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Why Ranger Training Is Awesome (BurningFlipside.com)

Posted in Burning Man, and Other Writing

A Flipside Ranger silhouetted by a fire performance at the effigy. Pyropolis, 2007. Photo by Skwid.

At Safetycide I underwent training to become a Pyropolis Ranger, one of the eyes and ears of our little temporary community. We act as mediators in return for free t-shirts and hearing about all the best parties while on our patrols. I knew being a ranger had definite benefits, but I wasn’t aware how interesting the training would be. In my latest article for burningflipside.com I share my training experience:

It surprised me to have such a good time at ranger training, and that I was able to absorb so much new information. Though I pride myself on being an excellent communicator, I still feel my interpersonal skills improved throughout the training. The amount of time we spent discussing procedures like how to use handheld radios seemed quite brief compared to the amount of time we talked about how to relate to our fellow Flipizens. We learned about better body language, ways to put people at ease when they are under stress, how to initiate positive touch while avoiding unwanted touch, and much more.

The training closed with an evening of role-playing scenarios where experienced volunteers acted out disagreements and other situations rangers are frequently called to mediate while new would-be rangers like myself tried to help. It was challenging and entertaining, and I feel much more confident about my ability to be a Ranger — after all, it’s really an organized extension of the ways I already try to help out in Pyropolis.

Read the rest of the article.

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