Thu 27 May 2021 7:11PM

Welfare operation mode proposal

A Agata Public Seen by 78

A decision has been made (?)

This is about a new way Welfare can be operating - in short to make it more efficient and reach as many people as possible I want to make it mobile!

Proposer: Me! 

To these who don't know me, I am this year's Lead of Welfare. I was involved with First Aid during the last Kiez Burn. In the regular, non-glitter life I am also a psychiatrist in training so this year I wanted to contribute a bit more in my area of expertise and this is my idea on how it can be done.

People/roles most affected by this proposal

  •  First Aid Lead and Volunteers


My experience from helping to organise First Aid in last Kiez Burn as well as doing shifts there is that it's quite difficult to find volunteers, especially if a volunteering shift means you have to sit it one spot the whole time (so you have no possibility to participate in anything else, even if there is nobody requiring help at the moment). I have done two shifts 6 hours each and frankly, I sometimes had kind of a feeling I was missing out on some stuff - which of course doesn't apply if you have someone requiring your help - but there were long hours in which nobody came.  

Since the event might get smaller, we might have a smaller pool of participants and logically, probably less volunteers. The number of shifts, or rather the time that needs to be covered, stays however the same (at least 5 days, 24 hours each - and I think 6 hours of shifts are the absolute maximum). With Welfare, I think the point is that it's always available - so to do only as many shifts as the number of available volunteers allows makes little sense.

Another point is, I am not 100% convinced the idea of only stationary welfare is the best. I don't know a lot of people that had at some point an idea to actively look for it, even if they might need it. I myself have an experience of going to Welfare while on a bad trip - it's an insane effort to gather yourself enough to actually find the tent, especially if you don't know your way around KB. And that was during daytime, during the night I probably wouldn't trust myself to move from where I have been.

The proposal + implementation

On-call mobile Welfare shifts! The idea is - we still set up a small welfare tent with mattresses, tea and secure a small space for the people to feel safe in. The tent should be next to First Aid station. 

The novelty is, the volunteers are not required to stay in that tent the whole time. If there is nobody requiring help, the volunteers are allowed or even encouraged to cruise through the whole KB area. Obviously they shouldn't be partying or doing workshops, they should be however be around, talk to the people and keep an eye on anyone that could require help maybe but won't themselves ask for it (as it often is while on a bad trip). They would be wearing some easy identification (I am thinking t-shirt saying Mobile Welfare and dunno, angel wings?). I think this way we could reach the biggest number of people - all of those who don't even realise Welfare is an option or are feeling too bad to go through the trouble of looking for the tent.At the same time, I think shifts like this are more attractive for the volunteers - you stay responsible but have no obligation to stay in one spot the whole time and don't feel taken out from the ongoing events. 

One other plus would be a smaller number of required volunteers - obviously two per shift would be best, however with downscaled Kiez Burn I am quite pessimistic about the number of volunteers (considering we also have to find people for Rangers, Site Leads and so on). In the stationary version, it would be unrealistic to make single person shifts if needed (implying this single person has to stay in a single place for the whole shift - in First Aid we did two person shifts also for the purpose of keeping each other companion). I would still love to have two people on a shift (if nothing else, to not leave anyone without support), however being realistic I want to aim small (so to have one person for every shift) and if possible, upscale. In the mobile version, this person can still interact with other people so it's not 6 hours of sitting alone in case nobody needs their help during this particular shift.

What about people that ARE actively looking for Welfare? Well, they are still very welcome to come to the tent! In that case, I would need a tiny bit of support from the First Aid people. I would make it clear that people coming to the Welfare tent looking for support should speak to First Aid, since they will be there anyways. The task of First Aid would be to call the mobile Welfare person through a radio and tell them there is someone in the tent. In that case, the Mobile Welfare comes back to the tent and takes care of this person. 

Another advantage of this is that we can, if required, leave the tent together with the tripping person, for whichever reason. It might be to encourage them to take a shower or change clothes (both a really good method to change mood during a bad trip) or to maybe accompany them back to their camp if they feel good enough to leave the safe space in the tent, or even to help them to find their friends. This would allow us to actively do more than just offer a safe space and tea and also have a better feeling about the fate of the people leaving the tent. In the stationary version, we kinda had to trust that the person saying they are good enough to leave the camp are going to be fine and find their way back. Now we can safely deliver them back to their camp and support system. 

As a last remark I would like to add that in the case a lot of people would actively come to the tent, the volunteers will stay in the tent anyways (so effectively Welfare would look the same as it always did, stationary). I would however like to use this resource more actively and I think it's a shame if someone would have to just sit around and wait if they could be doing something more productive (and more fun for the volunteers themselves) during that time.

For this to work, I would like to make sure that the concept of Welfare, both mobile and stationary, will be shortly explained at the gate so everyone knows it is an option.  

Who would implement this proposal

Me and the Welfare team, if First Aid Team as well as you reading this think it's a good idea :)

What would be the cost (time, money, effort, etc.) of this proposal

No additional money (or maybe a bit to buy angel wings or however we want to make ourselves accessible while being mobile). For the gear we would need a radio (that we have already, just keep one for us). And considering human resources, we would need a bit of support from Welfare - am looking forward to seeing what the affected people think of that :)

What are the advantages of this proposal (relative to the current situation and/or counter-proposals)

- more accessible Welfare that can also actively look for anyone needing help

- shifts more attractive for the volunteers

- 1 person per shift possible if we have little volunteers

- possible to accompany the person back to their camp if needed and deliver them to safe hands of their friends

What are the disadvantages of this proposal (relative to the current situation and/or counter-proposals)

- would require a bit of support from First Aid

-  no stationary person in the Welfare tent 24/7 (but they would be within reach and could quickly come if needed)

- you tell me, what criticism do you have? will expand the list with your points


Please let me know what you think, I know the concept is kinda revolutionary so I would understand if someone would feel very strongly against it. But let's talk about it :) Thanks for reading!  


Franzi Fri 28 May 2021 5:56AM

Hey @Agata, Thank you so much for all your thoughts and passion to bring forward your proposal. I am not the first aid lead this year..I still wanna share some qq's and invite some more people to this discussion. Hope thats alright with you :)

First Aid is supposed to be led by red cross this year and going forward. For all the reasons you mentioned. Not sure you are aware of this? For me this changes the situation a lot since we wouldnt ask "externals" to oversee one of our additional areas. Also, from a placement perspective I wouldnt strongly advice against welfare being next to red cross. (For space - they ll bring their huge army tent, but also for vibe)

Retired welfare leads Dr Goodtimes (I think he is not on talk but maybe you can give him a call and gather his thoughts), @Steffen Lepa I would really appreciate your input on this. I wonder how this will go hand in hand with the wanderers? Since these are the shifts that walk the Gelaende, "collect" people in distress and bring them to welfare. @Cris @tobi (Wanderer Lead any thoughts on this?)

Safety Protocols... welfare as a space but also the welfare lead role is a crucial part in most of our safety protocols. I dont think its feasible if we have an emergency the site lead needs to go "find" the welfare folx somewhere of the gelaende. (That was already tricky last time during my side lead shift and caused mega stress) @CJ Yetman as site lead lead, what do you think? I know you are planning a site lead station and so on. How would that work for your team with a mobile welfacre group?

Visibility: I think if you go forward you need to make sure the welfare teams are visible and clearly distinguished from wanderers etc.

I agree with all points you listed under advantages :)


Alex Kaos Fri 28 May 2021 7:56AM

I like the proposal in general.

I also agree with @Franzi's comments, these all need to be addressed.

Especially that First Aid is outsourced and not necessarily a great environment to have next to Welfare. Having said that I imagine it would make Welfare easier to find for someone in distress (First Aid = Help = Welfare)

I would envision this would create a much more interesting shift-pattern for such a role. But as someone who's done a few site lead shifts, I can say that the walkie-talkies are only 90% reliable. Being in a loud sound zone or at a far end of the map can cause messages to be lost. This could overload the volunteer with a backlog of compounding events that may prove somewhat stressful.

Otherwise I love the idea and bringing some fresh thinking to the topic. And I have nothing specifically against it, so long as the safety protocols and First Aid team are clear and confirm their participation in the model.


Steffen Lepa Fri 28 May 2021 9:25PM

Frankly, given the current circumstances, i would go far further with Welfare decentralization. I expect a very kiez based burn if any. Hence every kiez should have their own welfare faires. Centralized Training session on site or week before for people tested. Coordination of All fairies via walkie talkies with Rangers and meds. Maybe a very small central tent at the outskirts of the area for Hippies badly in need for a calm retreat. But thats just my 50cents, wont get involved actively this year in welfare.


CJ Yetman Sat 29 May 2021 11:51AM

I also love the idea, thanks Agata! But with the same concerns as have already been stated

  • first aid being third party and possibly not a good solution for first point of contact for people who try to come to welfare on their own (an additional possible problem that I see is that they might be busy with an actual medical situation when someone arrives looking for welfare)

  • limitations on radio communication (somewhat unreliable, difficult near loud sound stages, etc.)

@franzi6 Welfare has played a role in the safety protocols in the past.... both as a location (which we can use as a calm, quiet place to have sensitive conversations)... and as a service (relying on the welfare team to be there to support people while in crisis). I have already acquired stuff to build a Site Leads homebase that could probably takeover Welfare's location role in that (though the Site Lead's homebase certainly won't be as comfortable and inviting as Welfare has been in the past), but yes, I agree that it's rather important that the Site Leads are able to get in touch with the Welfare team and get support from them quickly and without a lot of effort during a crisis (or incident).


Veroca R. Sala Tue 1 Jun 2021 5:27PM

Hey Thanks for the detailed proposal. I would like this topic to be moving forward towards a resolution soon.

  • From the volunteer's coordination perspective: I can say welfare shifts haven't been hard to fill in actually. People are usually okay with hanging out there, it's a chill and cozy vibe, with a nice soft area. I hadn't problems with fulfilling these roles ( at least not more than other roles) Maybe is not the most "fun & active" shift, but I assume ppl that want more ACTION will go on and take the rangers' shift for instance. But the model will still work .

    So from volunteers coordination, this proposal would have a green light

  • As a member of the Korg Team:

    - I'm concerned about what the tent is gonna turn into because of the lack of monitoring, not having sober ppl around 24/7, what the tent is gonna become?

    - Iam afraid this this "patrolling-welfare" responsibility will be loaded to rangers, having to keep the tent to its purpose.

    - in practice, Id like to be realistic on this, How efficient is it to go out and seek for people in need of help (amongst 800 ppl) than the other way around?, having the person in need go to touch base.

    - I like the fresh air that the proposal brings in, However, What is the main goal of having welfare at Kiez Burn event?,

    We want to offer a safe and calm space. Id like in that case, to put the focus on those ppl that might need the welfare and not that much on the volunteers filling the shift. I guess we do offer a cool place to volunteer in, with tea, and cookies, and warm blankets, where they can even take a nap. If the worry is ppl being bored at the welfare, then we could change that, I heard something about a tea testing table somewhere. Just to say something...maybe consult the budget available for welfare and see what can be done to make it as cool as possible (?)

    so from the event coordination perspective: Its unclear whether the proposal of an non monitored welfare tent will actually serve its purpose as we know it.

  • Personal point of view

I also put myself on the feet of someone that is not having the best time, and want to go to welfare, but for that has to pass by first aid to get someone to call the welfare volunteer, and feel that I would be cutting the fun of others to assist me which also wouldn't make me feel any better. I think the nice thing about the welfare tent is that we all know its there, and that we will find someone on their feet to have a sensitive conversation.

Most of the ppl taking shifts on site are attending to an event that is actually happening because many other ppl have put probably more than 6 hours work into it; 6 hours at the welfare its a nice gift to the community... the time we invest before, during and after the event I see it as a gift, if we, as community are not willing to do that, then we probably wont have people filling the shifts, and we will see that fail, wich will speak of our community as well...

I Would suggest, if you worry about the boredom on the shifts, maybe get a co-lead to work on the "fun" part, im sure there are plenty of nice things to do on deco, and things to offer, that can keep the volunteers busy if they wish to be, and can make the welfare tent a cool shift❤️


Cris Tue 1 Jun 2021 8:50PM

Thanks a lot, Agata, for bringing up such an interesting idea! Getting and engaging volunteers it's been always a tricky part, and I love the thoughts you put into this.

I, nevertheless, subscribe to all the comments and concerns above, particularly the 1st Aid ones, of course.

From the Rangers perspective, this is overlapping a bit in what they actually do, although I don't see a big problem in that, only that then we have too many people doing the same job (a bit pointless?) But finding Welfare - no one - finding 1stAid - waiting for them to be available - requesting - having them calling on the radio - and then wait, seems to me like a lot to overcome and go through if you're in distress. Not mentioning if that's a Friday-distress!

Maybe, as Vero mentioned, focusing on alternative solutions for the actual problems could be an option. Given this particular year's challenges and the unclear number of people (=unclear number of potential volunteers) I was debating with this year's Ranger Lead @Jessie about prioritizing the most important slots and then opening the rest once more tickets are sold and the important slots are filled. Personally, I'd be ready to keep some hours here and there (those where usually nothing happens) without rangers, if needed to be. Probably that's not even going to be the case, because everything looks good. But maybe this is something you could use in Welfare?

Some other input I'm getting from Monkey-Steffi: Gate volunteers usually have it quite boring after the very first days, could it be possible that they are somehow a bit close to each other and give each other company?


Franzi Wed 2 Jun 2021 6:15AM

@Agata hey just a quick question. How long do you plan to have your advice process running? I am asking cuz I am currently re-writing safety protocols and the outcome of this process needs to go into my protocols. The deadline I got from the board is June 18th :)


CJ Yetman Wed 2 Jun 2021 11:48AM

Having thought a bit more about this… I still like the idea, and I support it, but not at the expense of the existing situation. I think a good amount of people have the expectation that they can go to Welfare and someone will care for them immediately and without any hassle or waiting or searching. Maybe this idea could be integrated with the existing structure? Like if there are always two people on shift at Welfare, then one of them could spend half the time as a roaming Welfare person (unless they got called back to the tent), and one would stay at the Welfare tent so that it’s constantly monitored?


Veroca R. Sala Thu 3 Jun 2021 9:59PM

@Agata how is this going? we would need to close off this before Sunday. Tickets go on sale on Monday and the volunteer's sheet must be ready Sunday afternoon at last so as to allow some time to finish the whole thing up before going live.

How is your timeline? we are moving really fast pace atm. please catch up coz this is happening and apparently without welfare...(?)

I need: Number of volunteers per shift, date and time of first shift, date and time of last shift, length of shifts etc all in this form. Let me know if I can help on anything


River Aleks Fri 4 Jun 2021 7:17AM

@Agata I was Welfare Co lead 2 years ago and I am happy to be a co-lead with you this year again. I have materials and work sheets from 2 years ago.

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