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 do not worry: 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 intentional.
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 are bug experts, and aim to volunteer by sharing their niche knowledge with others. Therefore, it may be to the Apprentice's benefit 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. However, not many of us are scripting or bug hunting gurus! Some Apprentices entering the program will only want to help 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.
So, you might find an Apprentice Buddy who has similar interests and choose to shadow them, depending on what you want. If you would rather have a shadowing experience that does not relate to your own skills or interests but you would like to learn more about an Apprentice Buddy's unique skill, that is okay too, if you can find an Apprentice Buddy compatible with what you are looking for. Some parts 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 then have the option 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. However, please remember that the Apprentice Buddy does not HAVE to change their criteria for completion of the shadowing experience for you, and if you find you do not want to shadow a particular Apprentice Buddy after hearing their shadow experience offer, there is no reason to worry: there may be another Apprentice Buddy offering a shadowing experience that you are comfortable with. Communication here is important, and is one of the major components of the shadowing experience.
- Shadowing Experiences may not exceed one hour of required participation. In other words, you should know without a doubt at the end of 60 minutes of your participation in the shadowing experience whether 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 easy--watch for PG regions and be aware of your surroundings!
- Shadowing Experiences should be a nice combination of fun and function. Have a good time getting to know your Apprentice Buddy and focus on teamwork!
- 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 asked to provide VTeam with their shadowing criteria at any given time for monitoring or dispute resolution purposes.
- The Shadow Experience should give you a helpful hands-on experience for you and not test your skills in any particular Second Life talent. No Boot Camp experiences! Shadowing is not a test! Shadowing should warmly welcome you to the team.
Also, please consider:
- You might feel you are more skilled or knowledgeable than your Apprentice Buddy. This should never be a problem and should not interfere with the shadowing experience. Shadowing is not a test, so try to remember the purpose behind shadowing: take this time to boost teamwork and interdependence, and also remember that in the official Second Life Mentor program your wealth of knowledge will be very much appreciated!
- You might feel like the shadowing experience is not working out for some reason. Talk to the Apprentice Buddy respectfully about this. Apprentice Buddies are asked to host these experiences in a welcoming, team-focused way. 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 and during the shadowing experience.
After the Apprentice Buddy sends VTeam the voucher, please allow up to seven (7) days before being transferred to the official Second Life Mentor group. If after seven days you are not transferred, please contact a VTeam member.
Finding An Apprentice Buddy
You will hear this often in Mentor meetings and at VTeam office hours: volunteering is strictly voluntary! This means finding an Apprentice Buddy to shadow can be easy some days, and more challenging on other days. Apprentice Buddy availability will depend on which and how many Apprentice Buddies are volunteering shadowing experiences at any given time. Here is some advice that can help you find 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 show if an Apprentice Buddy is available to shadow.
Orientation Opportunities: Sometimes, Apprentice Buddies attend Orientations to support Orientation Coaches. During Orientation 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.
Buddy Center and SLVEC: There is a Buddy Center on the region SLVEC which can help you find Buddies. The Buddy Center recently had 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: SLVEC Buddy Panel Manual
Group IMs: Sometimes, Apprentice Buddies may send a message or group notice in the Second Life Apprentice group generously offering their time to host a shadowing experience. If this happens, you may find yourself in a shadowing experience very fast! However, please remember this method of communication reaches a large 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, please understand that the Apprentice Buddy role (like any other role in Second Life Mentor group) is strictly voluntary. Second Life residents 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.
After VTeam's retrieval of your voucher, you may be contacted and asked to take an anonymous survey regarding your shadowing experience. The information acquired from these surveys at the end of each quarter will be one way VTeam measures the effectiveness of the shadowing program. If you believe at any time during your shadowing experience that you are being asked to do something that you should not do, or otherwise breaks the Terms of Service and Community Standards, please contact a VTeam member in-world via notecard as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read about shadowing! Welcome to the team!