IMAGINE a tool that could bring together geographically dispersed Soldiers and their Families as interactive avatars. The space would provide a venue for group activities including live music performances, games, fitness activities and team meetings.
Army OneSource, a service of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, is making this a reality, developing a Virtual Resiliency Campus within the Second Life virtual community.
“The Virtual Resiliency Campus will heighten the awareness of existing programs and services, while expanding the Army’s ability to interact with Soldiers and Families in a modern, safe and interactive virtual world,” said Shaunya Murrill, chief of Outreach and Strategic Integration within the command’s Family Programs Directorate.
“The campus contains five centers that were specifically designed to complement the five dimensions of strength that serve as the cornerstones of the Army’s Comprehensive Soldiers Fitness Program,” said Murrill. “These centers are physical, emotional, social, Family and spiritual.”
Ron Huggler of Installation Management Command’s office of the chief of chaplains noted that chaplains and counselors would be accessible in the virtual world in the future. In the meantime, virtual kiosks promote the Army OneSource phone number, 1-877-811-ARMY, where visitors can seek help navigating most of the Army’s support services.
Huggler says any material found in the virtual campus can also be accessed at www.spiritfit.army.mil or a garrison chaplain’s office.
“Both (Second Life and the website) have the same purpose, and that is to help Soldiers, Family members and DA (Department of the Army) civilians,” he said. “Both sites are geared to help anybody wherever they are on their spiritual journey.”
Although it is still in a developmental phase, Soldiers are already using some areas. As an example, “Camp Phoenix,” hosts events for warriors in transition. Rather than requiring wounded warriors to physically report in a daily formation, “Camp Phoenix” holds daily virtual formations, both for accountability and to give leadership an opportunity to address all the warriors at once.
Additional applications will emerge as the Virtual Resiliency Campus continues to develop. The campus is accessible through the armyonesource.com portal.