Reclaimation saw a tremendous amount of growth in 2012. As was the trend with other regional burns, our ticket sales were up, although we did not reach cap. We hit triple digits for the first time with 103 people purchasing tickets; 90 of those burners redeeming their tickets at the gate. More theme camps preregistered this year, with a total of 9 operating during the burn. With those greater numbers also came a flourishing of art.
During a work/play weekend prior to the burn, numerous old toys and children’s items were discovered in the moop patrol trash by one burner, and sparked the creation of one such found art installation. As the pile of discarded items grew, The Tree of Forgotten Toys began to take shape and was greatly enjoyed for its spooky/cute ambiance. Another individual built an accurate mock-up of a traditional still that produced distilled water from a nearby stream. Our first temple was a beautiful free-flowing structure of dead sumac trees and woven vines, which had been cleared from new camping spaces during a work/play weekend. Attendees were encouraged to mediate inside the structure and/or tie their intentions to it with provided strips of cloth. Rain on Sunday prevented us from burning the temple until Tuesday of the following week. Although there was only a small crew left onsite during the temple burn, emotions were high and the tears flowed freely. Each and every person that left their intention in the temple was represented as the flames released that energy into the universe.
The land on which we hold Reclaimation is a particularly beautiful place and many of us have felt what might be best summed up as a shamanistic tie to the land. We celebrate the Appalachian heritage of mountaineers of all ethnicities. In 2012, the theme “Weaving the Cosmic Web” reflected the interconnectedness of us all and hearkened to the Cherokee legend of Grandmother Spider. The theme was reflected in both our effigy and our swag.
Now to our team focuses:
Gate Team and Parking Team work together to make entry into Reclaimation enjoyable and smooth. Gate Team would like to remind attendees to make the burn greener by NOT bringing their paypal receipts for invites. This will cut down possible MOOP considerably. Attendees are presented with their swag at the gate, and this year Gate Team came up with a spiderweb design that matched that of the effigy. Gate activities were amped up this year and new arrivals were greeted by the “Wheel of Punishment.” The Survival Guide played a key role as the attendee had to answer a question taken from it. If they incorrectly answered the question, they were required to spin the Wheel of Punishment and take their punishment, courtesy of the Gate Team Lead. A copy of the Survival Guide was also at the Gate for those who answered incorrectly. Primary focus on the Gate for 2012 was to make it as entertaining as possible for the volunteers who did such a wonderful job at Gate. Further improvements are in the works and should make the entry into Reclaimation even more enjoyable.
Parking Team did a great job of organizing cars so that nobody got blocked in. Those who were staying for the entire event were parked in the back parking area while those who had to leave sooner were parked closer to the front gate with open space through which to leave. In 2013, Parking Team plans to add a turn-around area so that burners can park more easily once they’ve been checked in at the gate. Many volunteers stepped forward this year to assist with parking and we know we’ll have just as much input of effort and ideas in 2013.
Hillbillies Hauling Sh*t is a new team that came into being this year. Since we only have a single road for entry and exit, HHS uses ATVs to bring burners to and from their camps once they’ve parked their cars at the entrance. Equipped with walkie-talkies, HHS is able to coordinate drop-offs and pick-ups to avoid traffic jams and increase the convenience of entry and exit. The road leading from the property to the main gate and parking is fairly steep and can become slippery. In the event of rain, HHS uses a pickup truck instead of the ATVs to move burners and their gear. HHS is also available to help injured or disabled burners get around during Reclaimation. HHS leads have also helped by making supply runs. HHS was allotted money for gas in 2012 and this expense will be factored into the budget again in 2013.
Theme camp placement went smoothly and all campers got the spots they requested. The Theme Camp Placement lead went from camp to camp to ensure that each were located in the place they desired. In 2013, more camp sites will be cleared during a series of work/play weekends to allow for more locations to camp. Burners have always been allowed to come to work/play weekends to work on clearing out their own camp spots prior to event. It’s a wonderful way to “stake your claim” to an area and make it as burnerly beautiful as you like.
The Hillbilly Hub was another new team that began in 2012. It is a meeting place for participants to find out about happenings at the burn, learn about the Ten Principles, volunteer, or simply connect with one another. Although the Hub was conceived in 2012, it went largely unmanned due to medical issues that were being experienced by the individual who designed it. Big plans are in the works for the Hillbilly Hub 2013.
Mooper Troopers reported that relatively no moop was left on site this year. While Mooper/Pooper Troopers enforce our Leave No Trace policy, everyone is educated about moop and the proper use of our composting toilets. A great many burners who have attended others burns, have claimed that our toilets are the cleanest they’ve seen. This is due to both the efforts of our volunteers and the cooperation of all our burners. We ask that each attendee donate at least one bucket with a lid for use in our outhouses, which, with the exception of the landowner’s were constructed during work/play events. Instructions for use are posted in the outhouses at all times. The outhouses were renovated this summer during a couple of work/plays held on the land. Fresh paint and improvements made a huge difference to the interior spaciousness. An older outhouse was renovated into a handicapped accessible potty with a ramp and battery-powered indoor lighting. Each outhouse is also stocked with gloves and hand sanitizer to make the Pooper Troopers job easier. We also encourage burners to set up their own in-camp composting potties which are collected at the end of the event. This increases sanitation and convenience for everyone. A series of work/play weekends have already begun, during which we will construct rechargeable LED light fixtures for the outhouses, as well as such fixtures for path lighting.
There were no medical issues in 2012, but we are planning to have a more central location for Medical Team in 2013 in the event that one arises. A large covered area will be constructed near the landowner’s cabin which will house our medical and ranger team headquarters, and the Hillbilly Hub. We have also had several volunteers to run a Sanctuary in 2013, which we haven’t had previously, at least in a formal sense.
Ranger team had their first Black Rock Regional Ranger training done by Black Rock Ranger Fatboy. In 2013, our Ranger Team lead plans to update our training information to better address our special needs as a burn. Roughly one third of our community has received ranger training at least one burn in the Southeast, which gives us a good pool of volunteers and a safer event. We experienced one Sanctuary issue in 2012. The individual was attended by a ranger and another attendee through the night. We had to evict an attendee from the burn for the first time in Reclaimation history this year. The individual had to be approached by several rangers for mooping and attempting to sell drugs at the burn. The person was unable to understand the implications of his actions or why they were not allowed. We waited until he was no longer intoxicated and then he was escorted off the property by Rangers and HHS.
The Lamplighter Team did a wonderful job of lighting our small community. Because of our growth, Lamplighters will definitely need more volunteers for 2013. The Team Lead would like to make costumes for our lamplighters that resemble the ones worn by lighters at other burns. Through trial and error, we found that kerosene works best for the lanterns and will be used again as fuel in 2013. Lamplighter Team is also seeking a few more lanterns to supplement the supply already on hand, and is currently working on rechargeable LED lighting projects. The LED lights will come with rechargeable battery and solar packs and will promote a greener burn.
Our Fire Conclave opened with four “priestesses” blessing the circle around the effigy. Fire performers were then led on field individually to prerecorded music, and then in larger numbers as the intensity of the music led toward a climax. Participants were gifted medicine bottle rattles containing ashes from the Kentucky CORE 2011 effigy, which they used to supplement the rhythm of the music. Following the conclave finale, the Effigy Team Lead lit the structure with a big POOF. Prerecorded music played during the effigy burn. Once Fire Team deemed it safe, everyone in attendance joined hands in a human hula hoop and we all made our way around the remains of the effigy as one entity while our theme song, written collaboratively over a series of work/play weekends by our resident banjo player, was sung. The culmination of this moment was a very touching one for us all. The conclave lead has a few new ideas for 2013. The fuel dump will be moved to a safer location with more visible caution tape over the entire area. While we have had no safety incidents, we want to prevent them in the future. The conclave lead would also like to rely on live drumming during the 2013 burn if drummers can be recruited.
In keeping with our 2012 theme, “Weaving the Cosmic Web,” and our desire to honor Grandmother Spider of the Cherokee, Effigy Team spent several work/play weekends building a double spiderweb structure. This effigy was our largest and most ornate to date. It was created completely from wood that had been salvaged from defunct outbuildings. While being thrifty and more environmentally friendly, this also added a little more Appalachian flavor to our effigy. As a testament to its sturdy construction and loving design, it burnt for quite some time before collapse and created some beautiful flames. In 2013, another Effigy Team Lead has stepped forward with a design for a lighthouse. Proposed theme ideas are revolving around a “Beacon of Light.” We are also excited that the lead for this year’s effigy is a lifelong resident of the area. Engaging with the local community has been a running goal for Reclaimation since its creation, and even more of the local community is planning to attend in 2013.
Safety is of utmost importance at Reclaimation, and our Fire Safety Team did a great job ensuring that we were all kept safe. All theme camps were required to bring their own fire suppression materials in order to keep our event safer. Outside of a few designated fire pits and barrels, no open fires were allowed. Fire performances are not allowed at Reclaimation without proper safety equipment a sober person to use them, and a safety. Our policy is that fire performers who violate this rule will be spoken to immediately by rangers and can be asked to leave the property if safety standards are not met. In 2013, Fire Team would like to acquire a fire suit that can be used exclusively for Reclaimation.
We did our census online after the burn and found that only about 30% of attendees completed one. In 2013, we plan to use a paper census and will possibly visit each camp to administer it in person. We will see if this increases the number of completed forms so that we poll our entire population and get a better picture of what you want from your burn.
Although we welcome families with children to our work/plays and related events, Reclaimation will remain an 18 and up event in 2013. Prior census reports and talks with the community have rendered a 50/50 view on children attending Reclaimation. If those views were to change, then we would revisit the issue. Moop issues (from decades of previous tenants) and logistics would have to be looked at closely to make certain that children could be supervised adequately while at the burn.
As you see, it was a wonderful burn year for us. In addition to the projects mentioned above, we are building a handicapped accessible shower to be used at the burn in 2013. We also plan to put together our first Art Grant Committee in 2013. We will complete our LLC paperwork before the event in 2013 so we can be as businesslike as possible while providing a safe place to burn.
I look forward to what 2013 has to hold for us. Thank you for reading this and we look forward to you coming to our hollow and experiencing our little burn in the Kentucky hills.