Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Sunbeamer Camp for 2017

By Bixyl Shuftan

The Relay Weekend is the high point of the Relay for Life fundraising season every year, and although some of it's areas are "designer sims," most of what people see on the track are the various exhibits of the teams. Since the members of the team meet up at these places, they've gotten the name "campsites." While some are often nature scenes, often they're buildings or something else.

Made up mostly of members of the former Passionate Redheads when starting out, since 2013 the Sunbeamers, the team of Second Life's Sunweaver community, have been part of the Relay. And every time, several of the people have come together to build an exhibit. Over time, the Newser has written about most of the camps in 2013 (2014 picture), in 2015, and of the 2016 camp which won an award for it's educating the visitors while telling the story of a farmer's daughter discovering she had cancer. So how to follow up on an award-winning build? That was the challenge the team, notably the top builders Shockwave Yareach and Cynthia Farshore faced.

"Shocky was the head builder for this year," Cynthia Farshore told me, saying it was "his idea to make an airport terminal, and he laid out the model on my dinning room table. From that we then took things to a build platform the same size as this camp over (Farshore Field),  about two thousand meters, and began piecing it together. He was able to get the size and placement worked out before it came to here." The camp would be at RFL Celebrate (185/130/22).

Around the main build was a parking lot with a few cars, and a couple airliners and a baggage carrier. The entrance would have people going through a security checkpoint, which included an x-ray machine. Before going in, there was a HUD for a game they could pick up. "Gives a passport," Cynthia told me, "You look for the stamps around the camp, Most are in rooms." One stamp, that of the Sunweavers, was somewhere in the entrance area. Past the entrance, there was a round concourse with a number of rooms around it, as well as one in the center. In each a stamp for the game was placed. Finding all of the stamps would get the resident a small prize.

On the walls were a number of posters of locations, but only a handful were what one would expect to find at a real airport, "In true Sunweaver fashion, we just couldn't put up straight posters." One of New York city was a cartoon picture of someone in a taxi getting robbed and two grinning people looking over a deed to the Brooklyn Bridge. Another showed a "Star Wars" Stormtrooper in an icy place, inviting people to vacation in Hoth. Still another "Greetings from Baghdad" showed a plane dropping a bomb as it flew behind two unknowing tourists. There was also a poster titled "United," which made me think of the airliner which had gotten in trouble a few months ago for forcing a passenger off it's plane. In between the comedy and comedic references were more serious statistics, stating how much money various activities in the treatment of cancer took.

Each of the six rooms represented a real-world location: New York City, Bejing, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, and Mexico City. In most of the rooms, information about cancer was placed appropriate to the setting. For the traffic scene in New York, there was information about carcinogens. For the sunbathers on the beach in Rio, there was information on skin cancer. For the nude male statues in Rome, there were facts about prostrate cancer. For the food and outhouse in the Mexico area, there was information on colon and rectal cancer.

There were a couple details from previous builds. One was the prayer tower, which launched balloons towards heaven, people able to place names of those they wished to honor. There was also a memorial garden, with a pink fox statue for Artistic Fimicloud, a resident of the Sunweaver community whom had passed away nine years ago. There were a couple smaller pink foxes in the fountain in front of the airport as well, which when clicked gave some information about "Fimi" as she was called.

They were limited with how much could be built, "land is misleading, shows (it) supports 4687, but turns out they limited us to, what is it, 2500? Guess need room for all the million prim furries that will be coming through." Some last minute work on the build, such as placing another couple panels, was postponed until after the judging of the camps due to Cynthia and Shockwave's real-life work schedules, "when I got on I was so tired after doing an all nighter and working all day. Shocky was no better, so we said we're done." Still, they were happy with what they had accomplished. So was team captain Rita Mariner, "I am happy with the way the build came together. I think our builders did a great job and had some fun doing it."

Skylark Lefavre commented, "I think in my own honest opinion this is the best one we did in a long time. Its in it's own rights a competitor, with teams like 'Aliens Love Tatas Too.' It's not only informative and educational, its also entertaining and visual, something you can participate in, almost like a tour. Using the airport take the tour is a nice touch since an airport represents a way into any part of the world it also shows the education of cancer prevention and treatment can reach any place as well."

As it turned out, others would be impressed with the campsite too. It would be awarded second place for "Best Themed Decorated Campsite." Rita was happy, "Second place and fun doing it." Shockwave was very pleased, especially considering the quality of some of the other camps, "Against THIS level of expertise? I'm ecstatic! Couldn't have done it without all of you!"

And so, once again "the little team that could" made a big impact in the Relay for Life in Second Life, thanks in part to the skill and persistence of it's builders.

Addition: Wildstar Beaumont took several pictures of the exhibit, which can be seen here

Bixyl Shuftan

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