I’m sure the anticipation was already making everyone squirm, but the larger aspects of what have been happening in the last three months have had to do with the long-term viability of the organization. Since I joined the board three months ago, we’ve been working on several things to make sure that we can do this for a long time in the future.
- Burnt Oranges, Inc. now has an annual, general liability policy protecting our actions year-round
- Burnt Oranges board of directors, collectively and as individuals are now covered under Board of Directors Insurance
- Burnt Oranges events will continue to have an exemplary event-based liability policy allowing us to burn stuff, build stuff, and have fun
- We’re working with Lakeland-based Baylis CPA’s to ensure our financial future is handled correctly
- We’ve hired ADVOS Legal to act as our counsel pertaining to all manners of the operation of our corporation, events, and issues that arise in this sphere
While none of this is on the radar of someone participating in one of our hosted events, it’s extremely important for our overall safety and ability to continue to provide these efforts as a working board of volunteers.
In addition to that work, we’ve also completely restructured the Art Grant Process, written new documentation, forms, how-to’s and empowered the art grant committee to work with artists to ensure funding needs are met, instead of operating as a black box in which no feedback was given. I’d like to give a huge shout-out to Margaret “Meps” Schulte for reaching out to dozens of burner-led organizations to ensure we were doing it the right way.
Then a hurricane hit. Twice. I was on playa Harvey hit Texas, and as I was leaving playa, we learned of Irma’s path to Florida. By the time we returned to Florida the grocery store shelves were hit, gas pumps were empty, and we had little time to prepare. Luckily Lakeland, Florida wasn’t hit hard, but our surrounding communities in Florida were, and we’ve been working around the clock to provide relief efforts across the state and into the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and Mexico for the earthquake there. For those of you who don’t know what Burners Without Borders is, I’d urge you to find out a bit more and encourage you to participate in these efforts. From helping Grassroots Alliance set up a kitchen in Immokalee, Florida to starting an MRU (Mobile Response Unit) based “Florida Toolbox Project” to raise money for 20′ shipping containers and filling them with tools to take to the Florida Keys, we haven’t stopped since the Man Burned. The collective efforts of those involved have raised over $4000 for the project in very short time. Yesterday, we dropped off the first load of tools on Big Pine Key to assist with the long-term rebuilding efforts there.
So how does this relate to the community? Here’s how. If you don’t realize the scale and scope of the damage that’s been done to Florida, I’d encourage you to look around. The board of directors had decided to theme this event “Restoration” long before we know of the incoming storms. But now that they’ve hit, and we’re beyond the initial efforts of getting people into safety and ensuring water and medical supplies were in place, we’re focusing on the near term future. So we met twice as a board of directors, and collectively and unanimously decided on the following road map for this event, based on the Gift of the Ten Principles that was given to regional communities:
In the spirit of Immediacy,
we’d ask that you share your feelings on this journey of restoration throughout our community the best way that you know how. We’d ask that you help us hold space for those in the world right now in their pain and suffering from immeasurable loss, and we’d ask that you consider your time with us special, sacred, and contribute the best thing that you can to the experience – your undivided attention.
In the spirit of Participation,
we’d ask you remember “everyone is invited to work”. There will be communal projects to join, and efforts to be made together. We’d ask that if you intend to come for the party and be a spectator, that you’d consider sitting this one out.
in the spirit of Leaving No Trace,
we’re asking each member to be their own LNT team, and that those who wish to make a lasting contribution stay to do final moop sweeps and provide restoration services to the property, so that we might be asked to return again.
In the spirit of Civic Responsibility,
we’re asking each community member to go out into the world and do what needs to be done. There are dozens of concurrent efforts right now in our communities that you can become a part of. We’re asking that those who wish to magnify their efforts prepare their proposals for community micro-grants, which we’ll vote on together at AfterBurn: Restoration. Those which provide the most impact will be funded, and we’ll be writing checks on site for you to take home and make these things happen where you live.
In the spirit of Communal effort,
we’re asking those with experience lead us in the creation of a shared meal at the event. We’re asking those with artistic experience to put forward communal projects that all can share in, and approach us for requests for grant funding to enable them.
In the spirit of Radical Self Expression,
we’re asking that you choose which causes you support in this world, and share those with others that you encounter. As we learn from each other about those passions that are strong enough for us to cry out when they are threatened, we shall learn about each other.
In the spirit of Radical Self Reliance,
we’re asking that you tap into your inner resources to find your true gifts, and bring those to our event to share with others. Consider this event to be like “That Thing In The Desert” and we’re providing toilets. You’re burners, you’ll figure it out.
In the spirit of Decommodification
we’re asking that you spend what little money you may have left after hundreds of dollars in hurricane preparation and rebuilding, and just bring what’s necessary for you to Participate.
In the spirit of Radical Inclusion,
we’re asking that each of you invite someone from outside our community who shares your heart and spirit to join us at AfterBurn: Restoration.
And in the spirit of Gifting
we have decided collectively as the board of directors to offer this event at no ticket cost, with donations being accepted to cover the event cost per person, donations to relief efforts in the USA and abroad, and if you so choose, future art grant funds to be given to those in our community who wish to help rebuild.
We’re finishing up the ticketing and volunteer systems to ensure that when you sign up to participate, your efforts will be applied and recorded. We’re hoping to have Volunteer and Mandarin tickets on “sale” in the next 24 hours, with Participant tickets available 24 hours after that.
I’d invite you to read the Board of Director AfterBurn Statements that support this, here or on their personal pages.
Stay tuned for event-based directives from our Event Coordinators, RobL and Sally “Heathen” Smith. If you need to reach them, they’re monitoring the facebook group or email them [email protected] or [email protected] If you’re a previous volunteer, contact your lead. If you’re interested in volunteering, standby for sign-ups. If you’d like to put forward efforts into meal creation, programming for our center-camp-esque “Indaba” contact [email protected]
Important information: gates will open at 8AM on Friday, November 10th. We’re asking participants to be packed up and off property by dark on Sunday, November 12th. This is so we don’t impact our volunteers lives and they can get back to work. Next year will be better.
Stay tuned for ticketing information in the next 24-48 hours.
If you have immediate concerns about Burnt Oranges, please email [email protected] and we’ll all see it together.
We have a second art grant process that’s still open. We’re funding both grant applications we received in the past two weeks, and encourage everyone to apply. We’ll be putting up the program information for the Civic Grants this week and look forward to your contributions and efforts.
Thank you for being a true community. The things we’ve been seeing you do for your fellow humans are what initiated these decisions. We hope you’ll be there with us when we come together to celebrate your collective efforts.
With much respect and adoration,
Ben “Jamanai” Slayter