Families at unSCruz: Here Are the Basics

Photo by Jon Chown unSCruz 2023

unSCruz is not a babysitting service. A new child policy is in place for unSCruz 2024 for both the safety of the youngsters in attendance and to protect the art and theme camp installations that make the event what we have all come to love and look forward to every year. 

Perhaps the biggest change for families attending unSCruz this year is that the child policy requires parents to put in a little extra effort before and during the event to make sure they’re following all the rules. 

This change is necessary. As unSCruz has grown in recent years, so too has the number of families and children participating. A clear, concise, written policy is an efficient way to keep everyone accountable in a growing population. The new unSCruz child policy states, in part, “Any damage caused by children is the responsibility and liability of the parents.” 

For the vast majority of unSCruz families, the idea behind the child policy shouldn’t be more difficult or burdensome than daily life in the default world. It’s basic parenting: be responsible for your kids and know where they are at all times; make sure any juveniles you bring to unSCruz know the rules, especially those defining where they can and cannot go; engage with your youngsters, etc. 

At the same time, the unSCruz production team has made it clear that destruction of art, camps or any property at the event will not be tolerated, regardless of the age of the offending participant. It is an unfortunate reality that such destruction has also been on the rise as the unSCruz population has grown, and many of the perpetrators have been kids. 

The creators of the iconic Rainbow Trike Track, for one, reported numerous instances of vandalism and targeted, wanton destruction of their art and installations at last year’s event (not all of the observed destroyers were children, but many were). In late May 2023, merely weeks after unSCruz, the event’s producers were moved to post an advisory on social media about the hazards of leaving children unattended around art. 

“Recent incidents have highlighted the detrimental consequences of unattended children,” says the post on the unSCruz Facebook page. “We witnessed significant damage, particularly to the beloved Rainbow Trike Track, caused by unsupervised children and a handful of parents who clearly have a mis-informed definition of responsible parenting. This behavior is unacceptable and undermines the essence of unSCruz as a community-driven, creative, safe space.”

Art and community—fostered largely by artists and theme camps—are an essential part of unSCruz. The creators who contribute art and activity to unSCruz do so through significant sweat equity and for the love of the community. Just as in any community, these creators and contributors may reconsider coming to unSCruz if they become concerned their work might be destroyed or otherwise overtly disrespected. 

The Burning Man organization’s description of Communal Effort, one of the 10 Principles, adds some insight: “Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.” 

There are a lot of details in the child policy regarding parents’ and guardians’ responsibilities, and it is suggested that all adults who are bringing their children read up and make sure they know those details before arriving at unSCruz. 

Procedure

Part of the new unSCruz child policy requires parents to bring some paperwork to the event and be prepared to provide it to gate staff when they arrive. Hard copies of a signed child registration form, as well as photos of each child you are bringing, are required. Parents are responsible for printing or finding a way to print photos of their kids before arriving at unSCruz. 

Rest assured, parents: those photos of your children and all information printed on your paperwork will be kept confidential. The photos and paperwork will be locked up during the event and destroyed immediately after unSCruz is over. 

Families who arrive at the unSCruz 2024 gate without the required paperwork for their children and accompanying photo(s) will be sent to “D lot” until staff can help them, likely delaying their entry to the event indefinitely.

  1. Thank you UnSCruz!
    Rambunctious kids may do stuff that would put adults in jail. It is nicer to release them to parents than to cops.

  2. Why are you requiring pictures and consent for medical treatment? How can the main burn happen without this but you need it?

    Will you have a record of everyone that accesses the pictures and information throughout the event? Can you prove that none of them will record the information you are going to destroy with their phone?

    Why do I need to give you permission to give my child medical treatment? Are you a doctor, and do you know my child’s medical history? If it’s a simple band aid, why do I need to sign? If you’re giving them something they could have an adverse reaction to, I don’t want you to do that. I don’t want anyone without medical training to do that.

    This seems really anti-kid.

    • Personally regarding the question about child pics, I would say after several unattended children destroyed art, requiring rangers and unSCruz staff to spend time searching for parents. This method allows us to connect children with their parent while also ensuring we are releasing the child to the custodial parent who registered the child. This is the solution we have chosen and will see how it works at the 2024 event.

      No copies will be made, and all will be destroyed post event.

      We appreciate your understanding of this requirement. There will be no exceptions. Regarding the medical release, only those with medical training will perform treatment.

      unSCruz is not anti-kid, it’s more anti-bad parenting. We are pro-family and community and want to keep the event safe for everyone: artists, children, people without children and parents. We also opened up volunteer opportunities for tweens for Leave No Trace. Keep in mind if you don’t like the policy, you don’t have to bring your children.

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