I love my job here at the Vibes. I appreciate getting to talk to the many different types of people who make up the VibeTribe. By far, my most memorable calls leading up to Vibes 2011 were from 3 or 4 different moms & dads sending their children off to the Vibes, in some cases, for the first time.

They were all-grown-up hippies to a certain extent; their real concerns focused on what would keep their young adults hydrated, comfortable, and fed during four music and fun filled days. I spent quite a bit of time talking to these parents, discussing the ins and outs of how the festival works, where and when their kids can eat, etc. I was asked to offer my ideas of foods that could be sent along like Rice Salad, and other things that can be served cold in a cup with a spoon on the way to the next band. My favorite festival “make ahead” food is an Asian Cold Chicken Salad served in a cup or a lettuce wrap.

Fall brings the previous year’s festival to a close and the crew spends our time looking forward to the next amazing Vibes. Early December is pretty fun here at HQ. It’s not too busy and there is a lot of energy in the air. Tickets have just gone on sale for Tie-Dye Friday, and every call reflects how much people are looking forward to summer for themselves, or how excited they are to give a holiday gift of summer to someone else. I get to spend a bit more personal time with each caller this time of year, which I enjoy.

The most special of all the calls this winter was a call from a woman whose son was challenging her for Christmas. Her daughter wants a coach bag, an iPad, and this and that and the next thing. Her daughter’s list was long. Yet, her son wanted nothing. Except… …his Gathering of the Vibes Ticket. So while I processed Mom’s order over the phone, she asked me about some other things like “Must Have’s” that she could get her son to add to this gift. She wanted it to be something special, to make her 20-something believe in Santa again.

We talked about some big items that always make camping more comfortable: A five day cooler, two-plus size tent, 10×10 pop up shade tent, a portable propane grill (and, of course, a fire extinguisher), battery lanterns, and flashlights.

I directed mom to the Vibes Message Board Community, where we host a page of all the best things to bring – It’s a LONG and daunting list, but it’s one of those “take what you need and leave the rest” threads, with tons of great ideas.

For me, my must haves are:
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  • My favorite camping chair
  • Air mattress
  • Old sunglasses (I leave my favorites at home!)
  • Baby wipes — in a ziplock and in the cooler — perfect for a mid day refresher
  • Baby powder
  • Extra toilet paper – if you want to be a hero bring two and share!
  • Bug spray
  • Cowboy hat — looks cool and keeps my nose from burning up
  • Sun block — for shoulders and other spots my hat won’t cover
  • Cell phone charger (yeah I know)
  • Flashlight (mini LED light on a wrist cord is PERFECT for navigating the campgrounds at night and avoiding tent ropes)
  • Mud boots
  • Separate coolers for beverages and food — keeps the food safe, since we all know that beverage cooler gets opened more than anything else!
  • Frozen blocks of water (they melt slower than cubes and keep everything good and cold)

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I thought about how lucky this young man was to get all these fantastic gifts from Santa this past holiday and how much better his Vibes 2012 experience will be this year for it. It was fun to share my camping experiences and be a little holiday elf.

I guess that is what I love most about my job here. I get to affect the VibeTribe in a positive way, personally and directly.

Happy camping VibeTribe!