FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 
 
 

Community

How Do I Find a BWB Chapter or Working Group near me?

  We have a new website coming in 2023, which will include a page to help you find the chapter or project nearest you. In the meantime, here are two ways to find a BWB group near you: 
  • Click here!
  • Email bwb@burningman.org with your city, state and country- and we’ll let you know if there’s a BWB chapter near you.
  • If you know that there’s a BWB group in your city, search on Facebook for “Burners Without Borders CITY”- many of our chapters and working groups have a Facebook presence where you can plug in. 
  For information on other BWB Projects and opportunities, visit our project page: https://bmanbwb.wpengine.com/projects-home

How Do I Start a Chapter?

If there’s an existing chapter that you’d like to join and support, the first step will be connecting with existing chapter leadership and getting involved in the community. If there’s already a chapter near you, it’s always best to try to plug into what’s already happening and grow your participation there. If you would like to start a new chapter based on your region or interest, the first step will be to start a Working Group. After successfully completing 2-5 projects, we’ll be ready to have a conversation about formalizing your group. Email bwb@burningman.org if you’re interested in starting a working group or getting connected to an existing chapter.

Can I lead a BWB project if I’m not Affiliated with a Chapter?

Yes! Our chapter system represents only one part of our network, and we are here in support of any burners who are interested in having a positive impact in our local/global communities. We spend about 70% of our time and resources supporting and amplifying projects initiated by burners just like you. To propose your project to BWB, you can use this webform.

Does Everyone in BWB Do Disaster Response?

While BWB was born from disaster response, we continue to evolve, and our members participate in ALL KINDS of civic actions in addition to direct disaster response. Our main goal as a network is to create communities of practice, and there are plenty of ways to do that when your community is not experiencing an immediate disaster. In fact, the right time to prepare is before disaster strikes. Our chapters use civic impact projects to practice working together, so when a disaster happens: they are ready to work as a team and organize for a rapid response. Prepared communities of practice can (and have) activated disaster response in the form of: distribution hubs, demolition services, search and rescue missions, power and infrastructure, and more. Whether you are working with other community members to solve real problems, or hosting workshops/opportunities to densen your local network and learn new skills, by developing a local community of practice you are building community resilience.

What is a Community of Practice?

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. By putting ideas into practice, we improve and prepare for when it counts the most. We often refer to all and parts of our global network as communities of practice.

What are the BWB Summits?

Burners Without Borders works very closely with Fly Ranch, and this partnership has developed into opportunities for BWB to gather using Fly Ranch as a hosting land. We gather on Fly Ranch for work weekends, skill building, and most recently in 2019 the BWB Summits at Fly Ranch. These are in person opportunities to connect off-playa, and we are hosting 2 Summits per year through 2021. These are small group gatherings of less than 100 people, and the weekends have a participant driven, unconference style of loose programming with plenty of focus on connecting with the land, each other, and personal wellness. The summits are invitation only and BWBers are invited to express interest prior to receiving the registration link to confirm your spot. To learn about upcoming Summits, subscribe to our newsletter.
Following the 2005 Burning Man event, several participants headed to the Gulf Coast to help survivors rebuild their devastated communities. While the rest of the world’s attention was focused on New Orleans, the small group decided to head towards Biloxi, which had been hit just as hard but was receiving little help. The group named themselves the Temple to Temple Crew since many of the volunteers had built the Temple at Burning Man.   As the volunteer numbers grew, they focused their initial efforts on rebuilding a destroyed Vietnamese temple. After several months and a job well done, they moved to another needy Mississippi community, Pearlington, to continue to work hard — gifting their time — to help those in need.  And a new name, Burners Without Borders, was born.   Over the course of eight months, BWB volunteers gifted over $1 million dollars worth of reconstruction and debris removal to the residents of Mississippi due to the donation of a brand new front loader and excavator.  BWB was the only volunteer group on the Gulf Coast to receive a donation of heavy machinery, which enabled them to put Pearlington three years ahead of the relief effort in their region.   But, we did more than just clear people’s homes, we started burning sculptures made from the debris we gathered while doing our work. Soon, the community began bringing their own sculptures and many experienced a powerful, cathartic moment as they were finding the courage together to let go of the past and rebuild their futures.   After Katrina-From Disaster Response to Civic Engagement   After witnessing the incredible creativity that the Burning Man community brought to Katrina, Tom Price and Carmen Mauk returned to San Francisco with a desire to continue to grow BWB beyond the scope of natural disasters. They wondered what would be possible if  the kind of participation and creativity they experienced in Katrina could be turned into our every day lives in communities around the world.   As a first step in encouraging community participation, they decided to host a beach cleanup at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, on May 5th. By engaging  the Burning Man network and former Katrina volunteers, this cleanup spread to five countries  and the first annual Cinqo de Playa cleanup was born. This program ran for seven years and continued to grow to more than twenty cities around the world.