St. Squishy’s Summer Camp for Wayward Children
a burning man theme camp
Every August we bring 10,000 multi-colored, plastic balls to the Black Rock desert and set them up within a pentagonal wooden ball pit lined with sound-reactive LEDs, all under a big blue Geodesic Dome, so kids (of all ages) can come by 24/7 to relax and have a blast. Play is so vital to a healthy and happy life, so we make it our mission to create space for joy. My co-lead and I have the responsibility of taking an empty plot of land in the desert and transmuting it into an oasis that can house, feed, and entertain dozens of people for over a week. This work involves everything from intense off-site planning and transportation logistics, to technical architectural design and construction in a harsh environment with 80mph dust storms, to learning how to lead groups in times of crisis and facilitate non-violent communication when everyone is exhausted, dehydrated, and hot. We have events and workshops throughout the week, art installations, and most importantly, a camp culture that supports an inclusive and consensual space for all. It’s essential to me to create spaces like this where a slew of misfits, outsiders, and “wayward children” can come together and feel like they belong -- to create homes.