[Ansteorra] Newcomer help

prand at postoffice.swbell.net prand at postoffice.swbell.net
Wed Jan 2 21:47:30 PST 2002

I too would like to comment on this subject of making newcomers feel welcome.  I would like to begin by thanking HL John Lightfoot for his kinds words....I am the Hospitaler for the Shire of Seawinds.  I try my best!

I am fairly new to the SCA (less than 3 years)  and I too found it difficult to feel included  in the beginning.   I did not feel unwelcome, everyone was very warm and helpful, but I couldn't find anything to "do".  My problem I think was not unlike many newcomers.....what did I want out of the SCA?  Because I was not interested in fighting it was difficult to find that niche.  If one is interested in fighting, then there are more opportunities for that person to get involved.  (The Shire of Seawinds, has
fighter practice once a week and sometimes twice a week.)  If however you are not interested in fighting then it is a little more difficult to get involved.  Unless the shire or barony that you happen upon is in the midst of planning an event or a demo, or has some project in the works, then there is little for that newcomer to "do" with the group.  A lot of what we do outside of fighting tends to be more independent projects, be it an A&S project, persona development or historical research.

On a personal level, I was very interested in the SCA, so I persisted, I  went to meetings, demos, anything that I could.  Finally a project presented itself that I could really get involved with.  (Yes, Lady Viviana, those wonderful tablecloths....you remember.)  From there my involvement grew and voila here I am trying to help other newcomers find that Dream we all hold so special.

I don't have any sure fire ways to help  newcomers get involved.  I do my best to make them feel welcome, I offer them information and answer questions.  If they have a particular interest, there is usually someone in our shire who is involved in that same interest and I can introduce them. Hopefully that newcomer is interested enough to take the information given to them and go with it.  Unfortunately that is not always the case.  I am also a firm believer that it is the entire Shire or Barony's
responsibility to make newcomers feel welcome.  Everyone was in that same position at one time or another, we just need to remember.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my view of this matter. I have appreciated the suggestions and ideas.

Lady Catriona,
Hospitaler for the Shire of Seawinds

Lightfootcim at aol.com wrote:

> I know this may be a late response to this post, so my apologies.....
> Just last night at fighter practice, I had someone who has been in Seawinds for roughly six months come up to me and apologize saying that he could not remember my name.  I gladly gave it to him and explained that the people in the shire who had been in for a while only had to remember one new name, while the newcomers had to remember 30-50 new names!  It made me realize that even in a close group there are certain people who tend to talk to each other more than others - inadvertantly forming cliques.
> Later, two brand new people came up to me and wanted information on joining the SCA.  We spent at least an hour enjoyably discussing the SCA and what it had to offer.  It really made me feel good!
> I have been in the SCA almost 16 years and up until recently knew everyone in the shire.  We have had a good influx of newcomers recently.  Out hospitaller has done a most excellent job of making them feel welcome, but to really make newcomers feel like part of the group it take more than one person.
> I realized last night that it takes everyone.  It only takes a minute of your time to say "Hi, we haven't met but my name is _____." It could make the difference between someone coming occasionally or someone who becomes a core member and a real asset to the group.
> HL John Lightfoot
> Shire of Seawinds
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