Camp Council & Pillars

Camp Council

Camp Mystic has elected a core Council to help make some of the big decisions at camp.  In recognition and gratitude for their generosity and contribution to Mystic, we want to share with our community who they are:


Mystic Council - Cosmic Cowboy Jonathan Yudis

Camp Mystic Council - C-Rex Timothy Johnson

Jonathan Yudis
(aka Cosmic Cowboy)
Camp Co-Founder, Culture Lead,
Camp Co-Lead Pillar
Timothy Johnson
(aka C-Rex)
Camp Co-Founder, Mystic Flyer
Lead, Camp Co-Lead, Mystic
Arts Foundation,
Transportation Lead, Pillar

Camp Mystic Council - Joy Semion

Camp Mystic Council - Brian Wasserman


Joy Semion
(aka Captain Tea)
Kitchen & Meal Plan Lead.

Mark Read
(aka Perseus)

Brian Wasserman
(aka Medicine Man)
Layout & Placement Lead, Pillar

Eric Zale
(aka Power)
Welcome Wagon Lead


Camp Pillars

Our NEW Pillarship model...
Our arms are WIDE open to thousands of visitors as we are a highly interactive and welcoming camp with inclusivity and belonging deeply rooted in our hearts and values AND, we are given a limited amount of space which can hold about 200 spots each year at the burn. We keep our camp at this size so we can both create amazing interactive offerings that are well supported by our growing community and also maintain an environment where everyone feels like they can connect as a tribe and we can feel love, safety and belonging with their fellow Mystics to form life long friendships both on and off playa.

Starting in 2022, we are implementing a new membership model that puts our service and offerings to Black Rock City at the center of this selection process. We have elected representatives to hold the 5 pillars at camp. They will each be holding one of our 5 core values and one major area of camp. Their role is to read these applications and choose who they'd like to give their allocated spots to this year from those that represent that value and who plan to play a key role in the area of camp that they are holding. Given the high demand for our spots this year, this will allow us to give those spots to those that are in the spirit of Burning Man and of are representatives of our culture.

Here are the 5 Pillars and their respective areas of camp:

Camp Elders

Camp Mystic wants to also acknowledge the people who have formerly participated on the council and have contributed radically to helping create the history and legacy that is now Mystic.  Our elders are:

Camp Mystic - Gaby Sundra Red TutuCamp Mystic - Raj Sundra Benevolent KingCamp Mystic - Ibrahim Pink HatCamp Mystic - Eleanor Blattel

Gaby Playa Mamma Sundra       Raj Sundra, Benevolent King             Ibrahim Husseini                            Tara Divina  


Camp Mystic - Ali Shanti

 Camp Mystic - Cory Glazer CorazonCamp Mystic Council - Richard Pauwels (Hanuman)


 Ali Shanti                                      Richard Pauwels             Bryan Franklin            Jennifer Russell
                                                                                                 (aka Nimitae)                (aka Genevieve)                              





What is the Camp Mystic Council?

It is the governing body and guiding authority for the maintenance, stewardship and ongoing evolution of camp mystic.


How does does the Camp Mystic Council operate?

It operates at all times through the presence, participation, and contributions of its members. Council meetings and gatherings are held throughout the year for the purpose of serving camp mystic and its members and community.

Presently, there are 8 scheduled meetings (through online calls/ chat groups) with the intention to also have one additional in person council meeting. In addition, the council assists in leading in person ‘all camp’ gatherings such as camp mystic’s opening and closing circles at Burning Man plus monitors our Camp Mystic Council RedLine Slack Channel.


Who are the members of the Camp Mystic Council?

Presently, the members of the camp mystic council are:

Timothy Johnson, Jonathan Yudis, Brian Wasserman, Joy Siemion, Eric Zember, Mark Read, Alex Frost, Camille Bourlette, Maelyn Gandola, Adam Kubeczka, James Endicott, Eric Gilliom, April Little

What specific functions does the Camp Mystic Council serve?

The camp mystic council serves to govern and guide as is required.

It serves to support camp and its director, co-leads, team leads, and members.

Ideally, it serves in the background, behind the scenes, as a foundation upon which the various leadership of camp can be supported.

The council serves as the foundation and inspiration for ‘camp culture,’ which includes our values, presence, and contributions to burning man and the world.

It also serves in the capacity of key decisions that affect the direction and ongoing evolution of camp. These decisions are not intended to impede the general management and operation of camp, and should be decided upon by the council (i.e. population size, camp dues, budget approval, culture, large purchases)

(NOTE: Council is presently creating guidelines for how such decisions are nominated and a system for how to arrive at the best possible resolution.)

The council also serves as camp’s governing body for conflict resolution. If and when there are serious conflicts that arise within or involving camp mystic, its members, leadership, or within the council itself, the council is responsible to arrive at the best possible resolutions and outcomes to such conflicts.

(NOTE: Council is presently creating guidelines for how such decisions are nominated and a system for how to arrive at the best possible resolutions.)


What are the responsibilities of Camp Mystic Council members?

Being a member of the camp mystic council is an honor and requires taking responsibility for such membership. It requires a willingness to take the time and energy to best serve camp mystic and the responsibilities of the council.

Presently, this includes (but is not limited to) full participation in the camp council calls/meetings (currently 8 annually, 6 mandatory & 2 recommended but optional based on the council members direct involvement with camp related issues for that particular year) and making best efforts to participate in key decisions, votes, and resolutions to issues that arise and/or conflict resolution as is needed for the camp.


How are Camp Mystic Council members nominated?

Existing Council Members may nominate new prospective council members who are veteran mystics (camped with us for 2 years or more) who are planning on attending Burning Man and camp with Mystic for the next 2 calendar years who have the following attributes:

  • An ongoing vision and commitment to making Mystic Evolve and continue to Thrive & Inspire

  • An Open mind & Heart and ability to truly listen and consider differing perspectives and opinions

  • A willingness to be selfless and be of service leading at least 1 team at Mystic

  • The confidence to speak one’s mind and Vote accordingly (even if it’s against the grain or status quo or other popular opinions)

  • Someone that has their own Idea’s and can be a ‘problem solver’

  • Having enthusiasm, optimism, and passion in life

  • The ability to take responsibility for one’s self and honor one’s word, and commitments


Is there a defined size limit to members of the Council?

Ideally the council has an Odd number of between 9 - 11 members.

Are there pre-requisites to being a member of the council?

  1. At least 2 years camping with Camp Mystic

  2. Commitment to come to the burn in the current year

  3. Commitment to Lead at least 1 team in the current year

  4. Participation in One 2hr call each month during the Burning Man Season (Jan - Sep)

  5. Participation on our Slack Council channels and any relevant team channels

  6. A passion for participation and involvement with camp mystic and embodiment of our core mystic values.


How long is a Council members term of service?

2 Years, and automatically renews if the criteria above are met

If a council member resigns, when and how are they replaced?

As soon as is possible or necessary.



Council Guidelines for Inspiration:

The following are guidelines for council members to better understand the intentions and ideals of the council and how to be of greatest service to it.

  • Each morning upon rising, and each evening before sleeping, give thanks for the life within you and for all life, and for the opportunity to grow a little more each day. Consider your thoughts and actions of the past day and seek for the courage and strength to be a better person. Seek for the things that will benefit others (everyone).
  • Respect others and respect the council. Respect means "To feel or show honor or esteem for someone or something; to consider the well being of, or to treat someone or something with deference or courtesy". Showing respect is a basic law of life.
  • No council member or person should be made to feel "put down" by you; avoid hurting other hearts.
  • Try not to interrupt people who are conversing.
  • Speak in a soft voice, especially when you are in the presence of those to whom respect is due.
  • Never speak about council members or others in a negative way, whether they are present or not.
  • Show deep respect for the beliefs of other council members.
  • Listen with courtesy to what other council members say, even if you feel that what they are saying is in disagreement with your perspective. Listen with your heart.
  • Respect the wisdom of the members incouncil. Once you give an idea to a councilmeeting it no longer belongs to belongs to the collective. Respect requests that you listen intently to the ideas of others in council and that you do not insist that your idea prevail. The clash of ideas can bring forth the spark of truth.
  • Once a council has decided something in unity, respect demands that no one speak secretly against what has been decided. If the council has made an error, that error will become apparent to everyone in its own time.
  • Be truthful at all times, and under all conditions.
  • The hurt of one is the hurt of all, the honor of one is the honor of all.
  • To serve others, and to be of some use to: our council, camp mystic family, tribe, burning man community, and the world, is one of the main purposes for which we are here.
  • True happiness comes only to those who dedicate their lives to the service of others.
  • Know the things that lead to our collective well-being, and honor them.
  • Listen to and follow the guidance given to your heart. Expect guidance to come in many forms; in prayer, in dreams, in times of quiet solitude, and in the words and deeds of friends, loved ones, and the wise Elders of the council.


Camp Interactivity

Our camp is an effortocracy  - he or she who puts in the effort gets to decide.  This reflects our value for ecstatic contribution.  Camp Mystic has 40 teams that work together to bring the mystic vision to life.  We've launched this website and various automated systems which allow us all to showcase the events, art, and music at camp plus it's a tool to get everyone register, get their dues paid, get them organized and participating on one of our teams.  

We've also created our team lead training program to help get more mystics involved, informed, and ready to make stuff happen.  Our camp mates believe in 3RC - Radical Compassion, Radical Collaboration, and Radical Contribution as one of the most involved camps at burning man.  Everyone at camp participates in at least one of our teams.  Everyone participates in our opening and closing ceremonies.  Everyone participates in our strike and leave no trace.

We are a close community and our tribe not only interacts for a week together in the desert but interacts all year round at various events we host and through our highly active Camp Mystic Facebook group.  


Leading and ParticipatingOne Of Camp Mystics Many Teams

Here's a link to a document which talks about how to lead and participate on one of Mystics many teams which you will signup for during registration where we encourage each Mystic to signup for at least 1 team and up to 3 teams.  Some of these teams have pre-playa work others have on-playa shifts, all Mystics help with strike on Sunday!

Camp Mystic Team Participation


Budget Process

Our budget process is to ensure that we end each year either with a net zero balance or in the positive and to ensure that no one is spending Camp Mystic funds without first having it approved and entered into the budget.  Here is the process:

  1. PRELIMINARY BUDGET:  Treasurer puts together an early preliminary budget post burn in October/November after having received Post Burn Surveys from the tribe and taking feedback about which projects mystics collectively would like to fund.
  2. COUNCIL APPROVAL:  The council members hold a meeting either in Oct/Nov or in Jan/Feb to discuss Post Burn Surveys and go over the preliminary budget to approve and vote on the various projects we plan on funding. During this time all infrastructure related costs (storage, transportation, grey water, water, power,etc.)  should be finalized with actual costs.
  3. TEAM PAGE UPDATE:  The teams that have been allocated a budget for that year will be have that budget updated on their team pages by the Treasurer so that that team knows how the maximum they are approved to spend 
  4. TEAM BUDGET APPROVAL: During Registration in April/May mystics will indicate whether they'd like to lead one of oru 40 teams.   Team leads are then responsible for putting together their vision, haves/needs, build plans, breakdown plan, and an itemized budget for approval (send via email to Treasurer at  Teams will be encouraged to use our current inventory of items first, to crowdsource or have donated what's needed next, and then if anything can't be sourced for free will add those items to their budget in an itemized format and submit that to the Treasurer for approval prior to spending any funds or expecting reimbursement.  The deadline for submission of an itemized team budget is July 1st.  Approval will be given within 10 days of submission.
  5. REIMBURSEMENTS:  Large items that need to arrive early with the build crew should be purchased by Treasurer.  Smaller items can be purchased after approval by their respective team members.  These receipts can then be sent to the Treasurer and the Treasurer will reimburse through the paypal account of the teams choice.  These reimbursements will be made withing 2 weeks from the day Treasurer receives the receipts unless purchases were made while Treasurer is onplaya in which case reimbursement will happen within 2 weeks of returning from the playa.  
  6. PREPAYMENT:  Pre-payment of items can be requested by a team member to the Treasurer on a case by case basis to avoid creating a difficult financial situation for the purchaser.  Make sure all items requesting pre-payment have been sourced and priced specifically so that an accurate amount can be transferred via paypal to the purchasers account.
  7. CONTINGENCY:  We have held $1000 in contigency for emergencies and items that are CRITICAL to running camp mystic smoothly.  This contigency amount is for things that could not have been forseen prior to finalizing budget (July 1st).  Things like handling our infrastructure and fixing broken or misplaced items.  

NOTE: ITEMS NOT PRE-APPROVED IN THE BUDGET WILL NOT BE REIMBURSED BUT CAN BE CONSIDERED  YOUR GIFT TO MYSTIC WHICH WILL BE SUPER SUPER APPRECIATED.  Many Mystics have gifted us items through the years that have created incredible beauty at camp and given us quite an incredible inventory of stuff to work with each year.  Make sure you look through our inventory before thinking you need to purchase new items.