[Elfsea] first SCA exposure/'Young Ones' (long)

Kate Rayburn anezka at elfsea.net
Thu Oct 31 14:17:40 PST 2002

> > In the past we have done this by asking a large group of us, "What
> > event, demo, fighter practice, whatever was your introduction
> > to the SCA?" It is interesting to see the results.

My turn...

I have always been facinated by medieval history, so you might say I'd
been looking for the SCA my entire life.  When I went to college (7
years ago) I asked my music history professor (who was odd even by music
history professor standards) where you could hear medieval and
renaissance instruments played today.  He suggested several CDs and said
"But if you want to try it yourself, you should get in touch with the
Society for Creative Anachronism."  Hence, web searches occurred.  I
found the local group (Barony of Caer Mear in Atlantia)  with help from
the #SCA channel on IRC.  I went to fighter practice and got hooked.  I
learned about fighting, basic garb, heraldry, the structure of the
organization and got to help with the Royals children for a reign.  When
I was asked to be Caer Mear's equivalent of MoC (which I don't think
they'd ever had), I was thrilled - except for the fact that it was two
months before I moved to Texas.

When I moved down here for grad school (3 years ago) I was determined to
continue playing since it would at least be something familiar after
moving half-way across the country and to a BIG city.  So more web
searches and this time help from people in Atlantia helped me find
Elfsea.  The first thing I noticed was that there was a canton who met
right down the street from where I was at school.  I had been in Texas
less than a week and went to one of their populace meetings.  I have
never felt more ignored and less wanted than I did at Loch Ruadh's
populace meeting.  I almost gave up on Ansteorra right then.  But I knew
that there was a Baronial fighter practice on Sunday and decided to give
the group another try.  At this Elfsea practice I was immediately
welcomed and introduced around.  I was given a copy of the Scroll and
Atlas as well as several people's phone numbers and email addresses if I
had any more questions about Elfsea.  Since then, Elfsea has been my
home and life has been good here.

On the "Young Ones" topic:
(Disclaimer: A lot of this follows from my Non-profit organisation
mangement training.  There are some SCA specifics and examples as well.)
The standard SCA generation is 3.5 years (yes it is different in some
places).  Most people come into the game and leave again within that
time frame (hence why in some kingdoms it takes 3-5 years to get your
AoA - they want to see if you're in for the long haul).  And at that
generational point you have a pretty thorough understanding of how the
game is played on multiple levels.  Anyone who has passed that
generational point is an old-timer in the eyes of a newcomer.  Newcomers
tend to see people in 3 groups: 1) Newer-Than-Me  2) New-Like-Me 3)
Old-timer.  When I arrived in Elfsea, I was already an Old-timer - sure
Elfsea was different and some things weren't the same, but the basics of
the game hadn't changed in a 1000 mile move.  It did not take very long
to adjust.  Ideally, once you have passed the generational gap the
people groups should change into 1) Old-Like-Me 2) Almost-Old-Like-Me 3)

What I tend to see each time this issue comes up whether it is relating
to "time played" or chronological age is that we (the 'old-timers') as a
group have not made a switch to the new thinking. The phrase "some day
all you 'young ones' will be 'old ones'" shows that fact since it was
addressed to people who had been playing past the generational point.
It shows they will never be considered 'Old-Like-Me' by the ones already
there even though in the eyes of a newcomer they are already an
'Old-Timer'.  The group 'Old-Like-Me' needs to include everyone who has
passed the generational point.  If it doesn't then you will have
problems with retention of people past the newcomer stage.  It is a
direct contributor to burn-out as the people feel pushed and encouraged
and expected to do all kinds of things for the group and yet are not
allowed in the mystic circle of 'Old-Like-Me' by those already there.
It is fine to have a longer generational cycle so long as it is true to
what is actually going on in terms of recruitment and assimilation and
people are treated in a manner consistant with that longer generation.
In Elfsea, we seem (by my observation) to have about 2.5 year
generations, but we treat newcomers like it is 1 year ("You're new -
take an office, join my household, come to all the meetings") and some
treat those who are past that point like the generations are 10 years.

Look around you, look at the people holding offices, holding guilds,
sponsoring gatherings, running things at events.  These things are
typically done by 'Old-Timers'.  Are those people in your 'Old-Like-Me'
group?  If not, why not?  If they've only been playing a year, sure -
but if they've been playing 3 or more, maybe you need to re-examine when
you consider people to be 'Old-Like-Me'.

Getting off my soapboxes now before I hit the 'age-discrimination'


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