[Ansteorra] RE: Helping Newcomers

Wendy Freeman/Otte wyllowmacm at netscape.net
Thu Jan 3 10:32:40 PST 2002

I was introduced to the SCA via an informal mentoring project in my first barony - members of the local group picked a newcomer to mentor.

I had to laugh at the idea of one person limiting to 2-3 newcomers.  When my family joined the SCA (self, husband, and a baby), the local members in my area decided we were a joint project - I had three mentors tackling me.  Since they were not that far from being newcomers themselves (none were above an AoA at the time), they understood and could anticipate the help and advice a newcomer would need.

They travelled with me to events, helped me with sewing projects, encouraged service and A&S interests, introduced me to the nobles and peers, and gently steered me away from or warned me about discouragements such as "Period Police", abrasive personalities, and bad research habits.

I owe all I am and all I have learned to their mentoring - and can never pay them back.  I can only try to pay my debt forward.

As I said, this was an informal practice - the active gentles of the local group quietly "picked up" newcomers to mentor - no assignments or written agreements, just a community doing its duty.  And it worked well.

--HL Wyllow MacMuireadhaigh

>From: Gormlaith4444 at aol.com
>Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 15:36:21 EST
>To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
>Subject: [Ansteorra] Re: Ansteorra digest, Vol 1 #296 - 9 msgs
>Reply-To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
>[ Picked text/plain from multipart/alternative ]
>Thank you for your responses.
>I appreciate your thoughts and replies.  I think due to life and Society
>experiences some of what I meant to say may have been interpreted differently
>when compared to what I meant in my own mind, thoughts and experiences.  This
>is a good thing.  It means people have thought about what I and others are
>writing and applied it to their own lives and experiences.  Even though we
>all dwell in the same Dream, our experiences and how we interpret them are
>all unique, as it should be.
>Please understand that I would not presume that monitorship should be the
>soul or major responsibility of nobility, nor would I feel it was appropriate
>for nobility or hospitallers to tackle that responsibility alone. Only that
>they might consider participating.  They are busy folks and accomplish more
>than most of us would hope to able to accomplish in five life times.
>Now to continue my thoughts. How many new folks should a mentor take on
>anyway?  Surely not more than one person at a time, and surely not one right
>after the other.  That can be a burn out waiting to happen.  I feel as
>Lightfoot put it, that the job belongs to all members.  However, I plead that
>nobles might consider playing a part for many reasons.  One important reason
>being; it would send out the message to everyone that they are approachable.
>What would it mean to a new person for a noble to mentor him or her?  What
>would it mean to a noble to mentor a new member?  What might a noble person
>learn from a new comer?  The experience might end up to be rewarding and
>educational for all parties involved, allowing for the occasional disaster of
>course.  O course, consider the occasional disaster will happen rather the
>mentor be a Nobel or Society member.
>How much time would be involved?  What kind of commitment would it mean?  I
>suppose that would be up to the individual mentor and what they feel is
>appropriate of the personal demands on their time.  For most it would
>probably involve a few months of answering questions and active participation
>in another person's Society life.  And then you either have made a new
>friend, or the new person has become assimilated enough to have made new
>bonds with other Society members.
>Monitorship is just a thought to be considered.  It might be right for some
>groups and inappropriate for others.  Even if a group is not interested in
>the monitorship approach, individuals can always extend a helping hand, and
>take a personal involvement approach in a new person's Societal life.
>"Damage control," I agree there are those who probably would not do very well
>in this area.  However, as many officers can tell you, mistakes often have
>natural consequences, which can be excellent learning tools.  Personally, I
>would rather see someone trying, and not doing a very good job, than the
>Society be loosing members because there was no attempt made at all.
>Mistakes are made everyday. Is the area of damage control any different?
>There are those who just need the opportunity to learn, and sometimes that
>comes in the form of mistakes.  Sometimes it comes in the form of talent.
>However, some of us are not as talented in feather smoothing as others, but
>that doesn't mean we can't learn.  Nor should we not be afforded the
>opportunity to learn due to the fear of making mistakes. If this were true,
>non of us would be raising a sword, or taking an office, managing events, or
>accepting the responsibilities that comes with accepting awards and peerage.
>Try looking at it this way; either way, "trying" or "avoiding" we take the
>chance of loosing members, which way would be more to the benefit of the
>individuals, groups, or the Society?
>Thank you once again for reading what I have written; for agreeing or
>disagreeing.  Either way, we all become stronger members, for thinking about
>and considering what each other has to say.
>A last note. In editing what I have written, perhaps it is time to put my own
>fears aside, take my own words to heart, and begin to become involved again.
>A new place, a new life, new people to meet.  The side lines have become
>comfortable, time to leave the comfort zone.  Even though I may put it aside
>from time to time, the Dream never dies once it becomes so much a part of
>Good life, and Good Dream be with you,
>Play well my friends.
>Lady Viviana


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