For the majority of my SCA career, I have been working with newcomers. I recognized how out of place I felt when I first started coming to events, and I wanted to ensure that others did not feel that same way. New people, new members, are the life-blood of the Society, and it’s important for us to understand what role each of us plays in helping to grow these new relationships. The following is the first in a series of articles I will post from time to time on the subject of welcoming and encouraging new people to the SCA.
I want to ask you a question.
What do you think is the most important recruiting tool for the Society and our Kingdom?
Waiting . . . . . . .
Well guess what, it’s YOU. Each individual member is the biggest and best recruiting tool we have. Maybe you were attracted to the SCA because you love the artsy side of things, or like me, a self-professed history geek. Maybe your passion is fighting. Maybe you enjoy sitting around a campfire drinking mead and singing with friends. For some it’s all about the pageantry, or just the pure love of living history.
Whatever your passion is, SHARE IT. The simplest way to do that is to invite people to join you at an event or a fighter practice. It really is that simple. In fact, a local fighter practice is a fantastic way for new folks to get their feet wet. If you have a family member, neighbor, or co-worker who has shown interest in this great hobby of yours, invite them to a local fighter practice to see what’s going on and to hang out and talk with folks. Invite them to one of our upcoming events. Oftentimes that’s all it takes, and a simple invitation can open up the Society to someone new.
The next time someone asks you what you did over the weekend, and you tell them about all the awesome activities you participated in at an event, invite them to join you in the future. It costs nothing to be welcoming, and the rewards are exponentially great.
Each Meridian, each SCAdian, is a Chatelaine. We are all capable of greeting, welcoming, and mentoring new people. If we all realize the impact we can have upon others, that impact multiplies for the good. If we see new people, stop and say hello. Offer guidance, help them find a class they might like to take. If they don’t know their way around an event, offer to show them where archery, rapier, or heavy fighting is taking place. Take a few minutes to find out if a newcomer has any particular interests, then introduce that person to a seasoned member who can act as a resource for the new person’s interests. A little one-on-one contact, handled respectfully, can go a long way towards encouraging the visitor or new member to return and to become involved.
Remember, we are all SCAdians. We are all Meridians. And we all have it within our power to share the Dream with others.
In your service
Baroness Sophia de Subligny
Former Meridies Kingdom Recruiting Deputy