The avowed purpose of the SCA is the study and recreation of the Middle Ages, its crafts, sciences, arts, traditions, literature, etc. The SCA “period” is defined to be Western civilization before 1600 AD, concentrating on the Western European High Middle Ages. Under the aegis of the SCA we study dance, calligraphy, martial arts, cooking, metalwork, stained glass, costuming, literature…
Well, if they did it, somebody in the SCA does it!
The SCA’s major venue for recreation is the event, which is a general term for a gathering which everyone dresses in clothing based on styles worn pre-1600s. They come together at a site (usually a campground) to share what they have learned and to have a good time with friends. There are usually martial arts tournaments, artistic displays, classes, a feast, court and dancing!
It is important for those new amongst us to realize that what makes a group strong and an event successful is the voluntary service of individual members. The SCA is not a show for outsiders to watch but a living play into which new folks can insert themselves.
The SCA divides the Known World into regions called Kingdoms which are then divided into principalities, shires, baronies or cantons. You are currently in the Kingdom of Gleann Abhann in the Shire of Iron Ox.
ADVICE FOR NEWCOMERS!
Introduce yourself. Go up to someone and say, “Hi, I am So and So and I’m new. Can you tell me what’s going on?” Unless a group of people is having an obviously private conversation, stand near them and, when appropriate, introduce yourself.
Ask questions. “Tell me about . . . the crafts done here, the fighting, the garb he/she/you are wearing, how I can learn about . . . how to make . . . ” and so on.
Come to at least four meetings. You will have a broader perspective of the varied things that people do and work on. You will also be seen as a new person who is truly interested. Attending several meetings will let you hear about guild or special interest meetings.
Get one piece of basic medieval clothing. Ask someone how to make a simple tunic. If you can’t sew, ask for ideas about putting together a reasonable approximation of medieval clothing out of modern clothes. Ask if there is loaner clothing available until you can get your own.
Join the SCA financially. You will get your kingdom’s newsletter and will learn about area news and events. If finances allow, purchase the SCA newcomers’ guide, “Forward Into the Past,” and the Known World Handbook from the SCA Stock Clerk. Subscribe to your local group’s newsletter.
Participate to the extent you feel comfortable. The SCA is a participatory organization. Where are your interests and abilities? Keep your eyes and ears open to what people are doing. Give yourself a year to develop your interests. You needn’t rush into things the first few months.
Go to events outside your local group. Here’s where you get to play with others who share similar interests. At first you won’t know anyone there except members of your local group who may be attending. Volunteering to help at an event is a great way to meet new people.