SL Relay For Life 2011 Preview

This weekend will see the “main event” for this year’s Relay For Life activities in Second Life, around which events have been running since March 12th.

Relay For Life is the signature event of the American Cancer Society, and has been active and growing  in Second Life for 7 years. The very first Relay For Life in Second Life (RFL SL), held in 2005 raised almost $5,000 USD for the American Cancer Society, and was attended by a few hundred avatars. In 2010, over $220,000 was raised across the Grid. Events held this year have so far raised of $300,000, bring the total raised over the last 7 years to over $1 million even before the official weekend of festivities kicks-off – a staggering and impressive figure. The event this year is themed on “Seasons of Hope”.

This weekend will see the opening of the official Relay For Life sims, which are packed with information and will play host to a world of events and activities designed to be fun, and to give us all a further opportunity to support the work of the American Cancer Society.

The Events and Activities

RFL SL Welcome Centre

The weekend kicks-off at 10:00 SLT on Saturday 16th July with an opening ceremony, which will be followed at 11:00 by the Celebrate survivors / care-givers honour walk along the RFL SL track – and everyone is invited the line the track and celebrate with these remarkable people.

At 21:00 SLT will be the Luminara Ceremony –  a solumn reflection with readings and inspirational music; sims are darkened for in remembrance of those and their loved ones who have lost their battles to cancer or are still battling it. Again, all are invited to participate and asked to walk the RFL SL track in silence.

Sunday the 17th will see the Fight Back event starting at 06:00 SLT. Pick up your specially made RFL HOPE Cape and Fight Back Flags – available at the Relay Stations,  and join in and make a fight back pledge to save a life this year; your own, a friends, a family member, or someone you don’t even know yet.

Finally, at 10:00 SLT will see the closing ceremony and tribute to all this year’s RFL SL has achieved.

All of these events can be reached via the Relay for Life Welcome Centre.

The activities supporting the weekend are spread across several sims, as follows:

RFL Treatment

The RFL SL autumn / fall events, comprising:

  • Live music
  • Luge / bobsleigh
  • Ice fishing
  • Snail racing
  • Shopping hamlet

RFL Volunteer 

The RFL SL spring activities, comprising:

  • Country music
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Raffle
  • Breedable auction
  • Live & silent auctions
  • Bull riding

RFL Wish

  • DJ stage and hanging gardens
  • Art show and sale
  • Four Seasons Theatre – featuring Alice In Wonderland, short plays, machinima productions & tribute bands

RFL Contemplation

Water activities

The Seasons of Hope water park, featuring:

  • Jules Verne submarine ride
  • Mermaid Cove sandcastle & cabana area featuring reggae DJs
  • Surfer’s cove
  • Water rides

RFL Reflection 

  • Pirate village
  • Naval battles
  • Treasure island
  • Sailing marathon
  • Yacht club
  • Charter ferry to the other water activities
  • Fishing
  • Gypsies and mermaids 

The Welcome Centre and RFL Track

The welcome centre comprises a circular area and flags from the nations of the world, together with a range of information boards that provide more background on RFL, the weekend and the track itself. It operated on a one-way basis, with the direction you should take to work your way around the boards clearly marked. Make sure you pick up the goodies on offer – the RFL guide, pedometer, etc.

Welcome centre information boards

The track itself (reached via a teleport point at the welcome centre), runs through some 34 sims (not including all of the events sims mentioned above), divided into the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn (/fall) and winter. It is here that people can cheer on the participants in the Celebrate walk, and join in the Luminara Ceremony and Fight Back walk. As well as the major events, there will also be themed walks around the track, offering people the opportunity to join in activities in fancy dress, etc.

There are a few simple rules associated with the track: it is a one-way circuit, and slower walkers should keep to the right, please move off the route if you stop to chat or go afk, don’t bring pets that can wander randomly, etc. A full set of the rules is available at the welcome centre.

Looking down the track

The route is lined with donation boxes (this is about raising money, remember!), as features displays and builds put together by the teams participating in this year’s event, which you can explore as you go. With so many sims, region crossings might be an issue, especially if things get busy (to say nothing of the risk of individual sims being down unexpectedly. This has been catered for as far as possible by sim boundaries being clearly marked on the track itself, each of which has a traffic light indicator for the sim ahead: red indicates the sim ahead if either full (avatar-wise) or offline; amber indicates it is subject to heavy use and extreme lag; green indicates all should be OK. However, even if the light for the sim ahead is green, if you can see a lot of folk on one of the walks, you should still approach each boundary with caution to minimise rubber-banding.

The RFL Youthful sim, just off the main track, will be featuring events for younger members of Second Life, including:

Saturday 16th:

  • 10.00-12.00 SLT: Opening and kick-off party
  • 12.00-13.00 SLT: Morgan Canare
  • 13:00-14:00 SLT: Tallyesin Resident
  • 15:00-17:00 SLT: Doctor Who themed party
  • 17:00-18:00 SLT: JennaSue Crosby
  • 20:00-21:00 SLT: LoneWolf55 Genesis
  • 21:00-22:00 SLT: Halloween Costume Hour
  • 23:00-01:00 SLT: Winter Formal Dance

Sunday 17th:

  • 08:00-09:00 SLT: Brett Hansome
  • 10:00-11:00 SLT: Closing Ceremonies

Note that further youth events may also take place.

A famous NYC landmark on the NYHealthscape-sponsored sim

All-in-all, RFL SL offers a magnificent range of displays, activities and events, all in the name of a very worthy and international cause: the fight against cancer. With so much to see and do, I very much hope that all of us can find time to walk the track, enjoy what is on offer and give whatever we can – and don’t forget to visit the event website.