Apogaea 2016 – Sink or Swim

photo by Daniel Gonzales

photo by Daniel Gonzales

5/17/2016 UPDATE

The Apogaea board voted to not cancel or postpone the event on May 17. Read the update here!

Dearest Apogaeans,

In every endeavor, there comes a time to “sink or swim.” There comes a time to “do or die.” For Apogaea 2016, *this* is one of those times.

I’m not going to sugar coat it: The situation is dire, and we need our community’s help (that’s YOU!) to fix it, so we can come to a resolution.

We have some HUGE challenges to make this event happen this year, and we are on an extremely severe time crunch to do so.

At last night’s board meeting, our experienced safety leads made clear to us that we do not have the necessary preparations in place to safely hold the event as planned. The board voted to give ourselves until tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 5PM to mitigate the current dangers and to insure a safe and successful event.

If we can’t find the needed volunteers in that *very* short time frame, we face postponement or even cancellation of the event. If it comes to that, as responsible leaders and human beings, we will have to make that hard choice, because the safety of our community comes first, ABOVE the desire of each and every one of us to have an Apogaea this year.

Here’s where “sink or swim” comes in…

We need the following things to be in place in order to move forward with the event as planned in June:

    1. An ICS lead. This is the biggest linchpin right now. Without this, the wheels literally come off. You may have heard this term, “ICS” it means… Incident Command System. It’s the protocol that goes into place in the event of a major safety incident (i.e., missing child, tornado, flood, ground fire, hailstorm, etc.) The ICS lead is the person who runs the operation that would get people out of harm’s way if something happened. It could be your loved one, your camp-mate, your best friend. We *cannot* go forward with the event without these protocols in place, and the person to step up and execute them.

      How you can help: call *today* anyone and everyone you know who meets the qualifications listed at the end of this announcement, and put them in touch with [email protected]
    2. More volunteerism. We still have many shifts unfilled, some of them *vital* to throwing a successful event. The event simply cannot happen without these vital volunteer shifts filled.How you can help: Sign up today to volunteer, and persuade your friends and camp-mates to do the same. We are lacking in most departments, but the following are some of the most “mission critical” gaps in the system:
  • Parking – Shuttle Driver + Other Roles – 40+ shifts need filled!! Email: [email protected]
  • Rangers – 40+ shifts need filled! Email: [email protected]
  • Placement, DPW, Gate, and more…

NOW is the time to get involved. Sign up for a shift or two. It really is that important.

The place to find where you fit is: http://volunteer.apogaea.com/

The decision to postpone or cancel the event is not one that we would come to lightly. Countless people have spent countless hours trying to build this event into something safe, amazing, and fun. We *don’t* want to make that hard call. But the safety of our participants is #1. If we throw the event, but without required safety systems in place, we risk paying the ultimate price, and that’d be on all of us. With your help, we may have a chance to get this event over the finish line, but the window is small and our time is short.

So… do we sink? Or do we swim?


Incident Commander Description – do you know someone like this?

The Incident Commander (IC) position is extremely complex and requires personnel with extensive experience and the ability to think holistically (non-linearly). The IC must have the ability to communicate effectively with the public and to bring a cohesive and effective local response organization to bear on an incident in a high-risk environment.

Training in Risk Communication techniques and everyday public affairs should be considered a must. A critical skill is the IC’s ability to bring together the membership of a local response community (over some of whom he/she has no authority) and to form a consensus-building organization

Mission: To manage the ICS organization in pursuing an effective, coordinated, and cooperative emergency response.

Key goals include:

  • Establish incident response objectives and strategies
  • Acquire and apply the most accurate, up-to-date assessments of the situation
  • Supervise an effective, safe, and efficient ICS organization
  • Deploy and monitor resources
  • Keep stakeholders and staff well-informed
  • Demobilize Incident Command

Specific experience working with the Apogaea organization is prefered; other equivalent experience working with similar type organizations will be evaluated.

Shift requirements – on call, 24 hours, ready to respond and initiate an ICS team activation in case of an incident.

This includes a gifted ticket to the event. Any further conditions or accommodations can be discussed.

Share And Enjoy!


  1. Zaskoda

    It takes loads of selflessness combined with a strong sense of personal accountability to make Apogaea happen. It takes those who are willing to take on responsibility and then RISE to the occasion when the time comes. It’s easy to strut around with a sense of self importance months before the event, proclaiming all of the support you intend to give or all of the support you’ve given in the past. It takes a person of substance and value to own up and be there to perform when the community needs that person the most. Apogaea has always happened because despite people like the former, we have always had plenty of people like the latter. Unfortunately, when this balance fails, the event simply can not happen.

    It was a wise move of this year’s board to shrink the event to a more manageable size, reducing the strain on most departments and most volunteers. It was a great gift that land became available to host such a cherished event. It’s beautiful that so many people have come together and worked hard despite last year’s losses. Everyone who has invested so deeply deserves to see their hard work come to fruition.

    I dedicated 5 years to supporting and giving to the Apogaea organization. I was wonderfully fortunate that some hero always rose to the occasion when someone else failed to live up to the expectations they made to the board, to the organization, and to the community. In so many ways, we showed people that it is ok to fail, because you have a whole community here to catch you. This post, to me, reads like a critical moment testing the very fabric of this community. Will the people who can step up and support the event find both the will and a way to do so?

    My heart goes out to all those who have worked so hard this year. It tears me up to imagine a possibility so grim it could disrupt this event during such a volatile and critical year. The safety of attendees is, of course, the most critical issue to ever consider. However, the very life of the event is at stake – an event that has touched thousands of lives and, arguably, saved a few of those lives along the way. Nothing lasts forever, but with a little bit of love from the right souls, Apogaea could stand to live and love much much longer.

    I hope those that can, will.

  2. Rachel Clark

    If I were qualified, I’d hit up that IC position in a heartbeat. In the event that all else fails, shoot me a message, and I will *become* qualified, whatever it takes, to ensure that Apo goes through this year.

  3. Will Sacks

    I will also volunteer for this position. This seems an extremely solve-able problem. I understand there are other problems that need to be solved as well. The community is here to help you solve them. Let us know what they are and together we’ll find solutions forward.

  4. BBBQ

    ICS isn’t a person. it’s a process. it is a system of roles that can expand in scale and scope, and integrate with other resources and agencies as an incident evolves.

    every person in the board and every department lead should be required to take at least the basic intro course, ICS-100.b.

    from this post, it appears what ICS is, why it exists, and why it is crucial to safely managing an event of this size still isn’t understood or appreciated.

  5. Christopher Brian

    I will step up and bring at least 4-6 veteran burners with me to volunteer and fill the parking, DPW, ranger and IC positions if I can have a conversation with the members of the board that are the leads or can delagate the order of importance needed. Please feel free to contact me asap. This will be my 8th Apo so and will do what I and my crew can to help make this event swim!!!
    -Christopher Brian
    The Vibrational Love Tribe

  6. DJ Himstedt

    I am a former fire chief with full ICS training up to ICS 800. It was a few years ago, and I am no longer in an official capacity, but I am qualified and am willing to LOOK at the potential for working ICS. NO promises until I review the situation with those knowledgable about it, but I will do whatever I can. write me.


  7. John Oliva

    I saw the post about looking for someone for the ICS lead and I don’t have the specific qualifications and certifications needed but I have many years of experience producing large events all over the world. During this time we have had extremely complicated situations happen and here is a suggestion of mine: Instead of cancelling the event, I propose asking all ticket holders to pay an extra $5 or $10 or $20 or whatever the extra amount per person would be to come up with the amount of funds needed to hire a professional ICS lead or team. And get whatever else needs to be done hired. Obviously if this fee becomes too high then it isn’t worth it.
    I’ve learned that just about anything can be done when the funds are there. I am confident that almost everyone that wants the event to happen would have no problem paying a bit more for this instead of it being cancelled. And I would also volunteer to assist in this process. I have also emailed this suggestion the missioncontrol email listed.Feel free to email me
    Thank you,
    John Oliva

  8. GregoryB

    I have taken a few dozen ICS classes. As a member of an all hazards Incident Management Team, have filled many roles, but not Incident Commander. The IC role takes on a high liability, and for APO’s World, should be for coordination of on site resources. If a real incident occurs, requiring off site emergency services to respond, responding agencies will do so under the ICS ‘rules’ of their own organizations, providing their own IC with the ability to draw upon additional resources of mutual aid from other agencies.

    There should already have been some dialog between APO, and the local ‘Authority having Jurisdiction’ ( Fire or Sheriff). Now might be a good time to ask them to provide an on site IC, to help manage/monitor the day to day activities of APO, under the ICS concept of Unified Command ( Unified Command, definition is to establish a common set of objectives and strategies and a single Incident Action Plan ). They would be CO – Incident Commanders , one APO ‘dude / dudette ‘ for on site activities, and one ‘qualified’ from the local authority having jurisdiction. If an event should occur that the attendees become evacuees, or several responding agencies become involved, the IC could revert solely to the Authority having Jurisdiction.

    The outside IC may desire to bring along a few fully qualified personnel and/or trainees, More than likely Command and General Staff personnel to support them. The benefit to the visiting ICP personnel, is they could train their trainees to the IC and other positions.. The trainees would be working on their task books, and look at APO as an all hazards event on which to gain experience and work towards becoming fully qualified. If they are local ‘fire/medical guys’, they would most likely appreciate attending such a unique ‘all hazards’ event, rather than working in a typical ‘fire camp’ response.

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