It's Fun to Play in the SCA... once you've figured out what's going on!
If you are new and have any other questions about the Barony, please contact Mistress Rosanore. She is our Chatelaine, an officer of the group whose job is to welcome new people, tell them what we are about, introduce them to others, show them areas of study, point them to other knowledgable people and show us off. All while being especially nice, too.
That's an easy one: Show up at a meeting. We're all regular folks. We have jobs and other interests, but a love of some part of history draws us together. Our regular meetings are very casual and we're pretty easy to talk to... but in a barony this large, you might have to introduce yourself... a few times. Please do!
Locations and directions are on the meetings page. There's also a link to an interactive map where you can get directions from anywhere. We have weekly baronial meetings for the entire populace. Every meeting has announcements and a chance to talk to old friends or make new ones. People bring projects they are working on, ask questions about where to learn things, and just catch up. The meetings page also lists other activities and when they meet if they have regular meetings. If they don't, just contact the person listed and express your interest. (Hint: People are really happy to talk about their interest if they are listed there!)
It can seem that there's a lot to learn when you start out. We have a set of classes to help with that. Classes occur at our regular meeting on the second Wednesday of each month.
Written by Mistress Alys Katharine of Ashthorne Glen, AS XXIV (1990). Permission to reprint with credit is granted.
No matter whether a long-time Society member brought you to your first meeting or if you came by yourself, there's always a period of adjustment to this very different world. How can you get yourself oriented to all the new things and begin to have some fun?
Introduce yourself. Go up to someone and say, "Hi, I'm So-and-So and I'm new. Can you tell me what's going on?" Introduce yourself to someone each time you come to a meeting. If you hide at the edges of the room, most people will respect what they think is your desire to be left alone. Unless a group of people is having an obviously private conversation, stand near them and, when appropriate, introduce yourself. Society members are often involved in catching up on what happened since they last saw each other and may not notice a new face until you walk up to them.
Ask questions. You have probably heard at least one person say, "If you have any questions, just ask." The person means well, but may not remember that a newcomer often doesn't know enough to know what to ask. Try replying, "Tell me about the crafts done here, the fighting, the garb a person is wearing, how I can learn about, how to make..." and so on. These questions avoid a yes or no answer and you might hear something that will prompt a second question from you.
Come to at least four meetings. You will have a broader perspective of the varied things that people do and work on. You will also be seen as a new person who is truly interested. Experienced members will often talk for a long time with new people only to never see them again. These experienced members will then sometimes avoid talking with new people until they have seen them at several meetings. If your work or school schedule keeps you from regular attendance, let people know. Attending several meetings will let you hear about guild or special interest meetings. Ask for more information on the groups, even if you are only slightly interested. You will learn more about the scope of the local Society group.
Go to newcomer orientation sessions. Although not all groups provide a formal introduction to the Society, if your local group does provide some form of orientation, you will learn more quickly about some of the basic rules of conduct, how to participate more fully and how not to stick out like a sore thumb... something that many newcomers dread!
Get one piece of basic medieval clothing. Ask someone how to make a simple tunic. If you can't sew, ask for ideas about putting together a reasonable approximation of medieval clothing out of modern clothes. Ask if there is loaner clothing available until you can get your own.
Expect to be responsible for your own things. While not everyone has made all of their own clothing, jewelry, armor, weapons, and so forth, most people have at least made an attempt at making some things. Sometimes newcomers expect experienced members to provide everything for them. You will find that people are quite willing to teach you to do something "from scratch" but that they are not willing to do extensive hand holding or to do your work for you. Except for children, each person is expected to be an adult and to take adult responsibilities. It can be scary and discouraging to learn that you are expected to provide for yourself, but almost everyone who is wearing fancy clothing or armor started out where you are now.
Join the Society financially. You will get your Kingdom's newsletter and will learn about area news and events. Ask a relative to give you a membership as a holiday or birthday gift. If finances allow, purchase the Society newcomer's guide "Forward Into the Past" and the Known World Handbook. (If you cannot afford these items, ask to borrow someone else's temporarily.) Subscribe to your local group's newsletter.
Participate to the extent that you feel comfortable. The Society is a participatory organization. Where are your interests and abilities? Keep your eyes and ears open to what people are doing. Give yourself a year to develop your interests. You don't need to rush into things in the first few months. If you can choose a name, fine. If you are interested in a particular time period of the Middle Ages, fine. There is so much to do and so many avenues to explore that it is permissible to take your time and to proceed at your own pace. Experienced members are generally more than willing to point out resources and to steer you to library references. You get out the Society what you put into it!
Go to events outside of your local group. Here's where you get to play with others who share similar interests. At first, you won't know anyone there except members of your local group who may also be attending. Leave them for a while. Make new friends from other groups. Introduce yourself and ask questions. Participate in the planned activities. Keep your eyes and ears open. And someday, someone will come up and say, "Hi, I'm So-and-So and I'm new. Can you tell me what's going on?"
Here are some background documents. You'll need a PDF reader to view these.
These are the handouts used in our introductory classes, also in PDF.