to bring the big rig so our population has reached critical mass. Kids’ Camp: Deep Space Cadets will be a child-centric activity world with camping encouraged for new families, sole parents and crew but there is still room for others on our fancy new grid system. We are designing an observatory and hopefully a water feature!

What we do know is it is time for more family theme camps to spring up; last year kids tickets represented roughly 6% of the population. The teens and tweens are not technically allowed to roam, so we need people to help create awesome things to occupy them. We encourage everyone at Red Earth City to think of ways of including kids in their own offerings and to let us know early so we can get it in the Junior Burner Guide. Registrations open soon! Now let’s hear from the kids…

"I like kids cafe. I also like the workshops and seeing old friends from the years before. I also like the art, like painting." Caitlin, 7

"My favourite thing about Burning Seed Kids Camp are the workshops and the grownups spending their time with the kids doing fun stuff. " Tegan, 9

To get in touch please email kidscampburningseed@gmail.com or visit us on Facebook 
You can also support our Kids Camp fundraising efforts by grabbing some of our awesome merchandise.

Kids Camp

Kids Camp

Kids Camp

Kids Camp

10629

Burner Journeys: Lessons from KiwiBurn

By Miss M.

We came well prepared. 3 of us. 

Mr. B - a many time Burning Man voyager, USA and Africa – a kiwi living in London for the last 20 years, home on holiday, first Kiwiburn, with 20 years of European festivals under his belt. You probably saw him, a cheeky grin and a conversation for everyone. (A committed remover of MOOP who taught me that MOOP belongs to whomever sees it first)

Mr. C - a well-travelled and adventured kiwi living in NZ who had been to both Burning Man and AfrikaBurn, once each. A gentle bear who quietly helped each camp manage their sound emissions (when he was allowed). 

And me. Miss M. Lifelong Londoner. Raver. Dancer. Well educated city-kid who grew up in a hippy home. I had been to Burning man once, with B. and moved here 2 years ago to live with C.

In 2007, Burning Man changed my view on the possibilities of the ways of the world. Which is quite something to do to a Londoner. I don’t drink alcohol and yet still it took me almost the whole week just to be able to go to bars (with my own cup) and ask for water. And the warmth and generosity of all and each that I encountered blew me away.

Growing up in that hippy home I was taught to share all I had with friends. But growing up in London your circle was precisely defined. Friends yes, strangers – don’t even make eye contact. An education like that is hard to shake.

At Burning Man everyone was friends. Friends you already knew, and friends you had yet to meet. I never knew the like. Every one talked and laughed and offered what they had. People stopped each other in the street/path/playa and said “You look hot, let me give you some water? Some sun screen? Come rest in our shade for a while…”. Or “You look hungry, do you want half of my pizza? Do you want to give this one to someone else?”. Gifting the gift of gifting. Ripples of love.

And the outfits, the costumes, the inventions and the gifts. BM is not a bartering system as its sometimes reputed to be. It’s just gifts. A rainbow of colours, creation, conversation, generosity and inspiration all around us. Art all over the playa. People all over the art. And everybody talking, sharing, dancing and laughing. Amazing. It changed my view of how the world could be. We all have enough. We could all share. And what a world that could be.

I took that knowledge back to London with me and it shaped the years to come. It opened paths and doors and created many new relationships; started when I would talk to strangers just like the Burners talked to me.

And then I moved to New Zealand. Bringing my London sass and stride. Ready to meet a new community. Ready to work and dance and live and laugh. Only to find that the world here was a different place. Even at parties or festivals. I don’t know why. But people are shy. Or perhaps they think I’m mad for talking to them when I don’t know them. Hard to say. They don’t invite strangers in to a conversation. Or their hearts or homes or lives as we did back home. As we did to the many travellers we found along the way. And a part of me felt sad and wished for home.

Then I found out about Kiwiburn and thought, “Well here we go. This should be different”.

(I guess?) So I got tickets, signed up for a shift, volunteered my services to find a way to contribute, collected my boys and off we went. And it was different. In every way.

The Artery was my first port of call. I volunteered for a shift and had a ball. (Erin you are amazing).

Thursday morning we made food to share for the communal breakfast, and almost gave it all away just walking down the hill, people delighted but surprised it seemed. When we arrived we saw that lots of people eating, but not so many brought things to share, at least not that we could see. The lovely lady in the kitchen came out and gave me a hug for bringing my plate. I was touched, but also surprised that it seemed to surprise her.

And I guess that’s what I saw and learned at this, my first year. Some people really got it. The kids who made grilled sandwiches under a tree one day and gave them out to passers-by. The arse-gallery circle in the woods. The Mint Country Club. The Artery. The clothes swapping line. The pizza posse in the upper field. Those who shared drinks with strangers. Those who put on parties in their camps. Those who electrified nipples and those who slapped bottoms. Those who set up swinging bar doors and those who provided a dancing pole. Those who dressed and Art-ed and laughed and danced and shared. Those that built the community and those that dismantled it. You all rocked the festival. I salute each and every one of you.

And to those who were shy and just starting out, who kept themselves to themselves a little more, getting an idea of how things might be – I’d just like to say: look around, pick what you liked best and bring it back next year, in your own way. 

Mr C wondered if we might organise ourselves a little better next year. Given the ratio of infra-structure to participants (lots: not so many), perhaps we could time table the parties not to clash so that there are enough party-goers to create a crowd at each one – Mad Max(ine) where did you go?

Mr B commented that when he first went to AfrikaBurn it was 23.8% dressed up and now its 90%. (Look at the pictures on the Kiwiburn page and get inspired). These things take time. Community takes time to grow. Especially from small seeds. Community comes from sharing and welcoming. It’s a little different from standard Auckland (where I live - you know, the white wine and high-heels posse). But its 100% Burner. Let’s dial it up. 

It was great. And we can do better still. We need to spread the ethos of participation, inclusion and community on the Paddock still wider. Burns are what you make them. Burns are what you bring. Burns are what you share. Burns are what you wear. Dress up. Talk to strangers. Pass what you have in your pocket to whomever is standing next to you. Treat the paddock like one big family. And so it will be. It’s not just up to the camps. It’s up to each one of us. 

We came well prepared. 3 of us. Water, sunscreen, food and shade to eat and share. Outfits outfits and more outfits. And we laughed and danced and talked and shared. And we were welcomed. And I found the people I have missed these last 2 years. The global tribe. Thank you Kiwiburn. Mr B, Mr C and I cannot wait to see you all there next year.

Go check out KiwiBurn.

KiwiBurn 2016

KiwiBurn 2016

KiwiBurn

KiwiBurn Art Grants Committee Member Rohana Weaver

www.ilovephotography.de

KiwiBurn 2016... Photo: www.ilovephotography.de

 

www.ilovephotography.de

KiwiBurn 2016...Photo: www.ilovephotography.de