What you need to know
Everything you need to know to make up your mind as to whether we're the right camp for you.
What you need to know
READ THIS IF...
...you want to camp with us this year. Grab a cuppa tea, make yourself comfy and take the time to read through and absorb all this, it's a lot to digest, particularly if you are a virgin, but we hope it's useful in helping you figure out if we're the right camp for you.
Few hard and fast rules. We aim to operate as a family (of approx 40), not as a random assortment of strangers. However, some things are non-negotiable to make sure we're a thriving, happy family. Read on.
Family. We’re a pretty organized camp and most things are managed with the group in mind (all water, food, costs, infrastructure, logistics, etc) because that’s what families do – if you’re doing something...you don’t just do it for yourself, you do if for everyone.
Shared responsibility. And, like a family, we don’t worry about who did what or ate what or used what or took what. We all look after each other, we all help together, we all share together, we all work together and we all laugh together.
Who's in charge? Naturally, there are some key organizers who put in a lot of work to bring the camp to the Playa. There are also others who step up to extra responsibilities during the week to ensure our whole camp runs efficiently. If you have a strength or something you're passionate about getting involved in, please raise your hand.
See what's wanted and needed. And do it. In other words you don't need to ask for permission to fix something, clean something, put something away etc. Simply just do it and know that your contributions will be appreciated, even if we never find out it was you. You’ll may also see some folks not camping with us who will visit and help out. Lucky us. And to also help with clarity around roles and responsibilities, we have a roster system to ensure that the work is spread evenly.
What's included? We provide all food, drink, water, infrastructure, bad jokes etc. However, it's really important to note that we absolutely are not a "full-service, plug 'n' play camp". We make no money off our camp mates, nor do we do everything for you. We expect everyone to participate in our camp throughout the week. And we also expect you participate in having a lot of fun outside the camp as well.
How does it work? We share the costs evenly through the dues we raise and we all pitch in to build and run the camp during the week. We have an effective roster system to help you structure your week, although we find that camp life is such that even when not rostered on, you'll find yourself wanting to pitch in. Some camp members feel called to contribute a little bit more money to help defray unexpected infrastructure costs or to help out any low-income camp mates: this is encouraged but not mandated obviously...it's left entirely to your individual discretion.
Set up crew. We have a crew of about 10 who arrive 4-7 days early to help set up the camp. These hardy souls are handpicked, however we're always looking for strong, resourceful, resilient volunteers to help us. Please reach out to see if there are spots available.
Hard work. If you're lucky to join the set up crew, you should know this is hot, dusty, tiring, deeply satisfying and often frustrating work. Things go wrong, they break, storms swirl up and wreck 2 days of great work etc etc. You need to be resilient, keep a sense of humor and be willing to not sleep too much in those first few days. You should also be willing to be utterly feted, celebrated, loved and appreciated by all other camp mates who swan in with their perfectly manicured nails after the gates open.
So will the camp be finished when I arrive? Every year we plan on having the camp finished by the time everyone starts arriving on Sunday. And while our systems are getting more streamlined and efficient, shit happens and some years we're not quite done by the time gates open.
Say whaaat? This means if you arrive on Sunday and we're not done, you'll be expected to jump straight in and make sure everyone has a place to sleep that night, something to eat and drink, and that we're many steps closer to having the bakery both functional and looking beautiful by the time Tuesday comes around. And it might mean working all day Monday as well. Heck in 2014 we were still working on Tuesday, thanks to the Monday mud-fest.
Meeting and greeting. Please, please, please ensure you’ve arrived at camp no later than Monday afternoon when we have our first camp meeting. This is an essential requirement as it's your chance to meet everyone, learn about the camp, how things work (shower, water, meals, bakery etc) and check out the final roster of when you'll be working during the week.
We'll have our first camp meal together that night as well...a meal of celebration and welcome. We'll let the champagne pour and then set out onto the Playa and embrace its magic.
If you can't be there on Monday, you'll need to hook up with your camp buddy (we'll tell you who closer to the time) so you can get the lowdown on all the high points of our camp.
End of the week. Then on Sunday afternoon after the final bake we have one last meeting to talk about how and when we break down the camp (all day Monday til we're done, please plan your exit for Tuesday am). This is another critical and mandatory meeting where full attendance is requested please! Don't worry, Pink Mammoth will still be pumping after we're done.
Yurts. We're proud of the collection of yurts we've built over the years. Each one is owned by a past or current camp mate. Some of our campers don't make it every year and so we often have a few to rent out (to cover annual upkeep costs). Do ask before you make other arrangements, we like to make sure they're fully used. They keep you cool during the day, warm at night. AND they act as an extremely effective wind/dust break for the camp, which keeps the entire camp very comfortable. So much so you might find you never want to leave. Yes, that happens sometimes!
Building yurts. We do try and build as many yurts during set up as possible. However we also embrace the principle of Radical Self Reliance: so don’t arrive expecting to have it all built for you. Each yurt takes a good couple of hours to build. There will be lots of people to help if you don’t know how, with one or two experts helping to lead the way.
Ice tents. Last year we experimented with ice tents for the first time and as a result we have a number of these spare, which we will gladly rent out for a nominal sum (to cover cost overruns from purchasing last year). And - happy news - this year they will have a shade cloth over them to keep them cooler in the mornings.
Tents. Yes we have space for tents...but not those mega, huge, giant things. We purposely keep our footprint small to ensure we keep getting a great position each year, which is why we have invested so much time and energy into creating so many yurts. As noted, our preference is to rent out a yurt/ice tent to manage our space more efficiently (and make your arrival easier). Also we will happily sell one directly at cost to you, particularly if you're planning on camping with us again. We'll store it too in one of our containers.
RVs. In the past we've allowed a one or two RVs to camp with us.. However we have consistently found that this creates an unintentional separation in our camp. We love our family vibe and want to do things that promote that, rather than detract from it. The other accommodation options we have are actually more comfortable than an RV and you'll feel much more connected to our camp.
If you do insist on bringing an RV and want to be part of our camp, you can park close by and 'commute'. We can put you in touch with camp members who chose to do this each year.
Bedding. We have sheets, towels, inflatable mattresses, doonas etc. No need to bring your own.
Costs. To help offset the cost of bedding and accommodation all new campers who want to take advantage of these options will pay a small 'rental' fee. Still much cheaper than buying your own and helps to reduce unnecessary waste..
Still interested? Keep on reading here: BAKERY OPERATIONS AND CAMP LIFE.