Duchess Katerina O'Callaghan of the Kingdom of Atenveldt offers 20 reasons those who play in the SCA should purchase a membership.
Her Grace writes:
20 REASONS TO BUY AN SCA MEMBERSHIP & RENEW IT WHEN YOU PLAY:
SCA members have benefits non-members do not have, including:
1. Online access to 19 SCA Kingdom newsletters published each month, and (in the case of Atenveldt) access to a special monthly Southwind Xtra edition with expanded event information, Arts & Sciences articles, and more.
2. Reduced entrance fees for SCA events and faster check-in at events.
3. Royalty and Landed Nobility can only recognize paid members with SCA awards and titles.*
4. Paid membership is required for authorization to participate in combat and combat-related activities (including marshalling) in some kingdoms.
5. Paid members have voting privileges in SCA pollings conducted to create a new SCA group, advance or change the status of an existing SCA group, or to determine the zip codes that define the lands belonging to an SCA group.
6. Paid members have voting privileges in SCA pollings conducted to determine the populace support for candidates who wish to be Territorial Baron and Baroness for a Barony.
7. Paid members may purchase subscriptions to Tournaments Illuminated (the quarterly magazine of the Society), the Compleat Anachronist monograph series, and the Board of Directors' Proceedings.
You must be a paid member to hold positions that manage and run the SCA, and positions that define the guidelines, laws and policy governing the running of the group, including:
8. Competing in Crown and Coronet Tournaments and serving as Royalty.
9. Serving as Landed Nobility (Territorial Baron or Baroness) for a Barony.
10. Holding a warranted corporate, Kingdom or local group office that administers, manages or defines guidelines for what the SCA does (armored and rapier combat, target archery, Arts & Sciences, youth activities, equestrian, and more).
11. Only paid members can be event stewards and/or feast stewards for SCA events.*
Membership fees are what pays for the SCA corporate infrastructure that provides services for all participants in all Kingdoms across the Known World, including:
12. Maintaining and administering a centralized heraldic registration database for SCA names and devices for SCA names and devices.
13. Providing liability insurance coverage and documentation needed to rent event sites and conduct combat or target archery.
14. Providing equestrian insurance needed to conduct equestrian activities.
15. Providing Director and Officers insurance that provides legal defense for warranted officers named in legal actions.
16. Providing membership tracking, verification and renewal processing for 19 Kingdoms.
17. Providing background checks for SCA youth officers.
18. Providing a corporate website and corporate materials for newcomer recruitment, educational demos, and media (press packets, fact sheets, etc.).
19. Filing government documents/publication of information to maintain corporate and not-for-profit status, including corporate tax returns and designating statutory agents in each state.
And the biggest benefit of all:
20. Your member fees pay for and sustain a cohesive national framework that defines SCA organizational activities and imposes standardized models of operation for SCA groups around the Known World. That national framework means SCA members have a consistent understanding of SCA activities (combat, target archery, rapier, Arts & Sciences) and SCA infrastructure (the role of Crowns, Landed Nobility, event stewards, exchequer, marshals, etc.) regardless of where they live or join the group.
So, my personal view is that paying for an SCA membership, and keeping a membership current while participating, is critical for people who wish the SCA to survive. Somewhere in my heart I also think it is honorable and chivalrous if we each "pay our own way" for the benefits and fellowship the SCA adds to our lives.
Duchess Katerina O'Callaghan, OP
*Varies by Kingdom.