[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
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.
PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES FOR CHILDREN AT SCA EVENTS
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.
WAIVERS AND PARENTAL CONSENT FORMS
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
SCA CHILDREN'S OFFICERS
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.
SCA SPONSORED CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES AT SCA EVENTS
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
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.
SCA SPONSORED CHILDREN'S ACTIVITES AWAY FROM EVENTS
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.
PLANNING & RUNNING ORGANIZED CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES
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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