[Northkeep] another viewpoint on the newbie issue

Beth @ Stormreaver.net beth at stormreaver.net
Fri May 24 04:21:30 PDT 2002

*curtsey and smile*  I'm also a newcomer to the Baron. I think I attended my
first "meeting" - to be honest, it was meeting the Hosptitaller Susan (quite
late) after a fighter practice - about 3-4 months ago.  I had previously
subscribed to the Ansteorra Heraldry list and had a negative experience, and
another one at my first event 14+ years ago in Caer Galen, Outlands, which
made me not go back for a really long time.

My first meeting with Susan was wonderful. She introduced me to one of the
fighters that was still around, and encouraged me to come to a
needleworker's meeting, since I'd expressed interest in costuming.  I went
to the meeting with a guest-gift of cookies, and met lots of wonderful
folks, including Their Excellencies.  Despite babbling a lot and generally
giving a poor impression, they (everyone present) were open, willing to
answer questions, and very kind.

So I thought, "This isn't the SCA I feared. Good. I'll stay."  And went to
the next Populace.  There, I met another "new" couple - some folks who had
been around years ago and were just returning. We exchanged shy grins, and
smiled a bunch nervously when Susan asked folks to make an effort to say hi
to us when she spoke during her report.  No one came up and talked to me at
that point, but that was ok.  I took notes about upcoming events,
specifically that prizes were needed for the children's events at Castellan,
and decided what I could do to get more actively involved.  I showed someone
my idea, they pointed me to the right person. Lady Elizabeta was very
friendly and nice and like most folks when offered help. "Sure!!"

I ran into the couple again at the fabric store, and we talked a bit about
being a newbie in the SCA.  They expressed some hurt that no one had talked
to them or even seemed to recognize them. I felt badly for them.

I got myself involved by talking to those who do the sorts of things I like
to do or am interested in. I sent in a poem and some art for the Saga, and
joined the Northkeep list.  At the next populace, the very kind Baroness
Mercedes made a point of saying she liked the poem. I was elated.  Again,
Susan pointed out the new folks.  The only person to come up and say hi was
His Excellency, Sir Robert. He smiled and nodded a bunch while I babbled,
and made some great suggestions of other things I could do, things I might
be interested in.  By this point, I was starting to recognize faces.  I was
sad to not see the couple there (I"m sorry, I don't recall their names. I
have a brain like a sieve.)

I missed this week's populace due to a conflict of scheduling, but I"ll be
there in June, and at Castellan.

My experiences in Northkeep have been good. Their Excellencies have made a
point of being warm, welcoming and interested in what I had to say.  I
immediately volunteered to help do things, and attended a _wonderful_ class
and fabric swap, in which I learned more about natural fabrics than I had
learned in many, many years of costuming on my own. (Thank You to the
wonderful Mistress Talana for her time, and Lady Faolan for organizing it.)
I've found that the best way to become part of a group is to find something
that needs help getting done... and offer to do so. Even if it's just
straightening the chairs after the Populace meeting.

I think a big part of what you get from the SCA and any social group is what
you are willing to risk.  Being new IS difficult, and it IS hard to just
walk up and talk to strangers -- from both sides of the social equasion.

But it's worth it.

Just another viewpoint....

bethany hansen
zubeydah the wanderer

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