Trained by the best: Maxwell Traenor | UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG

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Trained by the best: Maxwell Traenor

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Do you remember your time in the Academy? Hopefully it was a positive introduction to our community, thanks to the efforts of our dedicated and experienced Academy Training Team members, like LtCmdr. Maxwell Traenor, First Officer of the Darwin.

You may not realize how much time goes into making our training experience professional and streamlined, but it’s actually a highly tuned machine that not only helps bring in new members, but also train our future commanding officers in leadership skills. That is why this particular team is so important.

Today, we’re going to be talking to another member of the Academy Training Team. This month’s featured officer was suggested by all of the Academy Training Staff unanimously!

WOLF: Hello LtCmdr. Traenor, and thanks for sitting down with me to talk more about our training program!

TRAENOR: The honor is all mine. Thank you for extending this opportunity!

How long have you been a part of our community and how did you find it?

I’ve been with the fleet now for about 18 months. I have done this style of Star Trek Play-By-Email roleplaying for nearly 20 years off and on, and after a hiatus, I was ready to find a group to join again. Though I researched several groups, Starbase 118 had hands down the most comprehensive sense of community and engagement. From the wiki to the forums, from the play style options to the training program, everything seemed so much more cohesive and polished than anything else I could find out there. And, the group has exceeded my expectations ever since!

Besides the Academy Training Team, what other OOC activities have you been involved in?

I’ve dabbled in a few things, until I found a few OOC groups that fit my styles and abilities. I’ve been an active member of my ship’s Staff, of course, performing wiki work and the various other wonderful things involved with helping a ship run smoothly. Fleet-wise, I’ve been a judge for the recently completed Graphics Contest, I attempted to assist with the Characters Guild, I contributed a little to the Publicity group, and I was a judge for the Top Sims Contest before becoming facilitator for that contest.

How did you get involved in the Academy Training Team and what’s been your favorite part about it so far?

Like most players with aspirations, my initial draw to the Academy Training team was as a means to meet my requirements for advancement in the fleet. However, a funny thing happened along the way – I found it to be much more enjoyable and fulfilling than I had expected. My own mentor, FltCapt Renos, instilled in me a great sense of responsibility in fostering and supporting learning players through mentorship, and gave me some wonderful tools to succeed in that aspect. When it came time to participate in the Academy, I found those tools and lessons served me to great effect, and I’ve derived great satisfaction from not only attempting to help new cadets succeed, but from learning from and getting to know the fellow trainers. The Academy Training team is a great cross-section of our fleet, and with everyone striving towards one goal – doing their very best to give the greatest first impression and chance of success to prospective members – it makes it a really enjoyable and humbling place to participate.

How has your perception of the Academy Training changed since you were a cadet?

Being part of the team now, it really hammers home how much selfless effort and work goes on behind the scenes. Each member of the team participates to the best of their abilities, on top of their normal ship and fleet obligations, and it’s not always easy. Thankfully, it’s almost always fun!

Did you make any mistakes in training or wish you had done anything differently?

As a cadet? I wish I had been more vocal in my admiration and appreciation to the trainers. If you’re out there now, let me say: Thank you so much! As a trainer, there’s always regrets about the ‘one that got away’. If a cadet is not successful, one always wonders if they could have done more, or tried harder. Thankfully, the Academy Training process is well documented and set up wonderfully, so that as long as you’ve followed the step by step guides, you can take solace that you gave the proper effort.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned?

Patience, and teamwork. To be fair, I’ve learned these skills from being part of a ship’s Staff as well, but the Academy Training program really distills the essential skills for being a steward in the fleet. Patience, because you cannot foresee every situation, and sometimes a deep breath and a calm demeanor is the best thing to see you through an Academy Training class. Teamwork, because the trainers are all there for one goal: the success of the cadets. Often, the teamwork aspect of the Academy Training team is its greatest strength, and one to be used as often as possible. There’s a good reason why the Academy Training team is an integral step to a Commander rank and stewardship in the fleet, because it really does help you learn the skills necessary to thrive in an enhanced role in the fleet.

What advice would you give to someone who might consider joining the Academy Training Team?

Do not face the Academy as just a checkmark on a list of requirements to meet your Commander prerequisites. The skills you learn, and the fun to be had, are well worth the effort! I’ve found the experiences I’ve had with the Academy Training team to be formative, and like to believe that they have helped to make me a better, more well-rounded player both IC and OOC.

What advice would you give for new cadets who are joining the group?

Haha, easy. Just do it! Starbase 118 is one of the longest lasting, most premiere Star Trek PBEM roleplaying groups for a reason! Your trainers in the Academy want you to succeed, and all they do and say is designed to give you the tools you need to thrive with the fleet. Soak it all in, emulate the examples that you see, most importantly, have fun, and before you know it you’ll be enjoying yourself as a new Ensign on one of our fine ships!

About Tristan Wolf

FltAdml. Tristan Wolf, real name Jordan, founded UFOP: StarBase 118 – a Star Trek Play By Email RPG – in June of 1994. He previously served as the Commanding Officer for a number of simming installations, notably the first of StarBase 118 Operations. He currently lives in San Francisco with his partner and their Humane Society rescue dog named Baxter. Jordan works in politics, loves scifi (natch), fantasy, and new technologies.
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