low numbers in univ. groups

Jeanne C. Stapleton jstaplet at adm.law.du.edu
Wed Jan 22 18:03:44 PST 1997

> Well, we have probelms with numbers in my barony IN SPITE OF being
> in close proximity to a huge university in a huge city. We suffer in
> the recruitment area because of a nearly-invisible fighter practice
> location (you'd miss it if you blink) and on-again, off-again
> reception of new folks.
Actually, many major cities do have small groups in their core.  San 
Francisco is a prime example.  The L.A. area is large numbers-wise
because it is a series of cities and largely (outside of the downtown 
areas) in a single flat plane.  New York City does have a group, but 
I don't know how big it is.  Boston's group is large largely because 
of the boroughs--which are the many university groups that dot the
area.  In Seattle, the barony there is large, but almost no one lives
in downtown Seattle.  When you get to the east and south areas of 
King County, there are two cantons. Why?  greater concentration of 

> I see the solution as twofold -- promotion and reception. Neither
> can adequately function without the support of the other. 
I agree wholeheartedly.

> Promotion is surprisingly easy -- easier than most folks think. (I
> work at my city paper, btw, and have been active in entertainment
> promotion for years.) Usually it only takes a phone call or two to
> set up a running blurb in your newspaper's events calendar. 
> Talk to an entertainment editor and ask him/her to do a feature on
> some aspect of your group -- something specific and engaging, not an
> article about the whole organization. How about a feature on getting
> the local 'troops' ready for Gulf War? About someone building a
> siege engine? About someone studying some lost art? If you've got an
> angle, the SCA makes great, colorful copy ... good photo material
> too!
This is always a two-edged sword; journalists love to swoop in on the 
weird elements, and we always had a tough time getting them to talk 
to the chatelaine in the relatively simple angel gown over the 
barbarian fringey in fur.  If you're prepared for it, well and good.  
The other problem comes from people thinking they're going to a "ren 
faire" and expecting to be entertained.

But I agree in principle, an occasiional dose of publicity can be 
just the thing--and can help put the SCAer dropped out becuase of a 
move back in touch with the group.

> Having a fighter practice in a visible location, even if it's just
> once a month, can be an awfully positive thing, too ...
> Now you've done a little bit of promotion and folks are starting to
> show up on the sidelines -- GRAB 'EM!!! Make sure your members know
> who to send newbies to, especially if they're interested in A&S or
> fighting or something specific ... during my first fighter practice,
> I was bounced around to a half-dozen folks before I found the
> Hospitaller and Knight's Marshall. Be engaging, enthusiastic and
> don't make new folks feel like dopes when they ask questions. Not
> everyone was born with the knowledge of what a vambrace or aventail
> is.
> And it may sound goofy, but maybe a nice banner saying INFORMATION
> could be hung on a fence or something and the Hospitaller could hang
> out nearby ...
> Folks, I think you'd be stunned by the number of people who discover
> FOR YEARS. It's just a matter of letting them know that we're here.
I have to agree with this last.  Well, I agree with all of it, but I 
felt particularly strongly about the last bit.  I was fortunate in 
that I found the SCA young, but I'd been thinking that such a group 
ought to exist and wanted to form one when I got older.

> Gnith
> <swhite at cimedia.com>
Countess Berengaria de Montfort de Carcassonne, OP
Barony of Caerthe
Kingdom of the Outlands

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