Gate Volunteer Coordinator

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Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby TheMadHatter » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:00 pm

So a good suggestion was brought up during the PC meeting and I want to bring it up here for further discussion.

The Background
We are talking about closing the gate between 2am and 10am each night. During this time we will be hiring either the vets or an outside agency to manage the gates, close up shop and to turn anyone away who shows up during that time.

The idea of personalized volunteer recruiting came up. this means that a single person would be responsible for gathering enough people to manage the gate for 1 night and would be responsible for those people if they do not. They would gather people who they were friends with and felt confident that they would show up for their shift, on time and in the right frame of mind.

I believe if we could manage something like this, the need to hire gate personal in the spring would not be needed, and if a success, we could keep Ticketing open longer during future events.

So this is what I would need to make this work for spring, with Ticketing being closed during the wee hours like was the case with this past fall.

4 Shift Coordinators for Front Gate (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
4 Shift Coordinator for Back gate (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday).

Each coordinator would be responsible for keeping a minimum of 2 people at their perspective gate from 2am - 10am Thursday and Friday, and 10pm (after the pony/art burn) - 10am Saturday and Sunday. You would be fully responsible for the gates and be forced to work the gates yourself if your volunteers do not show up. You would be able to manage the hours however you want (2 hour shifts, 3 hour shifts, 8 hours shifts, whatever).

If we could get these 8 people (or 4 people if you think you can handle back and front gate yourself) I would put in a request to the PC/BOD for reserved tickets for these coordinator positions under the gate reserved tickets. You would get a radio to communicate with your gates throughout the night and I would budget for some sort of schwag for you and your Late Night crew.

So, who would be interest in this for the sake of keeping paid volunteers out of PDF, as well as longer Ticketing hours?
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby kjfreebern » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:41 am

Hi everybody,

First of all, I have to say I am sorry because this is so very long and I have only just even gotten on this page today and so far it makes no sense to me because I am kindof dumb about computers, so there may be, like, a better place or way for me to post this but I just don't know yet. So I'm posting it here.

I could absolutely take a night / keep a gate covered with reliable friends - preferably Saturday or Sunday. I think personal accountability is the way to go. On that note, I won't know if I can have the spring off from work until maybe a month ahead of time.

Other thoughts I had about this:
I think the main issues here are that 1. People just suck more and more as time goes by. The world is clearly going to hell in a handbasket - and 2. Greeting is totally not a "fun" or "cool" volunteer job. (I use quotes to imply that some people may see it that way; I myself enjoy it very much, but I'm fairly socially awkward and prefer calm to a party any day.) Greeting is, honestly, less like playing and more like actual work and you have to have actual character to choose to do work at a "giant party", which is what PDF is to a lot of people there.

Rangering, however, is kinda like playing a game where you get to feel important and you get a walkie and you get a code name and you get to be *in* the event and actively connected to changing group of people for your entire shift, not to mention being in on the drama and fun of the secret Rangery stuff that only Rangers know (i.e., I have to walk really fast to this place but I can't tell you why because you are a civilian so laterz! Or, OMG a girl took a shit in Whiskey and Whores?! OMGOMG!) I mean, am I correct in thinking that there has been a surplus of rangers lately, like it's the "cool" way to volunteer? And no wonder; Rangers are mad hot. I have personally... nevermind. ;)

Could we possibly do a "Greeter training" that is as entertaining as the popular Ranger training is, and maybe use it to convey that manning the gate is of vital importance to our event and is equally awesome? Or, how can we make it equally awesome? Could we possibly put some real thought into what it would take (psychologically) to get people to really want to work the gates, and then maybe when you say "shwag" it could mean maybe actually something that makes people feel valued for being a greeter? (I always sort of feel like "shwag" implies plastic crap, like what people give out on st.paddy's day at the pub.. not that plastic crap doesn't have its place, but...)

Also, I love greeting from 2-8 am, anywhere in there. Maybe we can find out what those of us who enjoy that love about it and try to promote those things? What has made greeting so awesome for me in the past is that it was a way to be connected to people but not overwhelmed by them; on a good night, it's a little breakfast club-y, with a side of bacon and beer and occasional... well, it's a burn. You've got the random mix of greeters, and the constant flow of the super hot rangers and the revelers and the... Cameron. ;) And you've got a little bit of clout, because you are volunteering, so you can lord your power over people to get them to bring you things, or give you a backrub, or just stay to keep you company. What has made greeting absolutely SUCK for me has been when those things are lacking; the nights that I am alone for my entire shift except for momentary visits from fairly unfriendly and self-important (although still hot, wtf) Rangers, or when the people for the next three shifts after mine don't show and I end up roping someone who already volunteers half their event into working at 10 am so I can go sleep for an hour; the nights when I just sit there feeling like I am missing the event, or like the event is maybe missing itself because all the people I talk to have no idea about the ten principles or volunteering or huh? This is a what-now? I thought it was a rave.

Thanks for reading.

Love,
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby fritz » Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:24 pm

Reads to me like KJ 'gets it'...awesome!
"and the...Cameron" Yep, nothing quite says "Well, it's a Burn" like a 4am visit by a curly-headed man with a 5-gallon soda keg. {Drink Cheerwine}
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby niftyness » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:04 am

I say we just cancel the whole thing. It's turning into an unsavory scenario. Perhaps the "participants" don't know what it means to be a burner..?

Don't we make sure that an experienced member is on each greeter shift so they can show the newbies what to do? It's not that friggin' complicated. Be nice, check tix, IDs, and wristbands... How/Why has it gotten so complicated? I'm sorry but it's not like work at all. It's a happy, simple task. AND there is usually candy. Why don't the friggin' rangers step in when a greeter shift is sparse? They are already dedicated to the success of the event. I did a late night greeter shift my very first year and it was AWESOME. Granted, my campmates were super enthusiastic about it, but why shouldn't we be? NEW PEOPLE ARE ARRIVING AND IT'S EXCITING! You get to be all "WELCOME HOME!!!" and sh*t.. ;)

Also - I'd love to be a "dedicated experienced volunteer" but the truth of the matter is I'm like.. three thousand miles away and there is no guarantee that I'll even make it out to PDF each season.. Almost always a last minute thing. Nonetheless, I still love the place. It will always be my home and I want to see it do well.

I missed the meeting, but I'll be in town ( back east ) over the holidays. Hit me up for some idea jams or something.. Currently working with IgnitionNW on some communication initiatives- They never have a shortage of volunteers.

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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby karnak » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:28 pm

Here is what I thought that Smartie Martie said - and that I thought sounded like a great idea

the GOD / Shift Lead over each night assembles his or her own team to cover the shifts - no shwag - no bells - we use communication and personal relationships to cover needed shifts

that way if we do need someone - we have them - and the late shifts are no longer as lonely - I'm SURE there are 4 people (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday) that can find 10 friends to cover this

Official or unoffical - I think Martie's idea is awesome - she has claimed Thursday - myself and my camp (Camp Fuck you I'm a Wizard) have called Friday

we just need TWO more people - to make this work - and I'm sure we can find them in the 191 days till the next PDF
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby DamnOnion » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:44 pm

Something I thought might be fun is if we could get a theme camp each night to adopt or sponsor the over night shift. Ideally this would also include contributing members of their respective camps as volunteers, but more importantly, the camp that was sponsoring that night would take it upon themselves to come up with fun activities to amuse and include the volunteers out pulling gate shifts.

You could even put it in the WWW as a way to build some excitement. I would be more inclined to pull an over night if I could say to myself, "Oh, Hey, Camp Justice League is hosting the overnight shift Thursday Night, I bet that will be fun. I'm gonna pack my Batman costume and greet that night." The more fun and inclusive we can make greeting, the better time the greeters will have, the easier it will be to get people to greet. You can't have debauchery at the gate per se, but there is still I lot we could do to make those shifts more fun, and the more we can distribute the effort to come up with ways to make it fun, the easier it will be to accomplish.
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby TheMadHatter » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:36 pm

@karnak,

Yea, Smarty mentioned she would take it upon herself to do that, but I do not want that to be a function or a requirement of the GODs. Which is why I am suggestion another "shift" that falls under the realm of the Gate crew.

This would only replace the hiring of gate keepers as well. I think it makes a lot of sense to not have Ticketing open 24/7, especially considering the need to have people all the way at the front of the parking lot, more often than not by themselves, during those hours. However, if this is something that worked out, I see no reason to reduce the hours further like I planned for spring.

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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby smartie martie » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:30 am

TheMadHatter wrote:@karnak,

Yea, Smarty mentioned she would take it upon herself to do that, but I do not want that to be a function or a requirement of the GODs. Which is why I am suggestion another "shift" that falls under the realm of the Gate crew.


@Hatter

Why create more shifts for people not to cover for, Hatter?

Is it not an emergency during late night/early morning 12A-7A for the Greeter of the Day to find volunteers for the gate, parking or greeters?

Hatter would you like me to wake you up, so you can go find me some volunteers for the gate? I really don't think you do, especially since I know you just went to bed and your sweetie probably wants some cuddle time with you.

For the past several PDF's Spring 09, 10,11, Fall 09,10, I would go to the volunteer coordinator and ask for her to find volunteers, but she could not find people, or was sleeping or some other excuse, whatever her reason.

So the most recent fall PDF 11, I took the bypass ie: I took it upon myself to look at the sign up boards, see where the holes were the schedule and then I found people along the night to help out. There were many awesome people, who did show up and the not so awesome people who did not show up. If a person volunteers up at the gate,greeters, or parking enough times he or she will know who shows up or not for shifts.
Last edited by smartie martie on Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby TheMadHatter » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:58 am

I understand what you are saying. But the GOD shift is not responsible for getting people to volunteer, even though it has somewhat happened that way over the past few years due to the issues. The GODs main and only job should be handling emergency situations that cannot be handled by the shift leads. They are there really to be a buffer between the gate and the Coordinators.

With that said, I certainly don't see any reason why someone couldn't take on the above task of finding volunteers AND be a GOD during those hours. If someone wants to take that on I have no issue with it at all, I just don't want it to be a requirement of the GOD job.

I think the issue of Part Station not being able to find volunteers is another issue entirely, truth is the function of the volunteers at part station is not really clearly defined, nor carried out. That's something we might need to bring up to our new volunteer coordinator.
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby AndyWing » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:16 pm

Wow Kelly! A bunch of things to discuss here. To address each of these in turn:

- Greeting used to be looked on as fun and cool. I'm not sure what has changed over the
past few years in this regard. We've gone through volunteerism droughts in the past
and had to reenergize ourselves with publicity, call outs, etc.

- Greeter training/instruction has been done mostly via emailed guides or simply pointing
people to the printed books at the gate(s). In person would certainly work better, but
requires more turnover than we usually do now. I don't know how many would actually
show for a greeter/parking/ticketing session in the pavilion the way have numerous
people showing for Ranger training.

- I like playing off the idea of tapping friends/mini-networks to ensure coverage. We
could experiment with the idea of making leads responsible for filling shifts in
advance in return for reserve tickets (of future reserve tickets.)

- Many other regional events close their gates for after hours and their respective
communities simply deal with it. No big deal at Lakes of Fire. PDF attendees
have been spoiled in this regard. If we can't fill overnight consistently, we
close. No big deal. Only a few folks turn up at those times anyway (per Ben's
check in stats in the ticket system.)
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby kjfreebern » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:25 pm

Okay - I am not opposed to closing the gates in the wee hours of the nights. I have difficulty accepting change, but now that I am done pouting and whining about it, it actually seems natural and entirely beneficial to close the gates over night. If I am not working from 2-6 am, perhaps (*gasp!*) I may actually participate some of that time, or participate more the following day because I won't be overtired.

I have asked my friends who attend PDF to suggest ways to make greeting more appealing, and a couple people have mentioned the idea that DamnOnion talked about up there, that we could try to get theme camps to adopt the gates for a night or have the gates host events in order to make greeting more a part of the whole thing.

I am glad there is discussion happening about these things.:)

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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby Melody Shatto » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:30 am

I think that each different department should be recruiting their own volunteers like BRC and not have just one person as vol. coordinator (having one person may have been fine years back, but now it's just too many people for one person to realistically manage) Regarding the part. station, I'd like to see that go more to a "Playa info" station like BRC does and have the gate/parking vol. signups at the gate and not part station.
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby TheMadHatter » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:48 am

We are budgeting for a new Ticketing computer for the spring. The computer we currently have is.. going the way of the dinosaur to be perfectly honest. After doing some research and pointed in the right direction by Ben. We found that we can get a toughbook on ebay for between 300-500 dollars.

I was thinking of a way of making our volunteer schedule more interactive by having a computer and large monitor at each station (Parking, Greeters, Ticketing and Part Station) so people can sign up at any location. I'm now thinking that maybe I was thinking too big, and rather than the large touch screen monitor approach, maybe I can scale down that idea and budget for an additional 4 tough book laptops and have them at each station.

We could attach each of these computers to a private wireless network so they can all communicate with each other and I would write software that would allow people to both sign up for shifts, and check in/out of shifts. The result would be a clear idea of where are need is, who isn't showing up for shifts, and will make it easier for participants to sign up for a shift no matter where they are.

The total cost of this project would be somewhere in the 2000.00 - 2500.00 range once we factor in 4 computers and wireless weatherproof network.

My sole question is: Do we think such an endeavor would improve things? If we think something like this would make a big enough impact at the event then I totally think it would be worth it and I would enjoy creating it. If not, then I'll back burner it.
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby Shelly » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:09 pm

I don't know Hatter, I'm starting to trend toward the cynical.

People knew the consequences of lack of volunteerism when we shut down ticketing overnight. It didn't matter, volunteerism didn't improve, and from my perspective it declined (I don't have the numbers to prove that).

What bigger consequences are there, than closing the gate to new entry, or shutting down one of the two burns?

I'd hate to see the money spent on something, just to test it out, and find out after the first burn that it didn't work.

Unfortunately, I'm not seeing many other solutions either.
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby TheMadHatter » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:57 pm

I'm pretty cynical too. But I know Marty and have worked on and relied on her and if she says she can get it done, she can get it done. Karnak I know but I've not worked with a lot before, but from what I know same goes for him . So I'm looking to them to really put this all together. If we have to hire people for Saturday and Sunday and not Thursday, Friday. I'm cool with that.

I am, however, sticking to my guns about reduced ticketing hours. It's not JUST lack of volunteering, it also has to do with people stuck in the middle of the back parking lot at 4,5,6am by themselves. I just don't feel like it's really safe or fun and to put someone in that position for the less than 100 people who show up after 2am just doesn't seem to make sense. Besides, many other burns are only open 10am - midnight and don't seem to have to many issues, so I think once people get used to it, it will be a complete non issue.

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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby dinah » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:27 pm

i would just like to point out that i love that shelly's post says "i'm cynical" right next to her avie of Pollyanna! :D
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby Shelly » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:48 pm

Wait...wait...I think what I said was "I'm trending towards being cynical"

This is a big deal for me!

(thanks for the best laugh I've had all day!)
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Re: Gate Volunteer Coordinator

Postby niftyness » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:43 am

Been thinking..

We don't really need to create more "responsibility positions"

We must simply promote volunteering in a positive fashion and be sure to pair up seasoned burners with the newbs... a one to three ratio would work -- As long as one "professional" is on for each shift things will be fine.

The email that holds the ticket barcode - at the very top - write something like "Volunteers Needed. This means you." - and link to the volunteer sign up sheet. When you click on it, before viewing the sheet, have a description of each position available. At the end of each description, have a "volunteer now" link that jumps to that position on the sheet. Ya dig? Perhaps even add a simple column like "first time here" so we know who the newbs are -- indicate that newbs may be reassigned based on need/availability of "seasoned burners" for each shift. If you don't get it, stop me now and I'll come to your house with flowcharts to explain it all.

Seems to me as if the same people that do all the "coordinating" are also the ones who do most of the "planning" and, in addition, are the very same people who do the "volunteering"... i know there's like a board of important people and all that jazz, but plenty of us "other" intelligent folk are ready to take this beast over and make it happen right. That's not a threat, it's an offer of expertise.

I'm telling you, there's enough of us who want to do it, we just can't get into the event. You want to tear apart an awesome thing by adding more levels of "management"? This ain't no convention, it's a friggin' celebration ;)


SRSLY.

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