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Camp Trans 2007 Begins With a Call for Organizers!

Camp Trans 2006 was about the informalization of formalized processes, in many ways. Lisa Vogel herself admitted this in her press release, when she spoke of an expectation of transphobia at MichFest, which stands contrary to their newly formalized policy of admitting all womyn who can pay. This is one of many lessons the CT 2006 organizers took home from camp this summer that led us to the conclusion that informal policies and structures are not conducive to organizing out in the woods of rural Michigan. For this reason, Camp Trans 2007 is planning on a bright future for trans folks and allies, and as such, we are formalizing several informal positions and organizational relationships which have previously managed to fall together in an informal fashion.

What does this mean to you, the aspiring camper or hopeful CT organizer? Well, for all you campers, hopefully this means your experience at Camp Trans is going to run a bit more smoothly. For you future organizers, the answer is much the same and more. The new, structured, system of Camp Trans organizers allows for several levels of participation, each of which is in some way vital to the functioning of Camp Trans, and yet requires differing inputs from people commensurate with what time and energy folks can put in.

For starters, this year we have a Camp Trans Coordinator, Jack Radish, who is in the center of the organizational hub. Jack’s job is to keep everything on task, to call up the other primary organizers to see how their jobs are going, offer insight and support when possible, and to keep communication flowing between different organizers and help ensure that Camp Trans 2007 accomplishes what we have set out to accomplish.

Next, we have the four primary level organizers. These organizers all represent the fundamental breakdown of responsibilities of Camp Trans, as was reasoned out by the parting CT 2006 Organizing Committee. The four categories are Fundraising, Strategy, Logistics and Culture, and each one of these committee members looking to adopt an apprentice or helper to ensure the smooth running of CT even should any individual organizer fall victim to the type of life event that so often calls one’s attention away from Camp business.

The first of these organizers, in no particular order, is Angel, who is in charge of Fundraising for the second year in a row. Angel still has need of an understudy, to help her with managing the books (which, under her supervision, were left in the black this past year), and will be relying on a set of regional fundraisers to help her out in the collection of the much needed capital that it takes to run Camp Trans. As a regional organizer, your responsibilities can be as great or as small as you feel comfortable with; the only general rule is that you keep connected with a community, throw a fundraiser or two (or have your friends throw them), and make sure the money gets safely into the coffers of Camp Trans. Do it for a month, or do it for the whole year; when you can get by with a budget of $4,000, every dollar counts.

The second organizer is Jess S, who is in charge of Strategy after spending many years as our on-land organizer over at the festival. Strategy breaks down into two main components: Activism and Media. Media is a job that splits up into several different categories: the creation and publication of press releases, the maintainer of the website, the creation of a portal filled with Camp Trans history. One of the best political strategies is to reflect Camp Trans as we truly are, a place of laughter, support, and an ocean of smiles, and for that Jess needs people to fill those media roles. In the Activism half of her job, Jess needs people to work both as on-land organizers and to help her plan a campaign of leaflets and fliers to make sure that walking the line, and all on-land organization, still stays an effective tool towards widening the perspectives of people who have the power to make the spaces they go home to more accepting of transwomyn.

Our third organizer is Bryce, who resumes his duties as the logistics chair after receiving such a swell report after his first year on the job. Logistics is a bit more complicated, and as such it trees down in a different fashion. Under Bryce are four secondary-level organizers: Rentals, Supplies, Personnel, and the Kitchen. The Kitchen will be run by Alex, whose stalwart presence and good cooking have made her a fixture for several years, but Rentals, Stage Manager, Supplies and Personnel are all available for determined organizers who really want to make a difference. Rentals involves making sure that the port-a-potties, land and audio-visual equipment are all rented and paid for in proper fashion, and returned in proper order. Nine tenths of this job is on the front end, but it still requires some clean up effort. The Stage Manager position involves making sure the performances run smoothly. This person will serve as a liaison between the Performance and Rentals coordinator and will be in charge of making sure we have the right sound/lighting equipment, the performances start on time, and helping us avoid disasters such as stages falling on performers during windstorms. Supplies is almost entirely a front-end job, requiring a person to calculate the various quantities of wood, food, medical supplies and other miscellaneous goods that Camp Trans runs on, and then set about procuring those things. Personnel is in many ways the most involved of these four secondary organizer positions, as it requires a person to find a staff for the medic tent prior to CT, but then to also supervise the work shifts at CT to make sure that all positions get staffed. Each secondary level organizer can further delegate as they see fit, so long as they remain in touch with Bryce about this. So, if you want to be the person in charge of making sure CT has water, never fear, there’s a job for you here!

The last organizer is Lina Corvus, who is in charge of culture. Culture, like Logistics, is a heavily delegated organizational system, and several of those positions are currently filled, but that doesn’t mean there still aren’t jobs that need doing. Imi Park, for example, is in charge of performances for next year, although if you wanted to help her out with that, I’m sure she’d appreciate the help. Meanwhile, Hospitality, Recreation, Peer Advocates, Caucuses, and Workshops are all organizational areas in need of someone to watch over them, and each one is a meaty position. Hospitality involves getting together a core of Greeters, who know a bit about the history of CT to tell when asked, and will be willing to take night shifts in order to promote Camp Safety. The Peer Advocate organizer is a similar position, only instead of camp history, Advocates need training in crisis intervention and interpersonal conflict management, and would also be willing to take night shifts for safety’s sake. If being an organizer itself doesn’t strike you as being your cup of tea, remember that individual Greeters and Advocates are incredibly important to the functioning of CT, and require little advance planning. Recreation is a new organizer position this year, but is incredibly important all the same; for this position we’re looking for someone fun to put together camp games and other community activities. The Caucus organizer is in charge of making sure caucuses have a time and a place to happen, and happen as they’re supposed to. Finally, the Workshop Coordinator is in charge of putting together a lineup of workshops so as to empower us all to go back into our communities and change things at home.

So folks, that’s what CT2007’s organizing committee is going to look like, and we’re sending out the call for people to join us at your own individual comfort level! The best part is, if there’s something you feel like we’ve left out, or some way you feel like we can improve our organizational structure, we’re here to hear it. You can contact any individual organizer if you have a suggestion relating to his or her area of expertise, and for any other suggestions or if you’re not sure which organizer to contact, Jack’s more than willing to hear your ideas. We hope you all are as excited about this upcoming Camp Trans as we are; we’re doing our best to make sure it’ll be a hell of a year!

Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2006 at 07:23PM by Dana | Comments Off