Category Archives: Helpful Words

When Not To Ranger

Even though we emphasize that rangering is not about us, it’s about the participant, it’s also important to know ourselves.  It’s important to recognize when we’re not able to ranger, or when we’re not the right ranger for the situation.  We need to know our limits, and know when to kick it sideways.

Sometimes when we’re off duty, we’ll be called on to ranger, and if you’re sober, and feel that you can, by all means say yes.  But remember that it’s OK to say no, and you don’t need a reason.
It’s always OK to say no.

Say “no” if you’re not sober
If you’re not sober, it is incredibly important to say no, with no exceptions.  We know that intoxicants can cloud our judgement, and we may perceive things differently or react differently, than we would when we’re sober.  No matter how great a ranger we (or others) think we are, we are not as effective when we’re not sober, and in training, we say that an inebriated ranger damages our social capital as a group.
However, it’s not just one sided, and and perhaps we don’t explain the other side enough.

If we try to ranger while intoxicated, we put OURSELVES at risk.  Encountering a stressful incident when our judgments and inhibitions are artificially shifted, may impact US more intensely than it would if we were sober.  We may have a harder time coping with our experience of the situation, and this can have lasting effects.

Say “no” if you’re triggered
Sometimes we find ourselves rangering a situation that triggers  us.  Once we are triggered, we are no longer unbiased, and if our focus is on controlling our own fight-or-flight response, we are not fully present for the participant and their concerns.
Although we say it in training, it bears repeating: If you are triggered, you do not have to soldier through!  Kick it sideways to your partner, and if your partner is also unable to ranger the situation, kick it sideways to Khaki.  You never have to ranger anything that is hurtful to you.

Supporting “No”
As Khaki, we’re here to support you, especially if you need to say no.
You are NEVER alone.
In difficult situations, it’s important for Khaki to be able to recognize when someone is no longer able to ranger, even if the ranger themselves do not recognize it.  Khaki may step in and help ranger the situation directly, or they may call for other resources.  And, even as Khaki, if something is beyond your experience or ability to ranger effectively, it’s OK to say no, and find someone to kick it sideways to.
Our ranger community is growing, and many of us have additional skills and training, but often, we don’t find out until after the fact that someone needed that extra support.  It’s important for rangers to know they can ask for that support, and it’s important for Khaki to know what support is available, and where to find it.

Culture of Feedback
For many of us, rangering is how we express our love for our community, and as individuals, and as a group, we want to keep learning and growing.  In order to do that, it’s important to us that we hear what you think.  Let us know if there are ways we can do better.

Schrödinger’s Ranger

Schrodinger's RangerAlphas! We are excited for you!

As you prepare for your trip to the desert, you are probably thinking about your Mentor Shift, and you might be worried. We are not surprised! We were nervous too.
Until your Mentor Shift, you are Schrödinger’s Ranger, and to help ease your quantum anxiety, we want to offer a few words of advice and encouragement.

First: Breathe.
The path that brought you here is already long and significant. If you think about why you’re doing this, there’s a good chance that your answer is something along the lines of “I like/want to help people”.
Passing or failing a Mentor shift isn’t going to change that about you, and no matter what, your community will still support and appreciate you for all the things you already do.

Second: Rangering at Burning Man *is* different than rangering regionally.
The philosophy is the same, and the tools are the same, but it’s a bigger place, with potentially bigger concerns, and in extreme conditions to boot.
Sometimes folks don’t do well in the desert (for whatever reason), and that’s ok….it doesn’t mean those people can’t be amazing Regional Rangers.

Third: It’s an opportunity for personal growth.
Regardless of outcome, the things you could learn about yourself (and others) along the way are valuable.
You will be with Mentors all day, and they will give you feedback as you go. Try to take that feedback, remind yourself that it’s not personal, and act on that feedback with the intention of becoming a better Ranger.

Fourth: On Bonking
You might not! Don’t let your fear of bonking, or the pressure of being observed let you forget your Ranger Fu. You can do it!
But… if you DO bonk, remember that bonking your Mentor shift doesn’t mean you bonk at being a great person, it just means your Mentors didn’t think you were ready to be a Ranger. Maybe they’ll give you advice for what you need to work on, and encourage you to try again next year. If this happens, I invite you to come home, digest that feedback, and ask for support from your fellow Regional Rangers. We can help you work on those areas that need improving, and we can give you feedback while Rangering local events, so that you can feel confident in trying again.
Maybe your Mentors will tell you they don’t think you’re suited to be a Ranger, and if this happens, remember that you’re not the only one. There are many, many people who are fantastic at all sorts of other critical jobs, and you can take their feedback and funnel it into something that would really benefit from you involvement. It’s also possible that YOU will decide that you’re not ready or not suited to be a Ranger, and you may self-bonk. If your Ranger path ends in the desert this year, that’s ok….You don’t HAVE to be a Ranger, but you DO have to give yourself credit for trying it out, and know that your Regional community will love you, whether you’re wearing a cool hat or not.

Now. Go review your Ranger Manual, familiarize yourself with the map of BRC, and practice making radio calls with a friend. At first, do nothing. It’s not about you. Think, listen, push, pause, talk. F.L.A.M.E. LOGIC-B. I need X, for Y, at Z. You can do it.

And with that, dearest Alphas, we send you into the dust.
You have our love and gratitude, and heaps of support from BC Rangers.
We are looking forward to Rangering with you!