How-2-get-2do-art - 4/23/11
"How to get to do things in the SCA" by Duchess Willow de Wisp, OL, OP, OR.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: "willowdewisp at juno.com" <willowdewisp at juno.com>
Date: April 15, 2011 3:28:52 PM CDT
To: ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: [Ansteorra] How to get to do things in the sca long
Hi this is one of my helping hints stuff. It is long. If you have any insights on being able to do things in the SCA please add them to the post. I give everyone the right to reprint this in any format forever.
Ann Lanphier Herbert
April 15, 2011
willow de wisp
How to get to do things in the SCA
By Duchess Willow de Wisp, OL, OP, OR
Lion of Ansteorra, Defender of the Dream
Hello, this is a note from someone who has been in the SCA for over 40 years. I am speaking to the individual who has become frustrated with the SCA and is thinking about quitting. Either you have reached a stage in your SCA career where you want to do more or you are bored with what you have doing.
Let us talk about wanting to do more. After your first two years and about every two years after that, people become bored with what they have been doing. They often want to give back to the group or do something more exciting and creative. Often they run into what appears to be a power block of older members deeply entrenched into the system. This power group seem not to want to give up control and there appears to be no need for you to take part. When you introduce new ideas they don't seem excited and seem to put obstacles in your way.
This behavior makes people upset and they do not want to fight, so they drift away to another organization.
Most people who leave at this point believe our leaders are power mad cliquish. This is not the case. Most of our groups have developed a "working" clique, but this has nothing to do with power and control. They are people, very much like yourself, who have taken on the responsibility of making sure that we continue to have events and activities. They might be tired, but they have done this so long that it is part of their identity in the SCA.
The policy of having only a limited amount of events means there are no open places for new people to express themselves. First the local "working" group does not "need" new people because they are capable of doing a limited amount of events by themselves. Second they enjoy working with their friends and if new members took over their work force, then what would they do? Thirdly, the groups need profitable events to cover their working costs and they don't know if newer people have the skills to run a major event.
The answer to this problem is for groups to have small activities or events where people can express themselves and feel needed and useful, and learn the skills for putting on an event. In the past, established "work" groups have not approved of this option.
When you get to this point, the people who have been doing so much of the work, just want to rest on their "off" time. Many times they don't even want to go to events and they certainly do not want to think about events. The officers, who usually are part of the "working" force, do not have the energy to handle small events.
Also if your group takes part in a war that takes up a lot of money, time and energy then the "work" force may just be tapped out.
Normally SCA groups recruit only a few new people each season and with a 2-5 year turn over of new people there are usually not enough new people to put on a little event or enough extra people to go to it.
So what can you do?
You can do things in your own areas. You don't need to get permission to express yourself at your own table or campsite or on the bodies of your family and yourself. As long as you are not doing something illegal or in bad taste, and you are doing something that brings ambiance and style to the Hall or the camp site you will get brownie points and the community will smile on you. Having a Community happy with you is a wonderful reward.
Also if the community sees you dong something creative on your own or with other people they will realize that you are at the point where you can be trusted with a task and it will be done well with little or no supervision on their part. Many of our "working" group would like more creative things done at our events, but they are so busy they do not have the energy to train or supervise those activities.
Sometimes the reason individuals are not allowed to take on positions of responsibility is s a matter of communication. We have many different generations of people in the SCA and words don't mean the same for all of us. The older and more stable the "work" group the more likely they are to have developed their own "language" to work together. The "work" group may not even realize that they have done this. If you want to able to work on important things in your group you must understand this language. They do not have the time to teach you, so you must take the time to learn it. This language thing is a common feature of well working groups so the skill of learning a "working" language will stand you in good stead.
Many events have "dead" times. We do most of our business between 10 am and 10Pm. After court there is often nothing. Crown Tourneys have so much dead time you could put a whole event in them and it would not be noticed. If you don't mind working with the difficulties of these times you could do something then. But please remember that people often go home because there are no official activities in the event information so you will have to advertise a lot and often you will not be able use the event web site or official news channels.
Start small. For example, bring games to the hall and set them up and start playing and teaching or start teaching something new. Sometimes this doesn't work because you are the only "new" person in the hall.
Almost every "work" force I have dealt with has people that come with the people working. They can be spouses, children and friends. Look for activities that might entertain them.
Do not be discouraged if you don't get a lot of people taking part. The "working" force often notices and if they see skills or ideas they could use to expand and see you are good worker and that you do good work they will often bring you into the team. They did not exclude you because they are hateful people they exclude you because they are working so hard that they have tunnel vision.
Go to the business and populace meetings. Don't try to be heard at the big meetings. Go to them and listen and then talk to the people in charge. Often the officers and movers and shakers get together in a casual social situation right after the meeting. Brainstorming and problem are solved here. Go to these places listen and carefully make suggestions. Control yourself. If you have suggestions that might help, make them short and quick. Everyone has limited time. This is a great place to volunteer. Take on their jobs first and get them done quietly and do them well. After you have shown you have workable ideas then suggest your ideas for events and activities.
Suggest your ideas well in advance and give the people a chance to think them over. Talk to people who should be asked. Don't ask who you should talk to just talk to everyone you think should be asked. The BB and officers are good people to start with. Suggest the idea in a casual way. Don't expect approval. In fact expect to be told why you can't do this thing. This is not necessarily a "no". This could be just a warning about problems you will have to deal with. Then work on the hurdles. Talk to members of the "work" team, past and present. They can give you insights and help you phrase the concept in such a way that it will be understood.
Don't tell people what they should do. Make it clear that you plan to do the work on this idea. Remember that the "work" group is going to need the populace to help with the event. Try to recruit people who are not currently counted on by the established "work" group. Newcomers and semi-retired people are good sources of unattached labor.
Watch out for the sacred cow. If an idea is dismissed loudly and outright, try to find out why and try to find out what part of the idea is the problem. Sometimes groups just do not like an idea and you will get a "no". Don't push it. Be willing to scale back and maybe come up with something similar that doesn't bother people.
We often expect things to happen too soon. The most common mistake of today's young people is to expect the speed of the Internet when dealing with human groups. Remember everyone you talk to only does the SCA as a hobby so they must fit the SCA around their regular life. This produces time lags. Fast communication doesn't help if they must wait to the weekend to get it done.
Even though people tell you to wait, that doesn't mean you should do nothing. Volunteer to do things and help people with stuff. We are chronically understaffed at events. If you keep your eyes and ears open you will find people who need help. Please remember that tired people are not open to change. When you help and see a way to do things better and you suggest it, there is a great chance that you will get an inflexible "No". This is not a rejection of you or even your idea. This is a tired person who does not have the energy to think of new ideas.
I cannot promise that you will become part of the mover and shaker team in your area, but these behaviors have been known to help.