Madelina de Lindesay
lymadelina at earthlink.net
Thu Sep 6 06:56:56 PDT 2007
I must have missed the first part of this discussion, but I think the gist of what you are saying, Wolfie, is that recruiting and retaining new members is a problem exacerbated by older members allowing mundanity to creep into our gatherings.
I think that if that is a problem, it is just a small issue compared to other things such as not being open enough. I guess what I mean is that new members (and even some older members who play very infrequently) don't stay or don't get very involved because they don't feel welcome. I think there is also a perception that if one isn't part of a certain group (such as the fighters or a household or nobility), then there just isn't much for that person to do.
People want to feel like they belong, and when someone approaches a lively group only to have it go quiet or shut down the minute he enters the circle, he immediately feels he is intruding and is unwelcome. Someone may feel excluded because his garb can't compete with that of the laurel standing in front of him (Could we make an effort to offer loaner garb or give newcomers a costuming handout with tips and ideas?) or because he doesn't know any of the songs being sung in a bardic circle (Could we put together a newcomer's song book we automatically hand out?). There are any number of situations like this that can happen without anyone taking notice that they have just lost an opportunity to help bring someone "into the fold".
Another opportunity to encourage newcomers is in planning events. If someone feels like the same people always do the same tasks, he may feel like the market is cornered and never volunteers to help out, which in turn, may increase feelings of not belonging. But if there was a concerted effort to take newcomers in hand and ask if they have some new ideas or if they would like to be such-and-such in training, then they may feel more a sense of belonging because they are able to be a part of the action without having the burden or responsibility of having a particular task weighing solely upon their shoulders.
Things that can help are offering rides or car pooling to events, giving newcomers tips on camping (which they may never have done before), and having communal encampments and making a real effort to put out the welcome mat. (Communal meals can help with this, especially at "away" events.) And as far as younger members go, there need to be more opportunities for them to shine. They shouldn't feel like they can't fully participate until they are old enough to fight. Some things my kids remember fondly are the heraldic coloring books, the scavenger hunts where they had to find certain people at an event to have a story told or a question answered, and competitions (such as bardic) just for their age groups, where people who are experts aren't allowed to enter.
I realize these are just my perceptions and beliefs, and that I'm pretty much out of the loop these days, but I've been a newcomer who became fairly active at one point because of how the group received me. Nowadays, though, the one giant beastie that always rears his ugly head to interfere with participating is the obligation to mundane happenings. My kids are heavily into band, and that pretty much consumes all our free time, but health concerns are a big issue. Logan and I are both unable to set up a decent campsite, and neither of us can sleep on an air mattress on the ground. Until we get a travel trailer, we're pretty much limited to local events.
>From: "j_greywolf at earthlink.net" <j_greywolf at earthlink.net>
>Sent: Sep 5, 2007 10:34 PM
>To: "Kingdom of Ansteorra SCA Inc. Shire of Loch Ruadh" <loch-ruadh at ansteorra.org>
>Subject: [Loch-Ruadh] populis
> i may be all wrong but as kaz said we need more young people . and i seem to hear less & less speaking Forsoothly (sp) not to mention our personas as i get older it seems harder for me to do and i guess it is harder for all of us .especially when we get excited and forget . all though we are not bound to do it just seems that some of us are missing our mark. i know that i am guilty
> and i was just wondering if any one else felt the same way wolfie
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