Board of Directors Seeks Commentary on Branch Membership Requirements

The SCA Board of Directors is seeking commentary from the populace on proposed changes to the number and type of members required to create, advance, or sustain the status of branch groups. Meg Baron, President of the SCA, writes:

Greetings unto the membership of the SCA,

Recently the Board of Directors received a request asking us to review the current rules governing the types of SCA memberships that count toward the status of recognized groups, and to consider allowing all types of memberships (including Associate and Family) to be counted in the makeup of SCA branches. Under our current rules, which have remained unchanged for some 20 years, only subscribing memberships (Sustaining and International) are counted toward the minimum number of members required for SCA branches.

Similar suggestions were made by a number of individuals in the recent membership survey, and the Board feels this would be a positive change which would benefit both SCA branches and individual members. To that end, we are seeking commentary from the membership on the following:

  1. Should all types of membership (Sustaining, International, Associate, and Family) count toward the number of members required for an SCA branch to maintain or advance its status?

    If the above change is made, we must then consider what modifications, if any, should be made to the current minimum numbers required for an SCA branch to exist, or to advance in status.

    The current minimum Society requirements (which have been in effect for some 20 years) are as follows:

    Kingdoms 400 Subscribing members


  2. Principalities 100 Subscribing members
    Baronies 25 Subscribing members
    Other branches (shires, cantons, colleges, etc.) 5 Subscribing members

These numbers were originally set with the idea that, in addition to the minimum number of subscribing members, each group would likely have a number of other types of members as well, which would help sustain the group. Therefore, the Board has discussed whether these numbers should be raised if all memberships count toward a branch's status.

At present, slightly more than 40 percent of our members are Associate or Family members. This percentage is fairly uniform across the kingdoms of the Known World, though it is somewhat lower in Drachenwald and Ealdormere. In order to attempt to maintain the current ratios, one option would be simply to raise the required number of members for each type of branch by approximately 40 percent. This would result in the following new minimum Society requirements:

Kingdoms 560 members (any type)
Principalities 140 members (any type)
Baronies 35 members (any type)
Other branches 7 members (any type)
The questions the Board would like the membership to comment on, related to this subject, are:
  • If all types of memberships count toward branch status, should the required numbers of members be adjusted upward?
  • Should these adjustments be for every type of branch, or only for certain ones? If only certain ones, please be specific. For example, one option would be to increase required numbers for principalities and kingdoms, but leave groups below the principality level as they are.
  • Is the 40 percent proposal cited above reasonable? We are particularly interested in hearing of specific examples of branches that this change might negatively impact.
  • Please note that, in the event the minimum required number of members for some or all types of branches is increased, there will very likely be a grace period for existing groups to meet the new numbers; that grace period would be at least a year, perhaps longer.

    The only revision to the Governing Documents that this change would require is to Corpora, Section III.C.4-7, in which the word "subscribing" would be struck in the sections that explain how many subscribing members are required for that type of branch. If the numbers are raised, then the specific number would also need to be changed in each branch description affected.

    It can't be stressed enough how much the Board appreciates input from the membership. When tackling issues such as the ones above, it is easy to miss subtle ramifications these changes may cause. Your comments will go a long way toward helping us make the best decision for the SCA. So please tell us what you think.

    The deadline for commentary on this proposal is July 1. Please send your comments to comments@sca.org

    or by mail to:

    Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.
    P.O. Box 360789
    Milpitas, CA 95036-0789

    Related story
    The BoD issued a correction to an error in this article. The correction is at the following URL:
    http://scatoday.net/story.php?search_id=N-20040324-160139-0002