ANST - How to involve young folk: Was tangent on rider/warrior thread

Russell Kinder russmax at
Wed Jul 1 12:16:34 PDT 1998

Lady Aurorae,

Your post brings up a good many topics, any of them good for discussion.
Three that I can pick out are
1. SCA vs. Fantasy and LARP.
2. SCA vs. Ren Fair.
3. Attracting and keeping teens, the future of the SCA.

For the 1st topic, I think we have to say that the SCA isn't appropriate
for everyone. If a person really wants elves and spells and such, then
LARP is a good outlet for them. On the other hand, you state that most
of these folk are under 25. What do they do when they "grow up"?

I'd like to point out that the SCA is fantasy, too, to a large extent.
I'm not really a 14th century Frenchman, after all. Perhaps the SCA is a
more suitable fantasy when one has outgrown the gaming aspect of LARP
and wants to be recognized for one's own abilities and merits.

On the 2nd topic, SCA vis a vis Ren Faire. At first glance we would seem
to have much in common with the Rennies. They have a bit more penchant
for the fantastical, it's true. However, the point to their game isn't
history or fantasy, but theater. It may not be very good theater,
sometimes, but that's what's on the minds of most of the players at the
Ren Faire. For them, the point is not to re-create another time and
place for themselves, but for an audience. You mentioned that your
college friends felt like spectators. Their point is that they want to
be the stars, and everyone else should be watching them perform.

If you were to look at the bios of most Ren Faire players, you would
find that most of them have extensive background in theatre, singing, or
some type of performance art. Most of them grew up with aspirations of a
performance career. Maybe they didn't make the cut for a professional
acting career, or they preferred the costume and mindset of the
Renaissance, or perhaps they have obligations that don't permit them to
commit to pursuing a performance career full-time. A Rennie told me that
the Ren Faire is the last refuge of Vaudeville.

For the 3rd topic, I think it has been covered pretty well in this
thread, already. I remember back to 1980, when I started playing the 1st
time (at the age of 16). If I hadn't been allowed to fight, I'm sure I
wouldn't have been interested in sticking around. 

I think we are still well able to attract teens who aren't interested in
fighting. It seems to me that a good many SCAers don't fight now. What
keeps them playing? The truth is that there is lots else to do, if
you're not interested in fighting. I don't think the future of the SCA
is in jeopardy. However, I do think that, in the future, heavy and light
combat within the SCA will gradually wane in importance. In fact, this
is already happening.

If combat in the SCA is important to us, I think we should investigate
ways to let teens begin to get their feet wet, so they don't lose

Guillaume de Troyes
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