CC meeting 10 July 2017

In attendance
Monkey, Kati, Breezy, Problem, Izzi, Adam, Henry, Becky, Rabbitt, Kat, Beth, Wrinn, Tina, Sam

LLC Update

Not much news. Slow but steady progress on getting the laser cutter prepared for use.

Regional update

[no RCs present]

Beachside: went really well. There were 214 people who signed in, but as many as 500 who passed through. There were a few thefts. Weather was beautiful. Everyone had a really good time.

About 4200 lb of trash was collected.

AF update

[no AFs present]

Izzi points out that we need to clean up all the stuff lying around post-Flipside. We need everything cleared away before Burning Man load-in.

Stuff returning from Burning Man will have 2 weeks for pick up before it is deemed abandoned.

Discussion topics

Minors at the Warehouse

Burner Explorers is what used to be known as Burner Scouts, which has existed for about 10 years. This was created in the Burning Man community to get kids tied in to the BM volunteer infrastructure.

Becky is working on a local version. Her interest is in figuring out how to connect minors to our departments at Flipside, and enable kids to make use of the Warehouse.

Patrick: We’d like to pattern the warehouse use by minors after the existing approach to minors at the event: the parents are responsible for the kids, and the parents need to accompany the kids.

We need to let the Leads set limits for their departments. We probably won’t have minor firefighters, for example.

Henry: There’s some stuff that kids can do for the effigy, using hand tools, painting, etc, and kids have a different perspective that is valuable.

Kati: My kid can be with me for a lot, but not when I’m on a medical shift, because you don’t know what you’re going to encounter. Her kid is comfortable with rules, but a lot of kids are not. Also, a lot of people are not comfortable with kids at burns at all. I would feel comfortable with kids of 15 shadowing on Safety shifts, but not younger.

Monkey: Different departments have different training/competence requirements, regardless of age. There are plenty of departments where a minor would be able to do the job as well as an adult. Recommends considering expertise rather than age as the criterion for letting people signing up for shifts, and allow parent + kid to sign up for a shift as a single unit.

Izzi: Parents need to accompany their kids at all times, and there are some situations that can arise, e.g., for Ranger shifts, where the parent cannot bring their kid in due to inappropriateness. This means that neither adult nor minor is really filling a slot for that shift. What we’d wind up doing is having a parent + kid ride-along on a Ranger shift. In some departments this would not be an issue. Do not want to tell leads that they need to accept kids, or accept them on specific terms. Daft had specific projects for kids.

Becky: Daft didn’t want any children around the warehouse at all during the last few weeks before the event.

Adam: My concern specifically with Safety departments is that there would need to be different training for minors, which would create extra work for the leads to develop. Given the very small number of minors at the event, this may not be practical.

Beth: Ideas proposed by Austin Burning Parents: Have a child-size work station. Talk to Austin tinkering school. Have safety training for kids.

Kati: We talk about radical self-reliance a lot, but kids are still kids, and there are all kinds of possible issues. When we look at liability questions, we need to ensure the sustainability of the experiment, and sometimes we just need to say No to letting kids do stuff.

Problem: At BRC, the Rangers have one team dedicated to walking around with kids, so they can avoid putting kids into hot situations. So many departments could probably find a way to integrate kids.

Wrinn: I love kids, and I’ve used kids for cleanup. But I get nervous having kids doing stuff sometimes. Kids may get bored and distracted. Can the Lead tell the kid they’re not doing their job when the parent is (should be) right there?

Henry: Safety training can be accomplished by having a separate training at the Warehouse pitched to minors. Kids have a shorter attention span and could be signed up for shorter shifts, and it should be up to the lead.

Tina: If they can’t handle the Safetyside training, they shouldn’t be allowed on shift. There should also be clarification up front that a lead can talk to the parent if the lead is uncomfortable with the kid.

Monkey: Kids can handle a lot of stuff. We don’t need to solve a lot of problems with policy when those problems may not even exist. What recommendation should the CC make to the LLC or AFs about how to handle these situations?

Kati: One thing we need to enshrine is that if a person in a leadership position asks the kid to be removed from the situation, for any reason, the parent needs to respect that. Parents can be touchy about other people criticizing their kids, and we do need to get in front of that.

To potentially take an adult away from a volunteer shift so they can accompany their minor on the minor’s shift could deprive us of another badly needed volunteer.

Becky: Agrees that the presence of kids should be the Leads’ decision. Doesn’t think kids need to go to Safetyside. Thinks that kids would not be filling regular shifts, but doing 2-hour ride-alongs (for example).

Beth: We need to trust the parents and the leads to make this work.

Monkey: This is not a “consent” issue. It’s not “consent” if a Lead say they don’t want minors present, that’s a management issue.

Kati: “Consent” may be the wrong word. Sometimes it can be difficult for a lead or shift lead to talk to a parent about their kid misbehaving.

Monkey: We need a different word. This is a safety or operation-effectiveness issue, not a consent issue.

Beth: Parents can be more defensive of their kids than themselves. Volunteers should have some backup if they need to talk to a parent about their kid.

Monkey: How much is it going to really be a problem that a shift lead has a problem with a kid, and then has a problem with their parent? A couple of times?

Kat: Maybe we should expect that parents have previously volunteered in a given role before their kid does it so they can make an informed decision about their kid doing it.

Becky: Burner Explorers is going to need to have their own rules, which may come into conflict with other rules, parental expectations, etc.

Monkey: We should finish out the discussion of event-related issues.

MOTION: The CC recommends to the LLC and AFs that AFs and Leads legitimately consider any requests to have accompanied minors on volunteer shifts.

Beth: friendly amendment: “Continue to consider” Some Leads have taken minors on.

Monkey: strike “legitimately” As much as anything else, this is to let Leads know that they can consider having minors on shift.

REVISED MOTION: The CC recommends to the LLC and AFs that AFs and Leads continue to consider any requests to have accompanied minors on volunteer shifts.


Warehouse use by minors


  • Are there any concerns surrounding the laser?
  • Can a troop leader be treated as a legal guardian for the purpose of warehouse access?

Becky: Burner Explorers around Austin doesn’t have the kind of legal documentation that would support a troop leader being treated in loco parentis, the parents are still responsible for the kids. At BRC, Burner Explorers is directly under the auspices of Burning Man, and that won’t work here.

Patrick: We’ll talk to the lawyer, but the way this is probably going to come down is that the parents need to take responsibility for their kids.

Becky: Parents will need to be in visual range if their kids are doing something at the Warehouse as far as Burner Explorers are concerned.

Monkey: So are we recommending a change in the policy?

Izzi: No.

Monkey: So should I recommend a motion that the CC recommend the current policy on minors at the Warehouse be continued?

Patrick: That seems a bit redundant.

Additional business

Sam would like to put his name in as a candidate to be a CC member.

Laser cutter

Henry: Will the laser be taking up 1/3 of the room? Will the whole room be locked up to secure the laser?

Patrick: The laser will be pushed up against a wall. It will be hooked up to a password-protected computer to limit access.

Monkey: Why is this a bigger risk than our other various tools?

Patrick: Bodily safety is an issue, and you cannot see the beam. Some metals can reflect light into your eye, or into the laser. PVC can create chlorine gas in the laser.

And we do have policies about how you can use the table saw, for example.

Monkey: So what can the CC do in terms of setting policies here?

Patrick: What if someone wants to use the laser for their business? What if someone is on it 8 hours a day? The issues the CC can address relate to ensuring that the tool benefits the community, not one individual at the expense of the community.

Kat: The CC also has an ambassadorial role to play here, which is another way the CC can help.

Monkey: I would not be too upset if we had a general policy that the use of the warehouse was for non-commercial purposes.

Kat: I don’t know about saying that if you used the warehouse to make something that you cannot sell it ever.

Beth: There could be gray areas here. What if someone wants to work on a commercial project at our space with their own tools? We’ve hosted EAST events at the warehouse. There’s a line between using the Warehouse and abusing it.

Henry: Maybe you could develop a prototype at the Warehouse, but production should be done outside the Warehouse.

Izzi: What we’re talking about is fairness of use. We already need to schedule use of the Warehouse. I’m wondering if it is fair, or desirable, or abhorrent to schedule use of the laser. As long as everyone gets access to it that wants it is fair.

Kat: Many of our community members don’t have access to tools. Making it harder for them to get access to tools might be meddlesome. We don’t want to be standing in front of the laser with a clipboard interviewing people about how they’re using the laser.

Henry: We already have some policies relating to this in the Warehouse policies.

Izzi: That’s true for WH use, but not for specific tools. So the question is whether the laser is a special tool that would merit special handling.

Kati: I anticipate this tool will get a lot of attention. If there’s space, then it’s no problem.

Problem: I don’t think we’ll be interrogating people. We’ll know abuse when we see it. In the past, AAR has been comfortable allowing community resources being used as an incubator for art, including commercial art. Sky Candy is one example. So I don’t have a problem with some commercial use, but where do y’all come down on this?

Henry: Prototyping is fine. Commercial use is another thing, and they should find another way. We should always encourage art whenever possible.

Beth: is trying to write an announcement about the laser that reflects the community’s interests and the principles

Monkey: Put a sign on the laser that says “don’t hog the laser.”

Adam: Let’s not make a rule until we need a rule.

Problem: Just as a cautionary tale: both Hackerspace and Tech Shop have had people get into fistfights over people going 10 minutes over their laser time allotment.

Monkey: Motion to recommend the first thing we cut on the laser is a sign saying “Don’t make me make a rule.”

Other business

Town Hall producer

Not enough CC members here. Let’s find a willing producer on list.

Next meeting: July 24

Not Adam