Experience with Rangers
brought to you by Boy Wonder
It’s Thursday afternoon and you’ve just arrived at the event. You’re unloading your vehicle and working on getting your tent set up. You see two figures meandering through the area and coming your way, talking and laughing. You notice they’re wearing khaki shirts and hats that say “Element 11 Rangers” on them. You’ve never seen the “uniform” before and wonder if they’re event security. As they approach they say hello and stop to talk to you for a few minutes and answer any questions you may have. After a few minutes you hear their radios crackle to life, they tell you to enjoy the event and head off into the sunset.
These khaki clad folks are Rangers.
Later in the evening, while enjoying a cold libation, you explore the event and all the art to be seen when you spot another pair of these “Rangers” walking through the city talking to other participants. You might be a little shocked to hear people calling out “Hey F&^* your day Ranger!”. You can’t help but wonder who these people are and why everyone seems to know them. You ask if they know where a particular theme camp is and one of them pulls out a little pamphlet they call a “What, Where, When” guide. They give you the guide, some directions, and tell you to have a great evening before heading into the dark; just a pair of bobbing lights as they disappear down the road.
Who are the Element 11 Rangers?
Element 11 Rangers are part of the Element 11 festival volunteers who follow the same rules, and get the same training as the Black Rock Rangers at Burning Man. Rangers come in many flavors: there are “just your average awesome Rangers” (Dirt Rangers), and there are Rangers who are also known as Green Dots. All Green Dot Rangers get the same training as the regular Rangers, but they also take additional training to help participants that are having a difficult time, emotionally or otherwise. All Rangers are trained to help participants in our community solve their own problems, whether it be a border dispute between two camps, or any other disagreement that may arise. Sometimes it’s as simple as just being there and doing nothing. Often, Rangers simply listen and encourage all parties to “talk it out”. Rangers may help mediate a resolution that works for all involved parties.
Our other duties are to act as an emergency response team when there’s an injury or other urgent issue. We interface with the Fire Department and Law Enforcement when they’re visiting the event. We also do perimeters for art burns such as the Temple and Effigy. We are participants just like everyone else at Element 11.
We are NOT event security.
We’re here to have fun just like everyone else. We simply volunteer in a unique way and are there for our community year round – this is our Art.
What kinds of things do Rangers encounter?
Rangers can encounter all kinds of things throughout the event. We’re needed to set up perimeters in the event of an injury at the event, and assist our medical volunteers in getting the injured party the medical assistance they need. Rangers set up and maintain fire perimeters, and on rare occasion have to deal with the consequences of people being unsafe around fires; unfortunately, this can include injury and possibly even death. We encounter people who become “altered” (as we like to say) and we help them find their way. Sometimes it’s back to their camp, and sometimes it’s back to reality.
Sometimes we see the underbelly or the “dark side” of an event. Rangers are called to assist with people who are fighting (even in “domestic disputes”), especially when Law Enforcement is called for assistance. There are all kinds of things that people are capable of, especially when in an altered state, and we, as Rangers, deal with those situations. They’re far less common than the great experiences you’ll have: meeting fellow burners and experiencing the amazing things people can create.
Why should I become a Ranger?
Volunteering is a major part of our community and being a Ranger is a great opportunity to give back. If you are the peacemaker in your camp, if people always talk to you about their troubles, or if you have a desire to make things better, then Rangering will come naturally to you.
You get to see and experience many amazing things as a Ranger. You meet all kinds of people at the event that you may not have otherwise ever encountered. You build your own “social capital” with the community, and are enhancing the reputation of the Element 11 Rangers within our community.
You will receive hugs from people that go around just wanting to genuinely thank Rangers for being out there.
Our social capital is a “trust” that we get from the community If something is going on and people need help, we’ll be there and we’ll act with integrity. We strive to be fair and honest in our dealings with community members. That social capital earns us a lot of love.
You’ll be trained at ROM (Ranger Orientation Meeting), our annual training. As a Ranger you may be working on the front row to the art burns, helping to keep everyone safe. You’ll get to help your fellow participants as you walk your shift by stopping into camps and just saying “hi” and answering questions, or helping someone when they need an extra hand.
Out of all we do, the love and respect we get from our community is the greatest reason of all to don the Khaki “costu-form” and become an Element 11 Ranger.
What kind of commitment does it take to become a Ranger?
To become an Element 11 Ranger, there’s just a few things you’ll need to do. First of all, we ask that you’re sane. Sane is good. It’s also relative. So you have to be able to make good decisions. One of those decisions HAS to be that you attend ROM or the Ranger Orientation Meeting. This is our annual training. It’s held over a weekend sometime between when snow stops falling and the Element 11 Festival begins (It’ll be announced all over the place when we have both a venue and a date.)
- Ranger training is held during the day on Saturday and we usually have what we call “Beer Thirty”. This is an ad-hoc event where the crusty old Rangers and the Shiny Penny Rangers mingle over grub. Questions get answered, and stories are told. It’s a great time and builds the relationships you will value for a lifetime.
- Green Dot Training is held on a Sunday morning. You have to have attended Ranger training to do the Green Dot training, as all Green Dots are Rangers, first and foremost. We cover the finer arts of helping people who may be in emotional distress, or may have suffered some kind of event that was traumatic to them personally. Where Rangers tend to use Duct Tape to help solve problems, Green Dots use tissue.
After ROM, you get added to a super duper secret mailing list where Ranger events and details are discussed and shift sign up’s get posted. The shift sign up is the best part! You get to pick the shifts that will earn you stuff like your Ranger shirt and hat! It’s recommended that you pick up a couple dirt shifts and one or two perimeters. Perimeters are where you get your front row seats for the burns!
The last thing you really need to become a Ranger is snark and a sense of humor; it’s the currency among Rangers. If you do all of the above, you’ll be part of the Element 11 Ranger Family, our community’s favorite elitist clique!
Where did the Rangers come from?
Some say that Rangers were born of Elitist sperm and egg. Some say that when the Titans of ancient history got a little two drunk on fine wine, they molded Rangers of marble and granite. Some say that when two old and crusty Rangers love each other, they make little Rangers. But since I can neither confirm nor deny any of these claims, let’s just say that Rangers come from the most amazing community in the world. They’re everyday people, from all walks of life, of all colors and creeds, that come together to better those around them. To help the community they love and keep them safe. Element 11 Rangers are trained by Black Rock Rangers from Burning Man. We’re kinda like their kid siblings. They watch over us while we regional Rangers serve our local communities around the world. Black Rock Rangers provide us support and training and a dose of sheer awesomeness! And word has it that it all started with “Danger Ranger” back in the late 80’s. Our very own Ranger Messenger compiled a history of the Black Rock Rangers. If you’d like to know more about Black Rock Rangers minus the joking and snark, it’s at the bottom of this web page.
If you have any questions, or want to volunteer, contact: RangerMendy@gmail.com