ES - Are we welcoming enough?
zarazina at flash.net
Sun May 17 21:30:04 PDT 1998
Llywelyn and I have been very pleased to see this introspective look at the Barony's hospitality factor. Like every single officer in the SCA, the Hospitaler cannot do their job alone. They are a focal point, or a team leader, that can energize an SCA branch. Everyone of us needs to help whenever we can and where ever we can.
Obviously, we all have limits to our own energy, and in order to share our love and enthusiasm, we must have enough energy to help others feel comfortable here. I have been a hospitaler and deputy hospitaler myself, and know the physical work that goes into that office. It is very important to have deputies. Even if someone is new, they can help with the loaner costumes and feast gear. And the regulars who are busy in other offices can always whip out a new t-tunic or donate some feast gear from a garage sale. *Everyone* needs to help in this effort. Mentoring or fostering is an excellent way to let new people feel at home.
We need new people as well as other SCA'ers who have dropped out for awhile. It can be difficult to know *how* to reach out to people sometimes. In the park, are people interested, or are they just watching from a distance? If the old-timers are coming back with harsh and bitter memories, how do we deal with their recitations of these memories? They have to talk it out and understand that it is OK that they left and that they are welcome back. Some of the memories are as bitter as divorces. But just like a divorce, there must be a healing that takes place before growth can occur. At some point, they have to give up their bitterness and learn how to trust again.
Our Barony may not be the perfect place for everyone. Finding an SCA branch that you feel comfortable in is a difficult thing. In our Region, we have a lot of cross-over between Baronies, Shires, Cantons, and Colleges. At least we have enough groups that people have a choice without having to travel long distances.
If you haven't found the right group, please don't give up!! Go to the guild meetings, work troll, help with the children, but please don't sit on the back row of court and get upset when no one notices you. I knew someone once who never volunteered for anything, sat around with a forbidding look on his face, and pouted because no one spoke to him. Come to find out, everyone was afraid to talk to him because he looked mad all the time!!
The best thing that we can do is to welcome those that we can, help maintain the hospitaler's office of the Barony, and to sustain those who bear the burdens of office - from Seneschal to Minister of Children. The other thing we can do is prevent any in-fighting or nasty politics. That has scared away many potential newcomers. If it looks like the group has fun together, people will want to join. If people are stabbing each other in the back......well, I sure wouldn't want to play with them, would you?
Elfsea is a good place to live, with many wonderful people here. If there is anything that Llywelyn or I can do personally to help welcome people more, please let us know. Sometimes we get pretty busy and might miss out helping where we can. You have our e-mail addresses. Please contact us directly if you need to.
Your loving Baroness and friend,
Zara Zina Theanos
"Life is Good in Elfsea"
"Keep your kid off artificial colors"
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