Newcomers' Guide

Whether you are new to the SCA, or have new friends who've just joined the living history community, you are sure to find something of interest in this week's installment of Aoife's Links.

Greetings, my Faithful Readers!

This week's Links List is about new members, and what we can do for them. Every year I try to do a "New Members' Guide", and below you'll find this year's effort. It's true that there is a great deal of information on the SCA for our new members to find, but sometimes it is tough or confusing to sort through. I'd like to suggest that each kingdom have a newcomer's page attached to the front page of the kingdom website (or an icon: "newcomers click here!"). Several kingdoms DO have a new member's page, and I have listed those excellent sites below.

I usually ask everyone to forward the weekly list wherever they think it will find a ready readership. Doing so is doubly important for the Newcomer's Guide. Newcomers are the lifeblood of the Society. They bring fresh levels of knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and enthusiasm to this past-time of ours, and I think it's important to start them off on the right foot, offering a helping hand wherever we must. How well I remember my first garb (I used flat washers sewn to the satin dress, instead of grommets), my first stint as a cook (we made spaghetti), my first name (found in a baby-name book), and my first taste of real historical atmosphere (ask me the story one day. It is VERY cool and starts out with "No sh*t, there I was at my First Pennsic....). That first dress was sold at an SCA garage sale (and was stripped of its washers to make armor). The first name was dropped fairly quickly (would YOU want to be called Marigold?). That first feast evolved into an oft-told story of kitchen fun. And that Very cool story? Well, it involves gold coins, firelight, secret negotiations, mercenaries, and Uncle Feral's Rocket Fuel....

Below there are links to finding names, to developing heraldry, to researching a persona, how to camp successfully in a medieval atmosphere, how to garb one's person in a handy and quick manner, and many other good sites for that wonderful person who is new to the SCA. So, pass this list along, and while you're at it, pass along a story of when YOU were new to the SCA. Because the best thing about newcomers is that they've never heard your stories before....and that's the perfect excuse for a Bardic tale told 'round the fire.

Cheers!

Aoife

Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
m/k/a Lisbeth Herr-Gelatt
Canton of Riverouge
Barony of the Endless Hills
Kingdom of Aethelmearc


SCA Member Service
http://www.sca.org/members/welcome.html
(Site Excerpt) There are several levels of membership in the Society: a Sustaining membership ($35) includes a year's subscription to your kingdom's newsletter, which contains kingdom news, announcements for events taking place in your area, and local group contacts. Lower-priced Associate and Family memberships are also available.

How To Find A Group Near You
http://www.sca.org/findsca.html
(Site Excerpt) The primary contact point in every group is the group president, called the "Seneschal". Some groups also have an officer whose job is to assist newcomers; usually called the "Chatelaine", "Hospitaller", or "Gold Key". When phoning an SCA officer, ask for them by their legal name, even if their SCA name is listed. Most of these people also work outside of their homes. Please call after working hours, and before 10 p.m. (2200 hours) their local time.

Advice to Newcomers
by Countess Alys Katherine
(an early article by the current Society Chatelaine)
http://www.ansteorra.org/regnum/hospitaler/articles/advcnew.htm
(Site Excerpt) No matter whether a long time SCA member brought you to your first meeting or 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?

Stefan's Florilegium Newcomer's Section
http://www.florilegium.org/files/NEWCOMERS/idxnew.html
(Site Excerpt-21 links to further reading) This is a collection of files that I have assembled from various sources since I first joined the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) in 1989. The information in these files comes from the Rialto newsgroup (rec.org.sca), the old fidonet medieval echo conferance area, various mail lists and articles submitted to me by their authors.

Valhala Moon: Beginners Guide to Events
http://www.geocities.com/softigerain/events.html
(Site Excerpt) Now that you've gotten used to the SCA, it's time to join in the fun and attend an event. If you've joined as a paid member, events will be listed in your copy of the Æstel. If you have not joined officially, ask other members of the Shire about upcoming events. Most often, they can point you in the direction of the sort of event you would enjoy, whether it would be a tournament, an arts and crafts demo, or Pennsic. If someone you already know is going, ask to carpool with them.

Teenagers and the SCA—Some Answers for Parents
http://www.geocities.com/EnchantedForest/1154/articles.html
(Site Excerpt) Your teenager has decided to become active in the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). Congratulations! Your teen has joined an organization where: Courtesy is expected; Learning is valued; Creativity is Encouraged; Safety is stressed; People are judged on their accomplishments and merits.

Stefan's Florilegium: Children (in the SCA)
http://www.florilegium.org/files/CHILDREN/children-msg.html
(Site Excerpt of ONE message) Our other coping strategy was a young lady who attended events with us. If Brigid was along, we paid Kilde's way as payment for her help with Brigid. This was a shared activity, not a full-time babysitting arrangement. At camping events, we would take turns on who spent the evening in camp and who went camp hopping. At indoor events, Kilde would help out if, for example, we both had business in Court and Kilde would hold Brigid. When Kilde went to college, we got lost! We had truely been spoiled.

Articles for Newcomers By Gunnbjorn
http://ic.net/~blues/articles.htm

SCA Inc's Newcomer Information Page
http://www.sca.org/newcomers.html
(Site Excerpt) This page is aimed at helping newcomers to the Society for Creative Anachronism get started.

Yahoogroup for SCA Newcomers
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scanewcomers/
(Site Excerpt) This is a place for newcomers to the SCA to discuss arms, names, heavy weapons fighting, garb and other topics unique to the SCA. Please feel free to ask any questions you have, as many of the members of this club are longtime SCA participants who are here to answer your questions. Remember there are no stupid questions here. *****There is a search function in the Messages section if you would like to check previous answers and see if they help with your question but repeat questions are always welcome too.*****

Getting Started with Garb in the SCA
http://home1.gte.net/kmvogt/kgetstarted.html
(Site Excerpt) When you went to your very first SCA meeting or event, you most likely wore some clothing borrowed from another member, or maybe you just happened upon a "demo" in your jeans and t-shirt. But now that the SCA has caught your attention, you would like to look a bit more presentable. Take some time to look around at other members. See what they are wearing. Ask questions about their Personas' time-periods and countries of origin. Decide what style you like best. Or perhaps you've always been interested in Vikings or the typical schoolbook "Knight". Ask around and you are sure to find someone who knows a little bit (or maybe even a lot) about the things that interest you.

Camping 101
by Justin du Coeur
http://jducoeur.org/carolingia/jerky.html A collected selection of tips for the first-time medieval camper.

Choosing a Name and Creating a Persona
by Modar Neznanich
http://www2.kumc.edu/itc/staff/rknight/Names.htm
(Site Excerpt) To be able to select a SCA name for yourself and begin creating your persona story, you must first decided what culture you desire to be from. There are many means useable to determine what culture you should choose. Some people look at the clothes worn by many cultures throughout various times and establish a selection based on what clothes they want to wear. Other people will think about what activities and crafts they are interested in and base a decision on the cultures known for expertise in those areas. Still others will investigate their personal lineage and choose the background of their family heritage as their SCA culture. Yet others will pick their SCA culture based from a historical interest on a particular society. Whatever means you choose to use is quite acceptable.

Medieval Names Archive (St Gabriel's Guild)
http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/

First-time garbing, SCA-style
http://www.southern-shores.org/gull/articles/sewing/first_garb.htm
(Site Excerpt) Usually basic costuming is told to the new to the SCA as, pre 13th century clothing. What we call 't-tunics' fit a plethora of lands of that time period, are extremely easy, and you can layer. Layering is something you will become adept at if you are to spend anytime in the SCA at all.

Garb Links
http://www.geocities.com/lorddonal/Garb.htm
Literally hundreds of links to costuming

SCA Arts and Sciences Homepage
(Two pages hold this title. I give both links.)
http://www.sca.org/officers/arts/index.html
http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/arts_and_sciences.html

SCA Links of General Interest
http://www.sca.org/misc.html

SCA Arts of Combat and Chivalry
http://www.sca.org/chivarts.html

SCA Heraldry webpage
http://www.sca.org/heraldry/welcome.html

Kingdom Chatelaine Newcomer web pages

Atlantia: Welcome to the SCA
http://chatelaine.atlantia.sca.org/newcomers.html
(Site Excerpt) Within the confines of the SCA, we study the martial aspects of the Middle Ages, including armored combat, fencing, archery, siege weapons and more. We also study the arts and sciences, including music, poetry, cooking, singing, dancing, etc. There are people throughout the society who teach these skills in order to help us re-create this time period. We have been known to brag that if it existed during those times, someone is learning to do it now!

Ansteorra: Welcome to the Current Middle Ages!
http://www.ansteorra.org/regnum/hospitaler/
SEE ALSO:
http://www.ansteorra.org/regnum/hospitaler/articles/fip.htm
(Forward into the Past)

Caid: Newcomer's Guild
http://www.sca-caid.org/chatelaine/newcomers/
(Site Excerpt) Welcome to the Kingdom of Caid's Newcomer Site. The information you will find in these pages is written for the ladies and lords who have recently joined the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA), as well as those who may be considering joining and would like to find more about the Current Middle Ages within the Kingdom of Caid. Those of you who already know their way through the Known World of the Current Middle Ages may find this site useful for general resource information, as it has many links to other SCA sites.

Drachenwald: New Members packet
http://www.drachenwald.sca.org/files/chatelaine/page4.html
(Site excerpt) As mentioned above, a way to help new people feel comfortable in the SCA is to give them a New Members Packet. This could include such things as:

  • a welcome letter from the seneschal or chatelain,
  • a local membership/phone or e-mail list,
  • a list of SCA terms and definitions,
  • a local newsletter,
  • an article on developing a persona,
  • a list of who to contact for information on various arts and sciences,
  • a list of SCA publications, (as in the back of Tournaments Illuminated) and how to obtain them.
  • Basic information on heraldry,...

West Kingdom: Welcome to the Middle Ages
http://www.westkingdom.org/welcome.phtml
(Site Excerpt) Part of the fun in joining the S.C.A. is selecting a persona, or a personal character from a specific historic time and place. Each person chooses a chronological and geographic time frame, and proceeds to research customs, manners, ethics, dress, eating habits, and many other factors from his chosen time and place to "flesh out" the characteristics of his persona from the past. The only restriction is that a persona may not be an actual historic figure, nor one from mythology or literature. The research about this persona may be as complex or as simple as the individual chooses.


If you wish to correspond with Aoife directly, please send mail to: mtnlion at ptd dot net.

Predefined Newcomer Info Category on SCAtoday.net

SCAtoday.net also has a quickly-accessible search category for things specifically of interest to newcomers, including events targeted at new members. Just click on the "Newcomer Information" link in our "Quick Menu" (right-hand edge of page), or go to http://scatoday.net/newcomers.

We'll also be adding some of these Aoife Links into our own web directory.

—Justin