BLACK ROCK CITY, NV - Burning Man is known for its creativity and art but the volunteers who run Mobility Camp are trying to use creativity to make getting around the playa a little easier for people with disabilities.
The camp provides charging stations for medical equipment and loans out crutches and wheelchairs. Staff uses a combination of modified vehicles to take burners with disabilities or injuries, whether they are staying at Mobility Camp or not, on tours around the playa to see the art, the burning of the Man or the Temple of Promise.
“I could never get out that far and so for this vehicle to take us to these art installations has been tremendous,” said Susan Abrahams, who is staying at the camp.
Many who volunteer have personal reasons for donating their time.
“My wife, who passed away in 2008, she was also mobility impaired,” said Paul Giomi, a volunteer.
One of things Mobility Camp is trying to do this year is raise awareness to able-bodied people about how hard it is to get around the playa with a wheelchair. They have set up a course with commonly found obstacles like wood planks and carpet.
“It was really hard, stuff falls out from underneath you, the wheels lose traction, you can't back up, you can’t see behind you, you can't turn around,” said Eric Peden, who tried the obstacle course.
“We are not looking for ADA compliance,” said Katy Tahja, mobility camp volunteer. “We are looking for a way the wheelchair can get through the front of your camp.”
For those who may think their injury or disability may prevent them from coming to Burning Man next year, Mobility Camp has a special message.
“You can do it,” said Tahja. “We will make it happen for you and we have 18 to 80 years old in our camp and we are having a darn good time.”
If you would like more information on Mobility Camp, click the link at right.