Introduction to Shadowing for Apprentices
The Buddy Shadowing process is with aim to provide new Apprentice Mentors a hands-on, team-focused volunteer experience prior to entering the official group. The Buddy Shadowing process requires Apprentices to receive a 'voucher' from an experienced Mentor after taking Orientation and prior to entering the official group. The voucher is meant to represent a degree of hands-on experience as well as stand as an official token representing the Apprentice Buddy's tendency toward teamwork. This should be a positive experience for all involved, and welcoming in nature!
This is your introduction to the shadowing requirement for entry to the Second Life Mentor group. There are a lot of words here, but stay calm: shadowing should be a fun, functional, and otherwise rewarding experience, and this article merely guides you with what you may need to know or refer to to be on the same page as the Apprentice Buddy you shadow. On behalf of VTeam and all Apprentice Buddies, welcome to Shadowing!
The role of Apprentice Buddy in the Mentor Apprentices group is composed of volunteers from the official Mentor group who are able to offer 'shadowing experiences' which provide a layer of experience prior to entering the official Mentor group. After taking Orientation, you may find an Apprentice Buddy who they may team up with for a shadowing experience; this may be done one-on-one, or in small groups. Once the shadowing experience is completed, the Apprentice Buddy sends a voucher to VTeam reflecting your completion of the shadowing experience. To learn more about expectations of our Apprentice Buddies, and information for signing up once you have become an official Mentor, please see Buddy Shadowing.
Shadowing experiences may vary depending on the Apprentice Buddy you choose to shadow. This is not unintentional.
Some Apprentice Buddies will offer a shadowing experience that is more in line with your interests. For example, some incoming Mentors are scripting gurus, or a bug experts, and aim to volunteer by sharing their niche knowledge. Therefore, it would be to the Apprentice's benefit perhaps to match up with an Apprentice Buddy who has an strong knowledge of how to assist with scripting or how to communicate bug workarounds or bug reporting. On the other hand, not many of us are scripting or bug hunting gurus! Some Apprentices entering the program will have a sole intent of helping new residents in welcome areas with very basics, and an Apprentice Buddy may be available who has had many experiences in welcome areas and offers a shadow experience in line with that interest.
In truth, you can find yourself an Apprentice Buddy who does or does not match your interests, and accordingly choose to follow their lead in a shadowing experience or not, depending on what you prefer. If you prefer a shadowing experience that does not exactly speak to your own strengths but you would like to learn more about a niche skill, that can be okay, too. Some aspects of the shadowing experience should remain the same, however, regardless of the Apprentice Buddy:
- Your Apprentice Buddy should give you details on what the shadowing experience will entail at the very beginning. You have the option, then, to ask questions about any expectations you or the Apprentice Buddy may have. Apprentice Buddies are asked to be flexible so that your shadowing experience can be a welcome introduction to the Mentor program. Please note, however, that the Apprentice Buddy does not HAVE to change their criteria for completion of the shadowing experience, and in cases like these, there is no reason to fret: there may be another Apprentice Buddy offering a shadowing experience that is more in line with your interests. Communication here is key, and is one of the major components of the shadowing experience as a whole.
- Shadowing Experiences may not exceed one hour of required participation. That is to say, you should know without a doubt at the end of 60 minutes of your participation in the shadowing experience whether or not the Apprentice Buddy will vouch for you.
- Terms of Service, Tao of Volunteers, and Community Standards must be obeyed during the shadowing experience. This should be relatively easy--watch for PG regions and be mindful of your surroundings!
- Shadowing Experiences should be a nice blend of fun and function. Have a good time getting to know your Apprentice Buddy!
- Ultimately, the Apprentice Buddy is responsible for providing VTeam with a voucher for you which shows VTeam that you have met the shadowing experience criteria the Apprentice Buddy has set. Apprentice Buddies may be responsible for providing VTeam with their defined criteria at any given time for monitoring or dispute resolution purposes.
- The Shadow Experience should provide a helpful degree of hands-on experience for you and not gauge your skills in a particular area of Second Life knowledge per se. No Boot Camp experiences! Shadowing is not a test! Shadowing should warmly welcome you to the team.
On the flip side:
- You may find yourself in a situation where you feel you are more capable of performing a task or sharing knowledge than your Apprentice Buddy. This is to no one's detriment. Shadowing is not a test, so let this not interfere with the intent behind the experience: take this time to bolster teamwork and interdependence, and remember that in the official Second Life Mentor program your wealth of knowledge will be duly appreciated.
- You might find yourself in a situation where you feel like the shadowing experience is not working out. Feel free to talk to the Apprentice Buddy about this. Apprentice Buddies are asked to host these experiences in a welcoming, team-focused fashion. Not all shadowing experiences will result in lifelong best friendships, but you should be comfortable speaking with the Apprentice Buddy with questions and concerns before and after you enter the official Second Life Mentor group.
Upon completion, please allow up to seven (7) days before being transferred to the official Second Life Mentor group.
Finding An Apprentice Buddy
You will hear this often in Mentor meetings and at office hours: volunteering is strictly voluntary! What this may mean is that, sometimes you will have greater opportunity to find an Apprentice Buddy to shadow than others--it will depend on which and how many Apprentice Buddies are volunteering shadowing experiences at any given time. Here are a few methods which can help pair you up with an Apprentice Buddy.
The Availability Chart: Some Apprentice Buddies will express their availability at the following link. Apprentice Buddy Availability
Group Roles: In Edit > Group Info > Second Life Apprentice Mentors > Members and Roles, you can click the Roles tab and select the Apprentice Buddy role to view a list of Apprentice Buddies. This is a quick way to view a list of Apprentice Buddies, but does not necessarily speak to the Apprentice Buddy's availability.
Orientation Opportunities: Sometimes, Apprentice Buddies attend Orientations to support their Coaches. They may even offer to host a shadowing experience following the event. This is one method where the Apprentice Buddy will reach out for Apprentices directly, but may not happen at every Orientation by any means.
Buddy Center and SLVEC: There is a Buddy Center on the region SLVEC. The Buddy Center recently underwent a massive renovation. When you visit the Buddy Center stop at the Chat Master sitting between the two Buddy Huts. Click on Chat Master and he will direct you on what to do next. Complete instructions on using the Buddy Center and the pagers can be found here: 
Group IMs: Sometimes, Apprentice Buddies may put out a message or notice in the Second Life Apprentice group generously offering their time to host a shadowing experience. In this case, you may find yourself in a shadowing experience before you know it! However, please keep in mind this method of communication reaches a broad audience, and if there happens to be a "line" leading to this Apprentice Buddy, the Apprentice Buddy may act in a first-come first-serve basis.
Just one last friendly reminder, if you find an Apprentice Buddy that appears to be idle yet they still will not offer you a shadowing experience after many requests and candy offerings, please understand that the Apprentice Buddy role like any other role in Second Life Mentor is strictly voluntary. Second Life residents in general are often busy, so please respect the wishes of any Apprentice Buddy who has to decline a shadowing experience for any reason. Generally, taking Orientation and doing a Shadowing Experience in the same day will not be common.
Following VTeam's retrieval of the Apprentice's voucher, the Apprentice may be contacted and asked to take an anonymous survey regarding their experience. The information acquired from these surveys at the end of each quarter will be one variable in measuring the effectiveness of the shadowing program. If you believe at any time during your shadowing experience that you are being asked to take part in something that you should not do or otherwise does not conform to the Terms of Service and Community Standards, please contact a VTeam member in-world via notecard at your earliest convenience.