Children. For most SCA groups there is an ongoing conversation on how to involve the children more and more into the Society. For a long time we have had youth combat which starts at age six. While that is all well and good the rest of the children (ans there are quite a few in this area under the age of six) are left to their parents and their own devices. For the most part parents make it work. I have brought my oldest son to a few events and you can keep them happy. Just don’t expect that you, as a parent, will get to classes or activities that you want to go to. Again, not that big of an issue as long as you’re prepared for it. Yet the martial activities are only part of what we do in the SCA.
To that end, there have been two new developments here in the East Kingdom. The first is a Society-wide venture mentioned here, in the East Kingdom Gazette, about a scout-like program that they are trying to get off the ground. I’m very excited about this venture, I must say. The second is a movement started by our most gracious Queen, CCaoilfhionn Augusta. Called the Kids Service Initative, it uses a point system to reward children helping at events. With different chore difficulties and required effort being assigned different point values, each child participating attempts to gain at least ten points. Upon reaching ten points they hand in their form one half hour prior to court and get a token from the hand of the Queen. While this particular activity is mainly run at Royal Progress events however I was deputy autocrat and between the autocrat and I we decided that we would run this. It was a success in that we had three young ladies win ten points and get a token of a tassel from their Excellencies Bergental.
After seeing how well this worked I thought about other things that worked that I wanted to have at my event that I’m proposing to have next June. I hit a mental block when it came to youth classes. While classes work for older children it doesn’t make the most sense for the younger ones. As a parent I know that my schedule depends highly on that of my children. When they nap, eat, and want to play affect what I can do when I go to events. Among all this I try to consider the classes for the youth. Most likely my four year old is too young for most of the offerings and the classes only run once during an event. If he misses it due to napping then that’s that. The more I thought about the practice the more it seemed broken somehow. Children nap through it or the few classes clash with other things that mom and dad may want to do. Classes are one thing for the older kids but for the younger set something needs to be done.
So I got an idea. It’s not really a new idea as I’m kind of taking it from work. I work at Old Sturbridge Village. One of the things that we have there is a Craft Center. The concept is simple: a couple of tables with manned tables in a small outbuilding that offer a craft or two throughout the day. It closes at times for lunch but other than that we work to cover on lunch breaks. It works for a larger place so why not for events? My idea is very similar. Place a table or two in a well trafficked area and ask gentles to volunteer their time to staff the table, much like gate, for an hour or two. It would be on a drop by basis. Children could come with their parents at a time that suits them. The projects would be geared towards the younger crowd and, if it really works, have projects of varying difficulty to be offered. I’ve worked in the craft center and it’s a very neat thing. Children work at different paces and this format allows them to do that.
So one of my thoughts on this was to make a simple pouch. The best way to test out if something works is to make it yourself. So I did. I made a simple pouch with the idea that I could embroider the game board on the inside but I needed it to open flat. I went with a simple pouch. A plain colored lining with decorative outer. What became evident very quickly was that this was not going to be for the young ones. While the pouch I made (easily with the help of a sewing machine) is useful and pretty, it’s not something that could be finished at the table, which is a priority. At 75% of the work of the project should be able to be completed in 20 min or less. That’s the goal.
Being the stubborn person that I am, I wasn’t going to give up so easily. So I have a theory in mind that uses felt and hole punches. I’m hoping it will work but I need to try it first. The theory I think is sound and I’m looking forward to trying this out. Like classes children would be charged for their kits but I would try to keep it down to only a dollar or two.
More news to come as I try to make this happen.