How to Become a Ranger

Black Rock Rangers Forums Alphas How to Become a Ranger

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    SF Bay Area

    Becoming a Ranger is a multi-step process that involves a training and a two-step evaluative mentor shift after your arrive on playa.

    Before the Event

    If you have not done so already, please review, “Becoming a Ranger,” which contains information on requirements, qualifications, and sign-up information.

    Until you have attended a training, you are considered a Prospective Ranger. Prospective Rangers attend an 8-hour training, where you will receive information about who Rangers are, what role they play in the Burning Man community, and how to best serve the community’s needs. You will refine conflict mediation skills and get updates on information specific and relevant to the particular year. Once you have attended a Ranger training, you are considered an Alpha Ranger. You are an Alpha until you go through a 6-hour mentoring process on the playa. Mentor shifts operate Sunday through Wednesday. Do not attempt to do your mentor shift immediately after arriving on the playa, but do try to complete it as early as possible in the week.

    The Day of Your Mentor Shift

    Show up 30 minutes early, well rested, sober, and fed, and bring everything you’ll need to walk 6 hours in the dirt (including a snack!). Sign in at Ranger HQ (located in Center Camp), check in with the Mentor Short, who will be in front of HQ, to get instructions on next steps, and hang out until the mentors call over the Alphas to begin the mentoring shift.

    Possible Outcomes of Your Mentor Shift

    Regardless of the outcome of your Mentoring shift, we really appreciate that you came out and gave Rangering a try.

    Outcome 1: You are invited to join the Rangers (“passed” your shift). You may receive some advice from your Mentors on things to work on during your shifts.

    Outcome 2: Your Mentors do not feel that you are a good fit for the Rangers, either for this year or in general (referred to as “bonked” in Ranger jargon). Your Mentors should explain what led them to this decision.

    Outcome 3: You realize, over the course of your Mentor shift, that the Rangers are not where you want to spend your volunteer time at Burning Man (sometimes called “self-bonking).

    If you pass, please take some time to sign up for shifts with Echelon at the HQ window. Also, please stick around: you will be gifted with your first Ranger shirt and hat and can also sign up for shifts with Echelon at the HQ window. You are also encouraged to attend the Rebar Ceremony (Thursday, 5 PM, at HQ), during which new Rangers are welcomed into the Ranger community.

    If you did not pass, remember that Ranger Mentors are instructed to not pass someone unless they are absolutely sure they’re a good fit and are ready to Ranger immediately.

    Your Ranger Mentor will explain to you why they made the decision that this wasn’t your year to join the Rangers. Feel free to ask them questions about your experience. Think about what your Mentors cited as reasons for being bonked (see glossary), and consider trying again next year. The skills that you learned in training very much translate into your life experience. Finally, enjoy your time in Black Rock City! There are lots of ways to volunteer and participate, and the experience of going to a Ranger training and walking with a Ranger mentor will add to those experiences.

    Tips For Your Mentor Shift

    • Always know where you are
    • Be friendly—but not invasive
    • Listen and think before you speak and act
    • Don’t be afraid of your radio!
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