While many of us are daydreaming about what our next adventure home will bring us, I’m over here envisioning our fantastical village at work… the volunteers burning in the parking lots to show cars where to go; rangers burning as they stroll around offering help to their fellow participants; DPW burning as they swing hammers and yell “get off my lawn” to the same hippies that they so lovingly embrace in the next moment; gate volunteers burning as they accept your bribes and give you your wristband (after making you sweat a little for it, of course); greeters burning with hoots, hollers, and hugs that we all made it home safe; and the countless others volunteering to burn and burning to volunteer. In my misty eyes, I remember why I feel so strongly about volunteering- it’s because I feel so strongly about burning. To me, volunteering is burning. In these exciting times pre-event, as Mosaic’s volunteer coordinator, it is easy to get caught up in the blank spaces of our volunteer shift schedules… but then I get reminded to think about why I love volunteering and what volunteering at burns has given to me. I remember that this community provides, and I am forever grateful that I get an opportunity to provide to it.
I truly believe that the glory behind volunteering is that it encompasses the 10 principles- the essence and architecture of our community- in one single time-structured act. Volunteerism is encouraged for all to enjoy. For most volunteer shifts, no prerequisites exist, all are included and welcome. Volunteerism is a gift of time to our entire community. We gift this time not because we expect something in return, but because we know that our time and energy are two of the most precious things one can give, and we get to offer them to everyone all at once. We take pride that no volunteer is ever paid. Down to the last event organizer, everyone purchases a ticket to the event. This includes the folks that volunteer their time year-round to ensure that our home remains compliant with the default world, ensuring that we can return to our family reunion each year. During volunteer shifts we might find ourselves in inclement weather, awkward moments, or entirely new atmospheres; we find that we must rely on our own resources, both mental and physical, to accomplish a valuable task. Every single volunteer adds their flavor to their immediate atmosphere, something that only that individual can express to that role. Volunteering is such an easy way to participate in our community- to get to know and grow ourselves and others around us, to be an active member of the village in which we are participating and sustaining. Without volunteers, we would leave our home a MOOP (Matter Out of Place) pile. From the year-round organizers to the graveyard shift rangers, the greeters who welcome you, the individuals in bunker gear, the artists that create our effigy centerpiece, and the parking shift guides keeping us safe, we are all burning as we fulfill our tasks. We are volunteering to sustain the burn, to build it, to give it fuel… and at the end, we clean it up to start anew.
But what volunteering truly gives to me is a place to be of service. You can probably all relate to that feeling… if you have something about yourself that you value, you wish to share it with the people you love. Musicians share their compositions, medics share their first aid skills, level heads share their mediation techniques, fire performers dazzle your eyeballs, programmers delight your senses with audio-visual splendors, chefs share their skill for flavor and texture pairing, and so on it goes for every talent in our community. The world can be an awkward place to share your talents sometimes, but I assure you, volunteering will always be a welcome canvas. If it wasn’t for volunteer coordination, I’d be on the sidewall at the back of the furthest dome wondering how it felt to do the things everyone seemed to be enjoying. I found a place to use my talent, in volunteering I found how to burn. When it feels this good to find something like that, it’s hard not to share it. It’s hard not to dance and shout and holler that everyone should volunteer because it’s amazing what you can get from it and it’s amazing what you can miss if you look at it as a chore or a sacrifice. Not to mention the food, snacks, swag, hugs, and appreciation bombs that Mosaic is growing to provide its volunteers… yeah, those are pretty sweet too!
To find out how you can volunteer or sign up to do so here: Volunteer Sign Ups. And feel free to email me, redbird, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or feedback.
On-site we have a Volunteer Hub that is located inside of Atomic Chocolate again this year so once you’ve unpacked your gear, come see us during the day to find out where you can volunteer, what shifts you signed up for (you may have forgot, but we got you), and to get some good ol’ volunteer appreciation! And to the countless volunteers burning for countless hours to make Mosaic the home we long to return to, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. While I am awestruck by the art and activities that a burn facilitates, it is the efforts of our volunteers that fill me with the inspiration to continue believing that our community can affect the change we wish to see in the world.
Hi everyone! I’m redbird and was on the ground floor of Mosaic Experiment in 2013. I fell into the Volunteer Coordinator position because it was the position that made the most sense to me as it matched my available skill set… but then I just fell head over heels with the people I met by holding the position. In my three years with the Mosaic organization I have learned more about myself, my community, and my intentions to live the life that is important to me than all of my life’s years combined. Mosaic is my home because I truly grew up here. Also, I think farts are hilarious.