Everyone who is in Starbase 118 knows about the Training team, for it is responsible for training all new applicants to prepare them to be posted to a ship within our fleet, and every single officer in the fleet today has been influenced by this important group. Today we have Training Team Member Commander Serala who is going to share more about this vital part of our community!
DeVeau: Thank you for joining us. Can you please start by giving us a brief overview of the Training Team and how it supports our StarBase 118 community?
Serala – I think the Training Team is perhaps our most important team. All of our taskforces are important, but this is the one where our prospective new members first interact with our community and learn about us. We become the face of SB118 for them. It is our job to teach the new players how we do things and give them the best experience possible while we do it so they want to come back for more.
Would you please tell us about your background and your current role in the Training Team?
Serala – I joined SB118 just over 6 years ago. I have been an avid fan of Star Trek my entire life, and have over 45 years of roleplaying experience, but this was nothing like I had ever experienced before and I fell in love instantly. And that was largely because of my first experience in the Academy. I had a great group of training officers show me how it was done, and they helped me hone Serala to be the seed of who she has become today. My role in the team is twofold – first, I am a fully trained member, meaning I can fill any role from a class CO, to a mock cadet, depending on what is needed. Secondly, I am also one of three statisticians, which means I help keep our records of who comes and goes in the training academy, both the cadets and the trainers.
What do you feel this taskforce adds to our community and why do you think it’s important?
Serala – I think I hit this one pretty well already, but just to reiterate, we are the first people the new cadets interact with in the Fleet. We are responsible for teaching them the ropes and getting them started on the path to greatness. Our sims help model what a sim should look like for a new player who has never seen one and may be confused on how it works. Additionally, the CO of the class provides feedback to each cadet after each sim to help them improve and become even better. This helps prepare them for when they graduate and are assigned to their first command in the Fleet as an Ensign. It can be a bit daunting for them, so I feel like I am there to help make that transition as smooth and easy as possible.
Why did you choose to join this taskforce and what keeps you motivated?
Serala – I think this was a pretty simple decision for me. First, I love Star Trek and I love this community. I want to see it thrive. Being on this team is a great way to help ensure we have strong writers that will only make us better. Secondly, I was at a point when I first joined that I was looking for a way to prepare myself for hopefully one day becoming a Captain. It was very clear to me that this team was the absolute best way to learn those essential skills and to begin to hone them. Managing a ship is difficult, and I speak only as a First Officer who sees what my Captain has to do. But learning these basic skills is a great way to get the basic skills needed for that eventuality. As to what keeps me motivated? Well, that is also simple: Like I said, I want to see us thrive and I want to do my part to make that happen.
What is the most challenging part of being on this team? What is the most rewarding?
Serala – I am sure everyone is going to have slightly different responses to this question, but for me I think the biggest challenge is having to address the cadets who simply won’t take feedback. That does sometimes happen, and for me is frustrating, but that’s also an important skill to have especially if I am hoping to become a CO. On the other hand, the best part of it for me is seeing the cadets graduate and join the fleet. I have even seen some of them rise up through the ranks and make Lt. Commander. It is very rewarding to know that I had a hand in that.
How do you approach conducting training scenarios for new recruits? Do you have favourites?
Serala – I am not sure how much of this is known outside of the training team, but we have some pre-made scenarios that are meant to serve as starting points for our training sessions. I like to personalize the start of these a bit by having a bit of conversation with my CO or FO (depending on my own role) before entering the holodeck to start the scenario. I tend to make my choice based on the class complement and what duty post each cadet is hoping to have upon graduation. Sometimes it’s not possible to accommodate all of them, but I do try to fit each one as best I can. I am not sure that I have a particular favorite scenario, other than perhaps the one I participated in when I was a cadet, but that one is specifically designed for a single cadet with several mock cadets, so I don’t often get a chance to run it. That being said, though, I actually enjoy the scenarios that place the class in a cold environment because I established from the start that Serala hates the cold, and I love having her grumble about it, even if it’s just internal monologue. I’ve even started to joke in character that whoever programs the scenarios takes perverse pleasure in deliberately placing her in those types of scenarios.
What is a memorable experience or success story from your time training new members?
Serala – Geesh, that is a tough one because I have had several and I don’t want to single anyone out. But I know several writers in our fleet that I have either trained or mocked with that have become Lt. Commanders and I find that very rewarding. At least one that I know of is nearing completion of his requirements for Commander and that is very exciting.
How has your involvement with the Training Team contributed to your growth as a player?
Serala – That is a great question and it ties into something I said earlier. It has really helped me refine and hone my command style, both in and out of character. I have learned some very valuable skills by being a training officer. And some of these skills have even translated over to my real-life job because I have to conduct regular mentoring sessions with my employees each week.
What advice would you give to those who wish to consider joining this taskforce?
Serala – Do it. We can always use more training officers. Also, if you have any command aspirations, this is definitely the team for you. Even if you don’t, being on the team can only help you grow and improve as a writer, and make you a great member of your crew, possibly even leading to a staff position if that is your goal. The more the merrier I say. However, do be sure you have the time to make the commitment, because it definitely can take some of your time when you’re in a class. Talk to your CO and get their input. If they feel you’re ready, take the plunge. You won’t regret it!
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.