Greetings from your new Chatelaine, Lady Brigid ingen MaolMhichil!I just stepped up at Nordskogen’s Twelfth Night. I’d like to thank Eliane for all of her hard work as Kingdom Chatelaine and for her patience as I learn about this job. I hope to follow in her footsteps in making the position of both the kingdom and local chatelains more visible and active. I’d also like to make it my motto that “everyone is a Chalelain.” It definitely takes more then one person in a group to make newcomers feel welcome and make them want to come back, and we can all help spread the dream that is the SCA. To that end, I’d like for each of us to do what we can to make a newcomer feel welcome. No matter what the gesture, anything you can do is important and will definitely be appreciated!
As the end of winter (hopefully) approaches, we may be thinking about holding demos in the spring and summer months. I’d like to remind everyone (and especially seneschals and chatelains) about the demo policy of the SCA.
- A demo (“demonstration”) is an organized educational effort to teach and/or display activities of medieval interest in general, and SCA interest in particular, to the general public. They are the primary way of introducing and finding new recruits for the SCA. However, not all demos are the type that results in new members. An elementary school demo is fun, but the likelihood of recruiting new members is low. A university or Renaissance Fair demo is more likely to attract new members, but does not necessarily contain the educational information of a school demo. Both are important, and a group should find a balance between them.
- In order to be covered by SCA insurance, demos must be approved by the sponsoring group’s Seneschal and the branch may restrict who may represent them to the public. Restricting participation should be done with extreme caution and care. A demo may also be an “event” if it meets the requirements for an event as outlined in Corpora. At any demo, a paid SCA member must be present and in charge of the demo.
- Demos where there are no combat-related activities do not require waivers unless they are held as part of an SCA “event.” Therefore, if there is no combat, and the demo is not held at an SCA event, waivers are not required. Waivers may be completed individually, or a roster waiver may be used. It is not required that spectators at demos sign waivers, as long as they don’t become participants.
- As with all martial activities, an authorized marshal of whatever forms are being displayed must be present if there is fighting at a demo. SCA combatants must be authorized in that weapons’ form/style in order to perform at the demo.
- Demo organizers should pay particular attention to site/host restrictions regarding SCA and live steel weapons. In general it is not a good idea to allow the general public to handle live steel weapons at a demo and live steel weapons must never be left unattended. SCA weapons (non–live steel) must not be left unattended and in plain sight and access of the public. (They may be stored unattended in tents, trucks, etc.)
- Since observers of SCA demos are generally not familiar with SCA combat activities, special care for safety must be taken. Boundary ropes are strongly recommended, and sufficient safety personnel must be provided to ensure safety of combatants and observers.
- A member of the SCA may not hit a member of the public with any weapon regardless of whether the member of the public is in armor and gives consent. Adult members of the public who wish to try armored combat should be referred to the nearest SCA group for instruction. (Note: target archery is not considered a “combat-related activity,” and so waivers need not be signed for that activity, but be certain that all appropriate safety procedures are taught and followed.)
- With specific safety restrictions, supervised children age 12 and under may hit an armored SCA fighter with boffer weapons only, not rattan weapons. Waivers are not needed from the parents of children who take part in “fight-a-knight” activities. Minimum safety standards include keeping unarmored observers at least 10 feet away from the armored fighter and child. Individual Kingdoms may make more restrictive policies.
- Whenever a demo is done with children present, a minimum of two unrelated adults must also be in attendance at that demo. “Children” refers to anyone under the age of legal majority.
- No one may bring weapons of any kind onto the grounds of a school without prior knowledge and consent of the school officials.
- There is no SCA policy that prohibits an SCA group from charging a “demo” fee to the organization requesting the demo. However, most groups accept donations rather than charging a set fee. With either a donation or a “demo” fee, all monies should be in the form of a check, payable to the “SCA, Inc., [group name].” Under no circumstances should an individual receive cash or a check made out to them personally. SCA site fees may not be charged at a demo unless the demo is held as part of an SCA event.
- Assuming appropriate safety precautions are in place, and with any necessary instruction, participation is a highly effective method of educating the demo guests—and fun for both the SCA member and guest.
If you have any questions about this, demos in general or anything pertaining to newcomers, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Let’s make newcomers everyone’s business!
Yours in service,