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Vest volunteer shifts

Vest volunteer shifts are for those who have camped with the Melons 1 or more years


Since the beginning, certain Melons have taken on a lot of the emotional and organizational labor of camp. While this can be fun for super involved Melons, it has led to burnout and a hierarchical camp structure at times - sometimes it can feel like only a few people know what the fuck is happening and how to resolve it.  In other words, the same people are asked the same thing all week long.


By creating the Vests system, we hope to:

  1. Relieve our super-Melons from feeling the pull of “keeping camp together”
  2. Empower other Melons to take a visible leadership role at camp
  3. Continue to expand institutional Melon Camp knowledge amongst our entire camp community

While this does not mean that members of the XVC and/or Super Melons are off limits for camp questions or directions--in fact, many Super Melons want to help!--it does mean that anyone who is seen as a “leader” should be approached and consulted with in ways that are respectful of their time and mindful of their mood.


With that mission in mind, here is a Venn diagram that can help pick a Vest shift. Think of Vest shifts like jazz (I think?): there is a general form and structure, but improvising and making it your own fun/beautiful piece of something is the point of it all!



Vests volunteer DOs:

  • Be visible and proactive: in an ideal work, you can answer those commonly asked questions of:  How can I help? How do I _____? Where is the _____? Can you help me _____? Is it okay to _____? either directly or by referral to another Melon who is willing to help out or answer questions.

  • Show and not tell: If a Melon needs help with a project like putting their bike together or turning on the stove, give a demonstration or point out someone who might be a good resource to teach them how to complete the task. Go over the MelonTip with them. In short, emphasize communal effort and radical self-reliance as you answer questions and interact with Melons during your shift.

  • Identify projects that Melons can participate in during your shift and throughout the day: Does more shade need to get built? What about art set-up? Can anyone help set-up a new art project? Write down on-going projects that need some hands on our whiteboard projects list and if any Melon is looking for a project let ‘em know what’s up!

  • Identify areas that Melons could get better at and make an announcement at dinner - were there bikes scattered around camp all day? Let camp know that dinner that we should work on using our bike rack for everyone’s safety.

  • Interact with camp visitors who have questions and ensure they stay in the public areas of our camp (unless accompanied by another melon to a private area).


Vests volunteer DON'Ts:

  • Become an authority figure, "boss,” or "cop" during your shift

    • Giving directions or offering to help other Melons will always be appreciated - telling people what to do or raising your voice on playa because someone may have forgotten to do something or put something back perfectly can be very stressful.  Think about a time you “did it wrong” - how did you feel? How would you have liked to have been approached or taught? Exerting your “expertise” at “doing it right” should come from a place of fruit-based love.


  • Feel obliged to pick up after people or tidy up camp.

    • If you see an urgent/escalating MOOP situation, directly containing the situation is a good use of your volunteer time. Stray beer can or doing someone else's dishes is NOT a good use of your volunteer time. Obviously it’s your choice to do what you want during your shift - some people love to clean and organize - but it is not a responsibility that you must take on.


  • Intervene in a situation that feels unsafe/unpredictable or concerning to you

    • While you are the main “adult” at camp, you are in no way obligated to mediate a difficult situation should it arise. Your job is to call a Ranger or a Melon who has volunteered to be a Consent leader should the situation require a trained responder. Notify someone you know and trust, and work with them.  We are in this together and you are not required to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.


These are the fast and loose guidelines for your shift. As an experienced Melon, you know what’s up and what makes camp so great.  So impart that wisdom on others and have a great time. There will be a notebook and pen located in the Vests for you to take notes/jot down thoughts and identify what we could do better next year - or maybe the next day - please use it on your shift to pass along information for the next Vest shifts.