Posts by Judi Morales Gibson

August 12th, 2014  |  Filed under Participate!

Involving and Engaging Kids at Burning Man

Zebra riders (Photo by Omer Sehayek)

Zebra riders (Photo by Omer Sehayek)

Black Rock City relies on the efforts, diligence and ethics of the Burners that build the city, run departments and set the stage to make Burning Man possible, and kids are some of the most enthusiastic volunteers who love contributing their time, and have fun doing it.

From the very beginning, playa kids learn survival skills, playa ethics like Leave No Trace, and ultimately how to contribute to their community. When taught the Burning Man principles on playa, kids get it right away. They learn it, live it and incorporate it into their core values as they grow up.

Through programs like Black Rock Scouts, kids get to volunteer and train with departments like Lamplighters, Gate, Greeters, ESD, Media Mecca and DMV. This kind of behind-the-scenes exposure teaches them invaluable skills and often inspires kids (and their parents) to join a crew, which some Scouts have gone on to do.

What are the Risks?

Adult content is concern for some — mostly to those without kids — but exposure to such things challenges parents to talk about tough subjects. Kids are not shy about asking questions, so most parents look at it as an opportunity to talk openly with their children about sexuality, drug use and human nature.

Mobile classroom (Photo by Roth Hall)

Mobile classroom (Photo by Roth Hall)

As far as nudity goes, kids love being naked so when adults don’t react negatively, it’s no big deal. In the end, it’s the parent’s responsibility to decide what their child should see or not, so Burners should simply be themselves around kids. If your behavior seems unsuitable for kids, it’s up the parents to remove their children from the situation. No biggie.

How About the Rewards?

Interacting with kids on playa can be a rewarding experience for child-free Burners. Do you remember having that ‘aha!’ moment during your first Burn? You relearned how to play, how to be generous and how it feels to be unconditionally accepted. Children who come to the playa are already there. They see the world as one big playground. Their open minds are not tainted with prejudice or judgment.

Playing with children helps us experience the magic of the playa through their fresh perspective. Playa kids raised at Burning Man have the advantage of on-the-playa training with inspiring Burners (like you) as role models. When you encounter a baby Burner this year, take a moment to have a conversation, share your wisdom or simply play with them.

Playa-raised kids are the next generation of Burners and they’ll be the ones keeping the flame alive at Burning Man.

August 13th, 2012  |  Filed under Playa Tips, Preparation

Kidsville, Black Rock Scouts and FUN Program for Families

[Judes has been a Burner since 1999 and an advocate for playa families. She first brought her son Dexter to BRC when he was 16-months-old, who has 8 Burns under his belt. For 4 years, Judes hosted Hot Monkey Sox, a popular sock monkey workshop camp in Kidsville. In 2010, she founded the Black Rock Scouts program so kids could attend playa-cational events, volunteer with BRC Departments and learn to give back to the BRC community.]

Bringing your kids along to this year’s Burn? There are some great resources and programs for Burner Families that we want you to know about. Kidsville, Black Rock Scouts and the new FUN Child ID Program run by Black Rock Rangers are here to support every burning family, including yours! Read more »

July 17th, 2012  |  Filed under Playa Tips, Preparation

Playa Survival Guide for Families

[Judes has been a Burner since 1999 and an advocate for playa families. She first brought her son Dexter to BRC when he was 16-months-old, who has 8 Burns under his belt. For 4 years, Judes hosted Hot Monkey Sox, a popular sock monkey workshop camp in Kidsville. In 2010, she founded the Black Rock Scouts program so kids could attend playa-cational events, volunteer with BRC Departments and learn to give back to the BRC community.]

Surviving at Black Rock City is difficult enough, and now you want to bring your kids? That’s great!

It can certainly be daunting the first time, but children actually thrive in the playa environment. It just takes some extra preparation, planning and diligence. Trying to get a toddler to drink her weight in water isn’t easy, but lots of families have found ways to not only survive, but flourish on the playa. Speaking as a parent, I truly believe that the Black Rock City experience and the Ten Principles provide an amazing educational immersion that can’t be found anywhere else.

So where do parents find the best information on how to prepare for a successful burn?

The Burning Man website’s section on Kids at Burning Man is a great place to start, but it doesn’t have all the info you may want.

That’s why Kidsville parents (myself included) have collaborated on a thorough and detailed guide for Burner families. Jesper from Kidsville has kindly put it all together into a single, helpful, and entertaining Kidsville Survival Guide.

It covers everything from child safety, playa clothes, kid food and taking the kids out of school for the Burn. While it has information specific to camping in Kidsville, it’s got a ton of useful information for all families. Check it out!

May 8th, 2012  |  Filed under Playa Tips, The Ten Principles

Camping With Baby Burners: Kids at Burning Man

[Judes is the Burner mom of an 11-year old baby-Burner, and founder of Black Rock Scouts.]

Burning Man has been a family affair from the very beginning. When Jerry James and Larry Harvey burned the first Man in 1986, their 5-year old sons Robin and Trey built a Burning Dog alongside their dads.

PHOTO: A baby-Burner art car. Photo Georgie.

Because the playa is a colossal day-glow playground, children feel right at home. Kids already live in make-believe worlds, so when they experience the magic of Black Rock City, it feels natural to the way they view the world. Tots know how to play and have fun without inhibition, hesitation or fear of judgment. Follow that Art car! As a parent, I know it’s really my reaction that colors my kid’s reaction to something. Us grownups can learn a few things from tiny folk and how they embrace the art and culture of Black Rock City. Read more »