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Membership Admission Process

This document outlines the process by which members are admitted to camp with Playasophy. The 2016 soft limit for camp size is set at 30 members, with some flexibility for circumstance. In no case should camp exceed 35 members.

The membership spreadsheet will be handled by the Master of Scheduling, but decisions about membership will be made jointly by the leadership. While returning members are given preference, no member has a guaranteed spot in camp year-to-year.


There are a limited number of spots in camp each year, and there are more people who want to camp with Playasophy than available spots. The limit is imposed for multiple reasons:

  1. Placement Criteria: The camp’s consideration for placement depends in part on the number of members the camp is bringing. Adding more members without a corresponding increase in camp offerings negatively impacts placement.
  2. Camp Infrastructure: The camp’s physical infrastructure is scaled to meet the demands of a certain number of members. Adding more members without extending the infrastructure places strain on the existing equipment and negatively impacts members’ experiences.
  3. Social Cohesion: Adding more people to camp beyond a certain point starts to fracture the membership into multiple cliques. To a large extent, this is human nature and difficult or impossible to prevent. Limiting membership serves to keep the camp at a small enough size for everyone to get to know each other.

Camp infrastructure includes shared utilities like water, power, evap pools, and communal space for cooking, eating, and sleeping. It also includes logistics (getting everything back and forth to/from the desert) and off-playa storage. Some aspects of camp infrastructure scale gracefully, and could support more members. Others (e.g. the storage unit in Reno, space in the box truck) are bursting at the seams. If we want to grow the camp, we need to invest in the camp infrastructure in the off-season, long before we finalize the roster for a given year.

Placement puts a hard cap on the number of people we can host. We’ve had a good experience camping in the 3:00 plaza the past couple years, and we’d have to have a very good reason to move into a lower-density area where we could justify more members.

Above all, we want to make sure that camping with Playasophy is a great experience, for new and old members alike. This experience depends heavily on where (and whether) we’re placed, how much strain we put on the camp infrastructure, and the availability of shared and personal space.


With the above motivations in mind, Playasophy uses a sponsorship model for adding new members to camp. Any person wishing to join camp must be sponsored by an existing member who will be camping with Playasophy that year.

Sponsoring a new member means that the current member is vouching for the sponsee, both that they will be a good social fit for the camp, as well as that the new member will complete their assigned shifts and other camp duties. Failure to complete those duties means that the sponsor is on the hook for filling in, and gross violations of camp expectations may result in both the sponsor and the sponsee being barred from camping with Playasophy in future years.

Returning members may sponsor multiple new members into camp each year. Burning Man is exciting and we all want to share it with our friends - that’s how Playasophy started! However, given the limited resources, the leadership needs to consider how best to fit groups of related people into camp together.


A general priority ordering for admitting members to camp is as follows:

  1. Admit members who are an active part of the current year’s camp leadership, project planning, or early arrival team.
  2. Admit partners of people in step 1.
  3. Admit returning members who are contributing to art, events, or other projects.
  4. Admit general members and sponsored candidates with priority going to partners, then family members, then friends.

Note that this is a rough ordering only, and it is entirely at the discretion of the leadership who is accepted into camp.


This page was copied over from google docs, see the original here: