July 29th, 2010 by Marianne McCann
Two weeks ago was Camp HardKnock, which was one of the best events I’ve been at in SL. after four years in Second Life, and attending every birthday, burn, winterfest, and other thing, that is not something I’m saying lightly.
For those not in the know, let me paint a piccie f’r ya. For about nine days, 100+ avatars (few are all logged in at once) share two second life regions. In that time, these avatars remain on site (barring the occasional sneak away). At the end of this week or so, the majority of those same avatars want the experience to not end. Most will be about when the next camp is announced, standing in line for the privilege of paying a stack of Lindens to come back.
What happens during those nine days that counts, though. The background is this. It’s a sleep-away camp, where all of the participants (child avatar campers and teen/adult avatar counselors) play a part. It a place for games, cabin wars, dances, parties, competitions, and just about anything else that can be brought to the party. There is nearly always something happening – and even if there’s a dead time, there are games and other past-times all over.
It’s a time for some serious fun. You’ll hear laughter — both canned gestures and voice chat guffaws — all over the place. Everyone is always cracking jokes, being silly, and just having fun. The jaded cynicism I see so often across the Grid does not tend to seep into Camp HardKnock. It’s amazingly refreshing.
The event brings together old vets – like me – with new kids. A majority of child avatars stick to the places they know, particularly their family homes and neighborhoods. Many of us are storeowners and builders, and spend a lot of time in our workshops. Some are alts that usually end up not getting a lot of time while other avatars hog the screen time. Here, we come together, form and strengthen our friendships, pick up tips and tricks (and a metric ton of gestures) from each other, and just… grow.
Few who go through Camp HardKnock leave the same as they were when they came. That might be the biggest thing about it. It’s something special, and not what you’ll find elsewhere on the grid.
At this camp, like all the others, I took a pile of piccies. You can see all of mine on Snapzilla. If you want to see a bit more, set aside about an hour and watch the “Designing Worlds” coverage. It’s about the most positive, honest coverage of anything involving kid avatars in Second Life that you’ll ever find. If anything, it is a shame there is such a stigma towards child avatars. People could learn a thing or two from events like this.
Will I be at the next camp? Look for me near the front of the line again, ready to sign up for a bunk!