Taskforce In Focus – The Training Team

Taskforce In Focus – The Training Team

Training Team Starfleet Academy logo

The Training Team is responsible for training all new applicants to prepare them to be posted to a ship within our fleet.  Today we meet with Training Team member Lt. Commander Robin Hopper so we can learn more about this important part of our community! 

DeVeau: Thank you for joining us.  Can you please start by giving us a short overview on the Training Team and how it supports our StarBase 118 community?

Hopper: The Academy does a lot of heavy lifting! On the one hand, it provides new members with valuable experience, tailored to help them learn the game and get used to the flow of things. It also provides a bit of a buffer for the occasional cadet for whom SB118 may not be the right fit, allowing them to experiment without making such a huge commitment and without disrupting the operations of an actual fleet vessel. Finally, it ensures that everyone in the fleet is coming in with the same basic set of skills and expectations – it levels the playing field and sets up everyone for success. 

Please tell us about your background and your current role in the Training Team?

I’ve been a member of the training team for a few months now, joining after achieving the rank of Lt. Commander. I’m about 2.5 years into my time with SB118 and I’ve recognized, since the beginning, that my success here, and the incredibly supportive and lovely community that we have here, are due in large part to the Academy training process. Joining the training team has thus been a long term goal of mine since my days as an Ensign, and I’m thrilled that I’m now helping facilitate the classes as a First Officer.

What do you feel this taskforce adds to our community and why do you think it’s important? 

Something that has been increasing in popularity amongst tabletop roleplayers is a “Session Zero” – an opportunity for everyone to sit down and hash out rules, expectations, and mechanics before the game really gets going. I think, in many ways, the benefits provided by the Academy are similar to a “Session Zero”, in that it’s a chance for new players to learn the mechanics of our game as well as becoming familiar with the culture and expectations set by our group. At the same time, they all get the benefit of one-on-one feedback and mentoring by the training officers, meaning that they can really hit the ground running and feel confident and capable of jumping into the thick of roleplaying with other, more experienced, players.

Why did you choose to join this taskforce and what keeps you motivated? 

Personally, I think that the Academy Training group is one of the most fundamental things that separates SB118 from many other online roleplaying communities. It’s indicative of just how much time and effort we put into ensuring that everyone is having a good time and that everyone is empowered to continue improving their creative skills at the same time as they progress through the fleet. While the concept of a “tutorial level” might not seem that novel when it comes to games, I think it is a rare and special thing for this type of group to have, and I am eager to give back to this community that has done so much for me. This feels like getting in there at the ground floor, so to speak, and helping give the next group of players the same kind of supportive experience that I had coming into it.

What is the most challenging part of being on this team?  What is the most rewarding?

Participating in any of the taskforces or additional OOC responsibilities ultimately means there’s a time commitment. This could wind up meaning you have a little less time to spend on exploring your own characters’ storylines, or it could mean a little less time spent doing other activities you enjoy. I think this can be a bit of a hurdle for some to get used to, but of course, one of the nice things about the training groups is that they are volunteer-based and short (so you can do it as often as you are able, and the commitment doesn’t last long). As for the most rewarding – I think it’s hard to beat the feeling of seeing cadets who you helped to train graduating, being assigned to a ship, and eventually getting promoted!

How do you approach conducting training scenarios for new recruits? Do you have favourites?

While I’ve only just begun facilitating the training sessions from a Command perspective (rather than just participating as a mock cadet along with the new recruits), I’m personally excited at the opportunity to one day replay the training scenario that I ran as a new recruit. One of the most interesting things about roleplaying, in my opinion, is experiencing the unexpected twists and turns that come about playing with others. Getting to start off the same scenario and seeing the wild and wonderful ways it will wind up being completely different just seems like a ton of fun to me!

What is a memorable experience or success story from your time training new members?

I think each and every one is sort of uniquely satisfying. There’s something that feels ‘complete’ about participating in the training of new members, seeing them figure it out and succeed, seeing them graduate and become members of the Fleet. I’ve had the opportunity to see some of the cadets I’ve trained now actively  playing and writing on their ships… and that’s such a cool feeling. I’ve always thought of this community as almost being a bit familial, and I think that between the Academy and the Mentorship programs run by each ship, there is that spirit of ‘uplifting the next generation’ which gives it that feeling. I am interested in seeing each and every graduate of one of the classes I took part in succeeding here – so feel free to drop me a line and share some sims you’re proud of!

How has your involvement with the Training Team contributed to your growth as a player?

It certainly makes you more introspective, in terms of thinking more intentionally about the choices you are making as a player. Attempting to teach others best practices, means you must demonstrate them yourself, and that means examining your own writing and discovering your own habits and hangups. Additionally, it’s a great way to get hands-on experience with leading a group without the pressure of long-term commitment. For anyone interested in Command within the fleet, I think this is an absolute must. If you can run a training group (which can at times feel a bit like herding cats) and enjoy it, you’re likely a good candidate for leadership/command here – and this gives you the chance to refine and hone those skills before taking on the big chair.

What advice would you give to those who wish to consider joining this taskforce?  

Give it a go! There are various levels that you can be involved in and, to some degree, you can kind of ‘choose your own difficulty’ / amount of involvement, so don’t be put off by the feeling that it’s a big commitment. If you want to give back to this group, if you have skills you think can be transferred to others, if you’re interested in leadership or command here, this is a great place to get started.

Thank you all so much for your insights on the Training Team!

You can read more about the Training Team, including how to join, on the wiki.

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