[Elfsea] things for thought

Richard Threlkeld rjt at softwareinnovation.com
Wed Oct 30 15:00:50 PST 2002

Your Excellency,

I have spent much time when I was Seneschal and since then thinking about what makes like good in Elfsea and what could be done to make it better. I believe life is still good in Elfsea, but it could always be better. I have been harping for a couple of years about recruiting and membership. As it is everything gets done, but some people (yes, Wilim I am talking about you and others here) do far more than their "share" of the work.

The SCA is a wonderful place with pageantry, awards for great work, fun camping, the adrenaline rushes of martial arts, the feel of accomplishment, and wonderful friends to share with whom to share this. Under all this is the infrastructure of Marshals to make sure the martial arts are safe for both the fighters and the watching crowd, Hospitalers to help new people learn our world, Exchequers to keep track of the money we need to put on events, Seneschals to see things happen and keep us legal, Chirurgeons to fix the boo-boos, Chroniclers to keep us informed, and hard working members of the populace to setup/takedown/run troll/run security/prepare feasts/etc.

But jobs change causing people to move away. People go back to school or their children join scouts or they take on a second job. Though they agree that life is good in Elfsea, some of us will be reducing or ending our participation in Elfsea. To remain a healthy group we must attract people to replace those who cannot continue to enjoy our company and a few more to grow on.

We have not been as successful at recruiting over the last few years as before. Interest in the middle ages comes in cycles, so we can expect some ups and downs from that. After looking at other groups both in the SCA and outside, I believe some of this is generic trends, some of it is the appearance of many other organizations competing for our time, and some of it is ineffective recruiting.

The only thing we can change is recruiting. We need to think about who we would like to recruit and where they might be found. Our demos are usually fun for us and those who attend, but we need to make them effective for recruiting also. We moved our fighter practice site partly to increase recruitment. Most of those who have joined us have said we were the most friendly group they have ever visited so we are doing most of it right.

Would those of us who are fairly new care to comment on what they found attractive and unattractive about Elfsea? Anyone have any ideas on what to change for better recruiting?

In service,
Caelin on Andrede

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