Enculturation Mission Statement: As a focal point for volunteerism, education, and expression, Enculturation creates and promotes a vibrant Center Camp filled with opportunities for the citizens of YOUtopia to explore new ways to participate in our Event, as well as supporting the volunteer needs of the entire Event. Enculturation at Center Camp supports LNT, Volunteer Coordination, Please Department, Center Camp Stage, Playshops, and Onsite Sales.


Volunteering is an important part of being a YOUtopian as well as a member of the San Diego Burning Man community and world at large. We invite each and every YOUtopian to view themselves as an artist, volunteer, crew member, and participant. Whether you’re building an art installation, helping a neighboring Theme Camp with their LNT, assisting participants upon arrival with Transportation, or running amok creating a smile on every fellow YOUtopian you encounter - you’re a pivotal piece in the puzzle. YOUtopia exists because of the hard work and dedication of our community of artists, performers, Theme Camp organizers, radically self-expressive participants, and, hopefully, you: the members of our talented volunteer team.

Volunteering is a great way to meet people, get involved, get your hands dirty, and have serious amounts of fun. Whether it’s your first time, or you’re a seasoned and sautéed YOUtopian, we’ve got a spot for you to help make magic happen! No experience necessary – just a desire to learn and be an active part of your community!

What do YOU want to do for YOUR community? What can YOU bring to that blank canvas that we call YOUtopia? Let us know by filling out the form below.

And now to answer a few of your Frequently Asked Questions:

Is there a deadline to submit my volunteer application?

The deadline for submitting Volunteer Applications is Friday, September 21st at  11:59pm. The deadline allows our Volunteer Coordinators time to sort and perform complex mathematical algorithms to find the best fit for each volunteer. If you already know you want to be a part of making the magic happen this year, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible as some teams fill up before the application deadline.

Do I get a free or discounted ticket for volunteering at YOUtopia?

Everyone, including the YOUtopia Event team, buys a ticket to attend. No one gets paid to make any of this happen; YOUtopia happens because of the hard work of volunteers year-round.

YOUtopia appreciates the time and efforts of dedicated volunteers like you who help to make our Event possible. In recognition of that appreciation, YOUtopia offers a $50 discount ticket available to all volunteers in good standing from one or more of the prior two years (2016 and/or 2017). If you volunteered in 2015 or any prior year, you will be required to pay the full ticket price.   To become a volunteer in good standing, YOUtopians contribute 18 hours of their time during the Event, including at least one shift on Friday or Saturday (yep, you gotta work - at least once - while everyone else is playing).  Advance training for certain department teams require pre-event, in-person training.  Note, this training does NOT count toward your volunteer hours.

If you’re a volunteer in good standing, you’ll receive a discount code for your ticket. If you’re new to volunteering at YOUtopia and can’t afford a full-priced ticket, you can apply for a Low Income Ticket here

Make sure to sign up to volunteer early and get to know your department. Or a bunch of departments.

Can I come early and/or stay after the Event ends?

Only those with authorized early entry will be admitted to the site before the gates open to the general public at 12pm on Thursday, October 18th. You will be told specifically by your YOUtopia Department Lead or the Volunteer Coordinators if you're authorized for early entry.

Everyone except those participating with the teardown crew must be off-site by 4pm on Sunday, October 21st.

Do I get to eat?

We practice Radical Self-Reliance which means that each of us is responsible for bringing everything we need to survive for four days in the woods, including food. While we do have a Commissary available to feed many of our crew and volunteers working very long shifts to get our city up and keep it running, we're not always able to accommodate everyone’s unique dietary restrictions and requirements. Please come prepared.

Your team lead will let you know if your shifts qualify you for one or more meals at the Commissary.

Do I have to purchase a parking pass?

All cars will need to purchase a $10 off-site parking pass.

If you want to camp with your car, you can purchase a car camping pass for $75.  No passes will be sold at the gate. Car camping gives you an approximately 10×20 space for your vehicle, your tent, cooler, and personal items.

Carpool! Carpool! Carpool! YOUtopia aims to Leave No Trace and Leave It Better, which includes reducing our carbon footprint.

Where do I camp?

While there is no designated volunteer camp, you are free to camp wherever you’d like, as long as it’s not within one of the areas marked off by City Planning for Theme Camps or Art Installations. Avoid the bushes though and watch out for the poison oak!

YOUtopia is built on Theme Camps, and Theme Camps are organized by people like you. Please feel free to camp with your friends, camp on your own, or join one of the many Theme Camps that make up our city. Perhaps you’d like to organize a volunteer camp?

I have an RV. Do I need to purchase an RV pass?

Yes. If you would like to bring an RV, you have two choices:

  1. You can either purchase an RV pass with Hook-ups (in Area 1) during the main sale for $250 (36 assigned spaces with hook-ups include water and electricity only). Passes go fast, so hop on it! 
  2. You can apply for an RV non-hookup pass which will be placed by City Planning ($225). To apply, please fill out the RV Placement application here.


  • NO RVs will be placed in Areas 6 & 7, so space within a Theme Camp will depend on placement on the mountain and space available. 
  • Filling out the RV Placement application does not guarantee approval. If approved, you will notified and sent a special link to purchase your pass ($225).
  • No RV passes will be sold at the gate.
  • Placed RVs (not in Area 1) do not have hook ups for water or electricity.


Glad you asked! Examples of the various volunteer teams are described on this page. Come to our Volunteer Fair to meet them in person and make a love connection!


Volunteer Fair

Sunday, July 8, 2018
1pm til 7pm
CoLab, 6055 Fairmount Ave.
San Diego, CA 92120.


Playshops & Performances Support

Playshops provide activities like that early sunrise yoga, to a lesson on how to plant your very own unicorn, to an open dialogue about what it means to be a Burner. This team coordinates workshops, YOUtalks, and activities hosted at Center Camp. As wide-ranging as the imagination, they sometimes need a little support with those yoga mats or unicorn seeds.

Center Camp

The Center Camp crew helps maintain spaces where YOUtopians can gift their participation by stage managing, sound tech support, and promoting programs during the Event. We also help with drop-in volunteering. If you have a passion for the 10 Principles - Center Camp is for you!

Fire Safety

Fire Safety keeps the fire alive at the Event, while keeping us safe from lighting ourselves, others, and anything other than approved art and performance on fire. They’re also the hard working crew that facilitates safety classes at the Event to give you your first opportunity (or perhaps your 7,456,398th opportunity) to light up your fire.


Greeters are the folks who welcome participants with open arms into YOUtopia, while making sure you know where you’re going, answering your questions, and getting you to your place of party as fast as possible! Greeters work with Gate and City Planning to make entry nice and smooth.


This crew ensures you have adulted properly by acquiring a ticket, parking pass, and have left your dog, cat, or small farm animals at home. They will also search your car for the glass you weren’t supposed to bring, including pickle jars and mirrors! This team works with Greeters, Ticketing, and City Planning to help you reach your desired destination.  They do accept compliments and bribes, although they’ll still need to see your ticket before they’ll give you a wristband to enter YOUtopia.   Critical thinking and communication skills a must. Love for black clothing and loud music a plus.

Leave No Trace

The Leave No Trace (LNT) crew makes sure participants do just that, leaving a pristine location when the Event is over. They help educate participants on minimizing ecological impact and “Pack It In, Pack It Out” principles.

City Planning

Starting with site visits, City Planning lays the groundwork for the Event. They spend most of their time on-site, marking off Theme Camp, art areas, and assisting Road Warriors in fitting everyone into the city. They know not only how to put the puzzle together, but also how to create it with oh-so-sexy maps.


These are the peeps who’ll ask you to fill out and sign innumerable forms waiving your rights to your life, including but not limited to your house, pet gerbil, and second cousin. They will also check in your children and take a lovely family photo so we can match families and keep everyone safe and happy!


This team makes sure all of our hard working volunteers get fed, doing our best to meet the dietary needs of the crew. We set up tasty food prepared offsite and serve it while having fun! We organize meal flow, wash kitchen utensils and equipment and serve up yummy foods! (Please note: We may not be able to accommodate all dietary restrictions and preferences).

Please Department

The Please Department supports the service of all other YOUtopia volunteer crews. They’re a team of wild, hard working, do-it-yourself characters, whose mission is to ensure members of the Event team take care of themselves by delivering food, snacks, breaks, and overall fun. When not caretaking for other departments, they can usually be found instigating shenanigans somewhere in the Event.

Road Warriors/Parking/Traffic Control

All hail the Road Warriors who make sure we can all fit comfortably in the Event. Working closely with City Planning, Road Warriors have a good handle on mapping out how exactly to fit all the cars, RVs, and other vehicles into the Event. They’ll also kindly ask you to move or be moved if you find yourself parked in the wrong area. Road Warriors control the flow of all traffic at the Event, addressing issues and making sure everything is smooth and safe for participants.


Transportation crew keeps it moving by facilitating shuttles and art cars to help cruise participants around YOUtopia in style. Transportation also provides ADA Shuttle Service for mobility-challenged participants and other YOUtopians to enjoy the Event. Seeking volunteer drivers and co-pilots.  Please note: Volunteer drivers will need to provide proof of a valid driver's license and meet certain age requirements in order to operate an Event vehicle.

Wolf Pack (Setup & Teardown)

Abiding by their motto, “First To Come, Last To Pull Out,” the Wolf Pack are a die-hard crew. Literally building the Event from the ground up, this crew sees to it that the infrastructure for our fair YOUtopian city is in place for the Event. They are also responsible for disassembling everything at the conclusion of the Event so our city leaves no trace.

Coffee & Ice

The Coffee & Ice team is all about creating a fun vibe and getting people what they need.  If you're a social butterfly who can handle the occasional rush of hippies in-need while maintaining your basic math skills and sense of humor, we're the team for you.


Rangers roam the city providing assistance to YOUtopians in need, be it conflict resolution and peer mediation, helping participants locate medical support, lending an ear or a helping hand, or giving directions to the nearest portos. Rangers walk the grounds in pairs equipped with radios, ready to offer help when needed. Please note: You will need to have completed Black Rock City or Pacific Southwest Ranger training in order to volunteer on the YOUtopia Rangers team. Training opportunities may be available prior to the Event. Contact the Ranger team for further details at rangers@sdyoutopia.com.


The Dispensary crew are the people you need to see to check out (and back in!) Event equipment or supplies you need to get your job done. This team staffs the Dispensary during open hours and keeps meticulous records of who took what, where, and when.


Media captures all those magic YOUtopian moments so we can relive them again and again. Connecting videographers and photographers with participants who want to have that special event captured - Media keeps it classy.


Please contact the Volunteer Coordinators.




Apply Online