[Northkeep] update in children policy

faolanmacfarland at cox.net faolanmacfarland at cox.net
Wed May 4 10:00:00 PDT 2005

The big change is two adults, not related to each other, for all 
children's activities.

Guidelines for Children's Officers

The guidelines presented here exist to provide a means of structuring 
youth programs within the Kingdoms of the Society for Creative 

The Children's Office, frequently known as the Ministry of 
Youth/Children/Minors, exists to provide safe, fun, and educational 
activities during scheduled and structured sessions at events, meetings, 
and/or other SCA functions.  Children's Officers are not babysitters, but 
instead are coordinators or teachers who offer age-appropriate means for 
learning and involvement within the scope of the SCA.

Some information included relates to other officers (specifically, 
parental responsibility for children at events and waiver requirements), 
but is added here due to children's Officers often being consulted or 
included in such decisions or discussions.  Children's Officers are not 
responsible for mandating cross-over policies or determining consequences 
for infractions of said policies.


1. Parents or legal guardians (or temporary guardians as assigned by 
waivers) are responsible for children brought to an event. 
Parents/guardians should be aware of their children's location and 
activities at all times while attending SCA functions. 

2. Parents must not expect other adults to supervise or control minors who 
are wandering unaccompanied at events. 

3. As different levels of supervision are necessary for different age 

a.      Children under the age of FIVE should not be left unsupervised by 
the parent/legal guardian at SCA functions, even at planned children's 
b.      In some Kingdoms, a "Sight and Sound" rule is in effect at all SCA 
functions.  Generally, this states that children under the age of twelve 
should be in eyesight/earshot of the parent or a designated adult or 
teenager (as determined by the parent).  As a guideline, it is suggested 
that children in this age range are supervised and not be allowed to 
wander freely at official events (to include demos, meetings, etc.), and 
if in the care of an adult besides the parent/guardian (designated 
babysitter, attending activities, etc.), the children should be checked on 
periodically by the parent/guardian to ensure their safety and suitable 
c.      Children under the age of twelve are not considered suitable 
babysitters for younger children.


In most Kingdoms, two forms are used for parents who allow their minor 
children to attend an event without them.  Minors under the age of 
eighteen may NOT attend SCA events alone, so paperwork transferring 
parental responsibility is necessary:

1. A "designated adult in charge of a minor" form (temporary guardianship) 
allows a responsible adult to act for the parent on behalf of the child. 
In some Kingdoms, this form must be notarized, and in all cases, it must 
be signed by the parent.

2. A "medical authorization" form allows medical treatment to be provided 
in the event of an emergency.

These forms, as they concern entry to the event and not children's 
activities, are generally available through "troll" or via website.  They 
can be requested, depending on the Kingdom, from the seneschal's office or 


Children's Activities are offered as a positive means of encouraging 
children's participation in the SCA and encouraging fun learning about the 
Middle Ages and our organization.  Children's Activities are NOT a 
baby-sitting service for members of the populace (it is expressly 
forbidden for any officer in the SCA to accept responsibility for minors 
other than their own children, or for those they are serving as designated 

Children's Officers should encourage, organize, and/or implement 
activities and encourage others to include minors in all SCA activities 
where appropriate.  They should advance classes, guilds, page schools, and 
other opportunities for young people to get involved in the SCA. 
Children's Officers should demonstrate an ability to work well with all 
ages of children, in addition to possessing the people skills necessary to 
work with parents, event coordinators, and other officers or volunteers.

Local Children's Officers should maintain a yearly membership in the SCA 
(sustaining, associate, or family), and should meet all rules or laws as 
outlined by their home Kingdom.  Some Kingdoms require warrants and/or 
specific applications for the office, and most require regular reporting. 
Please speak to your Kingdom Children's Officer or Seneschal for specific 

Kingdom Children's Officers also should be paid members and follow rules 
or laws as outlined by their Kingdoms regarding warrants, applications, 
and reporting (quarterly reporting is recommended).  In some Kingdoms, the 
Kingdom Children's Officer is also responsible for overseeing planning 
and/or implementation of Children's Activities at Kingdom-level events. 
Reporting to the Deputy Society Seneschal, Children's Officers 
Coordinator, is not a requirement but is encouraged, as is participation 
in the Kingdom Children's Officers email discussion list.  Please do keep 
your contact information updated with your Society Officer.

All guidelines in the sections concerning Children's Activities at and 
away from events (below) should be followed.  SCA Children's Officers 
should be familiar with (and prepared to enforce) the guidelines discussed 
in this document.


1. Official SCA groups must ensure all SCA children's activities are 
approved by the local group seneschal and/or autocrat and by the 
Children's Officer, where applicable.  If the group has no children's 
officer and a volunteer plans and implements the activities, it is the 
responsibility of the seneschal to ensure that volunteer is fully aware of 
all relevant policies and guidelines concerning minors and the running of 

2. SCA Children's Officers or other adults supervising Children's 
Activities have no authority to discipline or restrain children other than 
their own, unless the child is in immediate danger of hurting him/herself 
or others.  Children's Officers will not be held responsible for 
correcting the conduct of children attending activities.  Likewise, as 
parents and children must follow rules attendant to participation in 
events, Children's Officers are not responsible for children who leave 
activities unsupervised.

a. Children exhibiting lewd, violent, or otherwise severely problematic 
behavior at organized activities should be returned to parents.  The 
autocrat and/or seneschal should be notified of the problem if such 
actions must be taken.

3.  Official SCA groups should follow the "Two Deep Leadership" model of 
supervision at all SCA Children's Activities as outlined in a Society 
Seneschal policy (approved by the Board of Directors, April 2005):

"For all organized SCA functions for minors, a minimum of two adults (age 
18 or older), unrelated to one another by blood or marriage, must be 
present. This policy does not relieve parents or guardians from their 
primary responsibility for the welfare of their children. This policy is 
not subject to granting of variance or 'grandfathering' of existing 
For the purpose of this document the following definitions apply:
        Minor:  A person under the age of 18
        Adult:   A person who has reached the age of 18.
Children's Officers must ensure that sufficient leadership is provided for 
all activities, and have the right and responsibility to cancel activities 
if requirements can not be met.

4. Children's Activities should be located as near to main activities as 
is possible and practical, and with consideration to safety issues. 
Caution should be exercised when activities are hosted in a private room 
of an event facility.

5. An SCA Children's Officer should not accompany an individual child to 
the bathroom.  Groups of children may be escorted to the facility building 
by the Officer.  Parents are ultimately responsible for seeing to the 
physical needs of their children.  Additionally, children who are ill must 
remain in the care of their parent, guardian, or designated caretaker and 
should not be brought to Children's Activities.


When planning Children's Activities for fighter practices, meetings, 
workshops, or any other official SCA function, parents and officers should 
be aware that these activities are subject to all SCA policies, Kingdom 
laws, and the above guidelines, and are covered by SCA waivers.  Any 
activities planned "unofficially" at private residences are discouraged, 
as they reach beyond the jurisdiction of the SCA. 

If exceptions are made and official activities must be held at a private residence, the permission of the 
local Seneschal (and in kingdoms requiring it, the Kingdom Seneschal) must 
be obtained.  The following guidelines must also be implemented: 
1.      Children under the age of 12 must attend the activity with a 
parent or guardian.
2.      Children over the age of 12 may attend at the parents' discretion.
3.      The Two Adult Leadership model is still to be followed, with two 
unrelated adults in attendance as long as the children are present.

Parents should be cautious when offered activities away from events that 
are not SCA sponsored or don't meet with above guidelines.  Unofficial 
activities are not regulated or mandated by the SCA, and thus, are not 
protected by waivers or regulations.

Children should be encouraged to participate in a variety of 
age-appropriate activities within the SCA, not only structured children's 
activities.  Depending on age and maturity, children may enjoy helping in 
kitchens, serving feasts, water-bearing, youth combat, archery, and more. 
Policies vary by Kingdom, so parents will need to check supervision 
requirements (whether parent or designated adult should attend with the 
child) and any other rules related to the activity. 

Children's Activities vary in nature, and can include classes, hands-on 
activities, games, and more.  Depending on the size of an event, 
activities may be only an hour or two, a day-long adventure, or even a 
week's worth of learning and fun (as at larger wars).  Children's Officers 
and Activities Coordinators should consider resources, such as volunteer 
assistance, funds for supplies, and available location when determining 
size and structure of activities, and should try within those means to 
meet the needs of a given event. 

Some idea of the type of activities, along with a tentative schedule, 
should be determined before the event for better planning and for purposes 
of publishing the information.  Determining whether or not to attend a 
particular event may be an easier decision for parents who know in advance 
that there will be opportunities for their children to participate, so 
adding information to your Kingdom newsletter event flyer or to your 
group's web site will be very helpful for attendees.

Also, if possible, include Children's Activities information and times to 
your event's program/site book.  A schedule, basic details about classes 
or individual activities, and any applicable rules will be beneficial for 

Work with your autocrat concerning location and resources.  The best 
location for activities is near enough to the main activities as to be 
convenient for everyone in attendance, with considerations such as 
available water and bathrooms in mind, and attention given to safety 
factors.  Be sure to plan in advance for needs such as tables and chairs, 
art supplies, and gaming equipment.

Children's Officers, when planning, don't limit your creativity!  Don't 
presume you must stick to a list of "typical activities" when there are so 
many learning opportunities available.  Some possible ideas are listed 
below to illustrate variety, but please feel free to expand on examples or 
try new things!

1.      Outdoor games can include activities such as bocce, blind man's 
bluff, quests, scavenger/treasure hunts, running games, and archery. These 
outdoor options can provide a fun opportunity for children to enjoy their 
boundless energy between indoor or stationary activities.  Indoor games 
like chess, checkers, or mancala provide great opportunities for 
socializing and offer a nice change of pace from more structured 
2.      Volunteering opportunities can be a lot of fun, especially when 
children can offer services collectively.  Some ideas are water-bearing, 
list running, kitchen help, feast service, or for younger children, 
planning entertainment for feast, making decorations for high table, or 
making gifts for the Crown.
3.      Performing Arts make for wonderful activities but can also provide 
entertainment for an audience.  Kids may enjoy basic music classes, such 
as learning the recorder or drums, European or Middle Eastern dance 
classes, learning to sing period songs, puppetry, theater (which can be 
expanded to building sets and props, costume making and performance), or 
4.      Static Arts and Sciences in the SCA are nearly limitless.  Young 
people can make jewelry, learn calligraphy and illumination, embroider and 
cross-stitch, try their hands at leatherworking, woodworking, or sewing, 
or learn age-appropriate variations of mosaics or stained glass.
5.      SCA-appropriate or medieval history classes can easily be juiced 
up with fun activities.  Kids can learn the different areas and functions 
of a castle while building a scale model, learn precedence and protocol 
through play-acting or by creating "crowns" and other regalia, or study a 
culture though specialized activities (Viking classes could include making 
a model longship, playing the Viking game Hnefatafl, or enjoying a 
"pillage" quest, for example).

Don't be shy of asking other individuals who enjoy teaching all adults to 
share their knowledge with your young attendees ? guest teachers may be 
able to offer new learning experiences in their particular area of 

Plan for volunteers ahead of time, when you can: ask for help on e-lists 
(Kingdom, local, or for other children's officers), talk to your local 
group, advertise in your local group's newsletter, or work with parents 
who are willing to help.  Older kids may want to help out with the younger 
ones, so consider letting them plan an activity, offer ideas, or provide 
some hands-on help.  Also, you can ask parents to give some time in 
assistance if their children are attending activities.

Finally, be flexible, prepared, and easy-going ? the key element is to 
have fun!  Bring back-up activities along in case one or two doesn't last 
as long as you had planned, and be open to allowing an activity to run 
longer if the kids are really enjoying themselves (just keep in mind the 
end time for the session so parents know when to retrieve their children). 

Yseult de Montagu (Audrey Epple), Society Children's Officers Coordinator

Duchess Katerina O'Callaghan, CP, Lady Sorcha ni Dhonnghaile, and the 
Kingdom Children's Officers of the SCA

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