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new-groups-msg – 10/17/11


Procedures and advice on starting new SCA groups.


NOTE: See also the files: households-msg, fundraising-msg, recruitment-msg, SCA-land-msg, SCAguests-msg, SCA-meetings-msg.





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).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: rayturne at cln.etc.bc.ca (Raymond Turner)

Subject: Re: starting a chapter...

Organization: The Education Technology Centre of British Columbia. (Canada)

Date: Wed, 19 Jun 1996 17:54:50 GMT


Greetings from Olwen Pen Aur, An Tir Kingdom Chatelaine,


In a previous article, jschmalh at bdm.com (Joseph Schmalhofer) says:

>Based on personal experience, I'd recommend getting in touch with any local

>Shires/Baronies/Colleges/etc and ask them for assistance. In Meridies when

>we formed our new Shire we were required to have a sponsoring group as well

>as 5 dues paying members. Since all officers of a group are required to be

>SCA members, and there are 5 officer positions which need to be filled,

>this made sense. We eventually worked up to 15 paid members. Don't know

>what the status of the group is these days as I left the area almost a year



>mka Joe Schmalhofer


What Dante describes are not only the requirements for forming a branch

in Meridies, they're the requirements for forming a branch anywhere.

These are set down by Corpora, not individual Kingdom law. Only 3

officers are specified as required by Corpora: Seneschal, Herald, and

Arts and Sciences if you ahve no fighting, Master of Stables/Marshall if

you ahve fighting. Kingdoms may require additional officers, but those

three are the absolute minimum.


As Dante also says, a new branch MUST have a sponsor branch during the

probation period known as "incipiency." This usually the closest branch

geographically, but not necessarily. Who your sponsor branch is should

have no bearing on your future status. So, for example, if your sponsor

branch is the nearby barony, this does not mean you MUST become a canton.

If your sponsor branch is in a particular Region of the Kingdom (An Tir

ahs Regions, and we just got our first Principalities. I don't know if

other Kingdoms do as well), nothing requires you to belong to that Region

once you attain full status.


My advice would be to get hold of your Kingdom's newsletter, find the

address for your Kingdom or Principality Seneschal, and write to them. If

they wish to refer you to a neighbouring branch or a seneschal farther

down the food chain, they can do so. But these are the people who will

ultimately make the decision on your fate anyway, and they have to know

you exist sooner or later. And you also know they will give you the

straight scoop on what you need. I'm a Kingdom Officer, and my lord is a

Regional Deputy to the Kingdom Seneschal, and you wuld be amazed at some

of the truly bizarro things even branch seneschals will tell people. We

have one branch in our Kingdom that owns multiple copies of Corpora,

Kingdom law, every document known to man in the Known World, and they

read 'em. They just get it wrong every single time.


So go straight to the top. Most likely, your Kingdom or Principality

Seneschal will forward your request for info to someone closer to you,

because they're busy people.


Your branch will be incipient for a year, and for no more than 3 years.

IN that time, you must submit a name and device to the College of

Heralds, hold at least one SCA-designated event a year, and continue to

fulfil the other requiremtns for a branch. Forming a college or otehr

institutional branch has the same requirements, but the Board will aloow

for seasonal variation in membership due to college schedule or for some

minor irregularities in how you set up your branch relative to the

mundane institution (for example, Canadian Forces Bases require that any

"clubs" operating on the base must have no less than a given percentage

of military members. This means you may have to have a waiting list for

non-military people who want to join officially. However, that doesn't

mean they can't play or come to events). This is the kind of specific

information your Kingdom or Principality Seneschal, or their deputy, can

provide for you.


If your group can't fulfill the requirements of full branch status within

three years, it will be dissolved.


New branches also have a great preponderance of new members, so I'd also

suggest very strongly you get in touch with your Kingdom or Principality

Chatelaine, or the chatelaine of the branches closest to you. These are

the officers charged with the responsibility of helping new members fit

in with the customs and social structure of the SCA. In my Kingdom,

written into the job description is the requirement to provide "accurate

and favourable infomration about the SCA." Or as I tell my branch

officers, creative faking is not permitted. :-) Chatelaines can give you

plenty of information and guidance on how to integrate new people into

the group and the SCA at large, and perhaps even recruit new members to

get your branch to a viable size.


Good luck!

All the best,

HL Olwen Pen Aur

Kingdom Chatelaine, An Tir



From: "Robbin L. G. Long" <c638414 at mizzou1.missouri.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: starting a chapter...

Date: Wed, 19 Jun 1996 17:24:27 -0700

Organization: University of Missouri


Raymond Turner wrote:

> What Dante describes are not only the requirements for forming a branch

> in Meridies, they're the requirements for forming a branch anywhere.

> These are set down by Corpora, not individual Kingdom law. Only 3

> officers are specified as required by Corpora: Seneschal, Herald, and

> Arts and Sciences if you ahve no fighting, Master of Stables/Marshall if

> you ahve fighting. Kingdoms may require additional officers, but those

> three are the absolute minimum.


> As Dante also says, a new branch MUST have a sponsor branch during the

> probation period known as "incipiency." This usually the closest branch

> geographically, but not necessarily. Who your sponsor branch is should

> have no bearing on your future status. So, for example, if your sponsor

> branch is the nearby barony, this does not mean you MUST become a canton.


I have deleted much of the above, for space, but there is one further

consideration to add to the above.  There is a rule concerning how far

away from an existing group you must be to start a new one.  I don't have

my copy of corpora near me, but the mileages that come to mind are 25 or

50 miles; in other words, you cannot found a new _independent_ group

within an xx mile radius of an established group. There are exceptions

made to this in areas of dense population, but these have to be approved

by the BoD.  Some groups have been doomed to permanent canton status by

this rule.  Just one more thing you might want to check... :-)





From: jdoucet at bud.peinet.pe.ca (Ken Doucette)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: starting a chapter...

Date: 27 Jun 1996 15:49:20 -0400

Organization: PEINet, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada


Kevin Greer <keg at traveller.com> writes:

>peterscc at whitman.edu (Chris Petersen) wrote:



>>I've been told that we would need 10 dues-paying members to become a

>>shire, but is there anything else (college?) that would allow fewer

>>dues-paying members, as we are all poor college students?  We have the

>>support of the closest barony, Wastekeep, so matters of that sort should

>>work out easily.


        My Lord, way back in 1992, I leaped in where fools fear to tread

and took upon myself the task of starting the cantref of Ynys y Gwaed, in

the Barony of Ruantallan, way out on the Eastrealm's northern frontier.  

Suffice it to say, it was not easy.  No matter what type of group you

intend to establish, be prepared for a lot of paperwork, a lot of

reluctance, and be ready to devote a significant amount of your time, in

and out of the SCA, to make the thing work.


>If you have a barony close-by that will support your group, then how about

>forming a household within that barony?  When we have a new group forming

>in our area, we suggest that they form a loose household for a year or two

>to see if there is enough interest over a long period of time.  Households

>are a lot simpler to form and disband than formal groups and they have a

>lot fewer requirments to fulfil ( very improtant when the members of the

>group only have a limited amount of time to play in the SCA).  In general,

> it is better to take it slowly and build a good group than to rush into

>getting a fancy name, big status symbol, and lots & lots of paperwork.

>Good luck,  Gavin


        This is an excellent suggestion and I can not recommend it more!  

It is infinitely more desirable to take things a bit slow and build a

solid foundation than rush things and have it all come crashing down --

makes it harder for the next group of folks that come along.


        My advice is to discuss the situation with the Curia and Coronet of

Wastekeep.  I would say that your best options are either a) form a

household for now and see if you can build a decently solid core of

people, or b) seriously look at forming a college (much less restrictions

on membership levels :) IF you think you have the population base to

support it.  Yet a third option might be to start with a household and

then move to a college after about a year or two once you've established

a reasonably solid core group of folks.  But whatever you do, make sure

you maintain open and *crystal clear* lines of communication between you

and Wastekeep.


        Good luck, and feel free to e-mail me any time with questions or

just to bitch :)




jdoucet at cycor.ca



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ug510 at freenet.Victoria.BC.CA (Tom J. Pilcher)

Subject: Re: starting a chapter...

Organization: The Victoria Freenet Association (VIFA), Victoria, B.C., Canada

Date: Mon, 8 Jul 1996 15:45:38 GMT


>peterscc at whitman.edu (Chris Petersen) wrote:

>>I got to college last year and was heartbroken to find only one other SCA

>>member among the student body.  Since then, we've been able to amount a

>>decently sized group of interested people (students and otherwise), and am

>>wondering how to go about starting the SCA back up in our area.

>>We used to be the shire of Perilous Gard (m.k.a. Walla Walla, WA), and I

>>guess it "went under" about 3 years ago (whatever makes this year the

>>first available year to start things back up on a trial basis).

>>I've been told that we would need 10 dues-paying members to become a

>>shire, but is there anything else (college?) that would allow fewer

>>dues-paying members, as we are all poor college students?  We have the

>>support of the closest barony, Wastekeep, so matters of that sort should

>>work out easily.

>My Lord,, contact the Kingdom of An Tir's seneschal.  According to the

>Page, the newsletter for the Kingdom of the West... the seneschal is

>Elisabeth de Rossignol (real name:  Lisa Mohr)  her telephone number

>is (206) 277-0763.  The seneschal can fill you in on the ropes...


Countess Elizabeth is indeed the Kingdom Seneschal, however she is

stepping down at September Crown.


Calling her may indeed get you all the information you need but since you

state you have the support of Wastekeep why not call them? Their

Seneschal should be able to assist with anything you need including

contacting Kingdom for you. They should also put you onto your Regional

Seneschal and Chatelaine who would be the ones you will eventually deal with.


As for members, a shire requires 5 sustaining members. You state that you

are in a college though. Mundane institutions such as Universities,

Colleges and Military Bases or Stations may form Institutional Branches

such as Colleges, Ports or Strongholds. These require 5 sustaining

members as well but differ in that if you drop below that number you

become dormant and do not cease to exist as a shire would. This was

designed to reflect the transitory population inherent in these types of

institutions. (Summer comes, students go)


The one other alternative that you might consider is that of a canton to

Wastekeep. You would be essentially a shire under their dominion. This

type of branch usually provides a much greater level of involvement from the

Barony which you would then be a part of.


HL SGT James the Tormentor              PO1 Tom Pilcher (604) 363-4946

ug510 at freenet.victoria.bc.ca           Canadian Forces Fleet School

Incipient Port of Laighe na Greine      CFB Esquimalt, Victoria, BC  



Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 21:37:50 MST

From: jonwillowpel at juno.com

Subject: Re: ANST - New Question...

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org


<deer_kief at hotmail.com> writes:

> First I would like to say I mistyped...Cantons require 5 sustaining

> members  not 3 as I typed...


> Since it takes a paid membership to become a officer, how many paid members

> do you think it takes to sustain a healthy group...(one that puts on events,

> travels, has more than just the same members trading off offices to keep the

> group alive, and is active on a local, regional and kingdom level and is

> able to revive itself from burnout) barony/shire/canton/college?????


> Lorraine DeerSlayer


For a shire or canton

You should have enough people to fill all the offices and have spares in

the wings. That is about 10 to 15 people. If you are doing two events a

year you need autocrats for the events. To be the head autocrat you need

to be warranted and that means having a membership. That is another 2 to

3 people. A healthy group should have enough people that they don't have

to double up on jobs. To have good event that doesn't wear everyone out

you need all your officers in place plus autocrats. I would say you need

almost 20 working members. This is on top of your "retired" SCA member.

Some of  your "paid member" are the people who have put their time it and

now just watch. The amount goes up for a barony. I know this is more than

what the BOD ask for but you wanted to know how many for a Healthy group.


One of the things about people who are too poor to paid 35.00 dollars is

they often try to make up by working hard in their local area. Most of us

have a social conscience . We try to do our share. Remember when dealing

with volunteers you need not to confuse them. What is more important?

Someone paying 2 dollar extra at gate or someone working 4 hours at gate.

One of the binds volunteer organizations get their selves into is looking

too much like a market organization. Our sites fee are donations that

keep our local chapters going they aren't an admission ticket that covers

all the cost. We couldn't pay all the people that work at our events with

our site fees. We need to very clear that we need more help.  If we get

to caught up in this "paid" "not paid" we might lose a lot of good






From: Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace <sirlyonel at hotmail.com>

Date: February 17, 2009 11:15:56 AM CST

To: "Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc." <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Student chapter?


<<< I plan on attending Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, TX. The meetings of the local shire are, unfortunately, rather far away. I was doing some reading and noted some "student chapters" are around.  Several of the students there DO attend the Renaissance Fair and I am sure there would be some interest in the group.  Does anyone know about who I would contact or such about starting such a group when I arrive?


Giertrud Gyldenstierne >>>


In the past twenty years, I've seen many attempts to start a College (an SCA branch organized within the students and faculty of a college or university). I started one, myself, at Idaho State University several years ago. It didn't survive two years. In fact, it only lasted as an "official" group (after recognition) for a semester. Currently, as far as I can tell, Ansteorra has only one incipient College (Three Bridges at UT Arlington). I know that, within Bryn Gwlad, Laszlo was trying to get a group started at UT Austin, but I don't know if it ever took off. Earlier attempts there did not fare well.


I believe it's possible to get a College going--especially in an area like Sequin where the distance to the nearest shire or barony is great enough to be difficult for students.


If you want to start on such a project, I'd say do the following:


(1) Familiarize yourself with Kingdom Law (available at Ansteorra.org)


(2) Make firends with the neighboring seneschals (Ffynnon Gath, Bryn Gwlad, and Bjornsborg)


(3) Get to know the regional and kingdom seneschals


(4) Start thinking about how you'll go about recruiting, where you would hold populace meetings, and where you would hold fighter practice. In my experience, no college survives without a strong martial base. No fighter practices usually means eventual death for the group.


(5) Find at least one and preferably two more students who feel as strongly about this as you. If you try to be the sole source of energy behind the group, it will die any time you're unavailable.


(6) Know what your college requires from a student organization/club/society.


(7) Talk with Laszlo about his experiences, they're more recent than my own.


I really don't want to scare anyone away from the attempt, but if you're going to do this, you should be aware of the obstacles. Essentially, the problems are


(1) Your populace is temporary. Most students are there for just four years. Four years goes by pretty fast. Every year, populace members will simply disappear. This is especially hurtful when they're active members.


(2) Your populace is concentrating on something else. Students really don't have that much spare time, and that tends to disappear around term paper and exam times.


(3) Large chunks of your population disappear in the summer. The structure of a College is supposed to allow for that, but people who are away for three months occasionally come back with other interests.


(4) Your populace can't afford a lot of travel. That means they don't attend a lot of events outside of your group.


(5) Colleges often have weird little rules that make it difficult or even impossible to hold events on campus. Many, for example, will give an SCA College a space to use for fighter practice, but anyone practicing there has to be a student or staff. Some schools won't allow fighter practices (safety concerns, lawsuit concerns).


En Lyonel



From: HerrDetlef <herrdetlef at gmail.com>

Date: February 17, 2009 11:34:18 AM CST

To: "Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc." <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Student chapter?


Need you limit yourselves to the student population at TLU? You might

explore the possibility of forming a canton of either Bjornsborg or Bryn

Gwlad, or even forming an incipient shire.  Such a group structure would

allow reaching out into the community at large....local members who will not

move away after four years, are not gone during the summers, and will

not drop off the face of the earth come midterms and finals week, can go a

long way in establishing stability.


I know that Raven's Fort owes a huge part of its success in the 1980s in the

integration of a student population at Sam Houston State with the community

at large in Huntsville and Conroe.  It is hard to believe that Raven's Fort

would have become a barony in 1989 if the group had started out as a

college.  Fynnon Gath originated as a canton, and not a college, of Bryn

Gwlad, and I cannot imagine that what is now TSU had nothing to do with that

group's development.


Just some thoughts. Organizing a local SCA group in the context of a college

campus should not exclude the possibility of other structures in addition to

the college structure.


Good luck with your explorations there! Speaking only for myself, I quite

like the idea of an SCA group in an area with some German colonial history.


Detlef von Marburg

Tir Medoin



From: robert segrest <aumbob at yahoo.com>

Date: February 17, 2009 6:15:11 PM CST

To: ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Student Chapter?


As Sir Lyonel pointed out, I took a shot recently at (re)starting a College at UT recently.  I failed.  I did, however, learn a few things in the process.  Among them:


1) There are a lot of barriers to starting a college successfully.  Some come from the SCA, more come from the school, and many more are simply factors of time and energy


2) The SCA cannot really do much to help, in an official capacity.  Since you will have to demonstrate that you have the framework of an SCA organization before getting even incipient status, your organization will not have any legal connection to the SCA during the first key months of your process.  Therefore you will not enjoy status as a recognized non-profit until you meet the SCA's criteria for incipient status.  This makes it difficult to convince Student Organization officials that you are not out of your mind.


3) Schools tend to have very stringent rules covering student organizations.  They are different for each school.  At UT I was not able to find a legal pathway by which a student organization might become part of an international non-profit.  This might have been surmountable, we never got far enough to find out.  I think you will want to get a good understanding of your campus' rules before deciding whether you want to be affiliated with the school or not.


4) Weapons rules may be particularly hard to get around, if you want to have fighting.  At UT, anything that might be construed as a weapon had to be cleared by the campus police, carried by a specific individual, have a detailed form filed for exactly what was going to be done with it, where, when and by whom, for every instance that the weapon appeared on campus. I was never able to talk to anyone in a position to get special dispensation on this issue, thus effectively shutting down any hope for fighter practice, or even fighting demos.


5) You will need a core group of people who are strongly motivated to make this happen.  If you are a non-traditional student (especially one over about 30) you will face social barriers to recruiting. Presumably you will be in school, and therefore your first priority will be schoolwork.  If you are also working or have family obligations, it will be difficult to make the time to do recruiting, cheerleading, organizing, etc. for your group.


6) The story of most colleges has been, "we got it going, then the officers graduated and it fell apart".  The first two priorities of a college group are going to have to be recruiting and leader development if it is going to keep going.


Please don't view this as a laundry list of reasons not to try to start a group.  Instead, please do look at it as a set of concerns that you will want to address, or at least consider.  I still think a group could be successfully started at UT, and I regret that I was not able to put all the pieces together to do it.  I think that a smaller school farther from another group will have some advantages and some drawbacks in the same process.  I encourage you to learn both the school's rules for student groups and the kingdom's rules for new group formation.  If there is anything I can do to assist, please do not hesitate to ask me.  I would be happy to share the things that I have learned, and I wish you success in spreading our dream.


Ld Fatthiopap Laszlo



Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2010 17:11:36 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Here we go again- that old rotten meat myth


<<< In my experience University based groups often have fluctuating

membership as it logically will ebb and flow as new students come and go.

As a result they are often part of a bigger group but you rarely find

members attending the college in once place for 10-20 years as they will

often graduate or move on to the next level of their academic career

elsewhere. That's not to say the it in anyway means that the group is set

upon be meanie heads bent upon historical food poisoning, it's just the

nature of that type of group.


Raffaella >>>


I've seen two models that provide continuity for university groups.  The

first is affiliation with a permanent group in the broader community.  The

second is a permanent core group consisting of university staff and

instructors, who have a far lower turn-over rate than students and can act a





<the end>

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