Foreward: Although this writing focuses on the SCA, much of it applies to other groups as well.
Last year, at about this time, I wrote a blog about why I thought that everyone in the SCA should go to a “great war”. That blog was inspired by the energy renewal that I had from attending Gulf Wars. Well, Gulf Wars did it again. I was standing in my booth chatting with a customer. I asked her where she was from and she hesitated for just a second.
She was not the only person that I ran across at Gulf Wars that I had this discussion with. It really has nothing to do with Gulf, and everything to do with people having to move between groups and Kingdoms, or even finding kindred spirits in their home area or online.
The look on her face told me everything. So let me give you a little background on my history in the SCA.
I started in the East Kingdom, in the Boston area, the Barony of Carolingia. I knew nothing, and do mean NOTHING, about the organization. The Barony that I played in included universities like MIT, Harvard, Boston University, Brandeis University, and Wellesley College. The people that I played with were all lifetime learners, archers, artisans, musicians. People who were well-rounded in their real life and transferred that attitude to the SCA. There were only a few heavy list fighters in our area, but they were also other things in our group: bards and artisans. We were fortunate to meet some truly awesome royalty, who understood the need for good court theater and chivalrous behavior. My husband and I were hooked. We jumped in with both feet, went to dozens of events and meetings, and earned our AOA’s.
And then we moved to California … the West. We were lucky enough to land in a small group that was very excited to have new members and welcomed us with open arms. There were some moments, but we jumped in enthusiastically … again. After a year of playing mostly locally, we started really getting out into the Kingdom, teaching, working with the Brewer’s Guild, and A&S, and holding officer positions. We had a little problem dealing with the lack of documentation that we saw in some of the A&S competitions, but we kept working, and helped people figure out ways to encourage better documentation. We were in our element. We had once again found the lifetime learners, the over-achievers, kindred spirits. We both earned our Laurels.
And a couple of years later, we moved again. To the Kingdom of Atenveldt. We moved based on where we could afford to buy a house, without any concern for where we would play in the SCA. Hindsight is always 20/20, but we were driven by finances and did not understand, having come from very populated areas, how few and far between SCA groups can be in some areas. Our house is located on 43 acres – an hour drive from our home Barony and an hour drive from another Barony. When we moved to the area, we more than doubled the number of Laurels in the area. We really didn’t play much for over a year. Finding kindred spirits was difficult. After a year we slowly started to attend events again. We played with both of our “local” groups because the activity level was waaay below what we were accustomed to. We eventually met a few kindred spirits around the kingdom. We actively supported both baronies and eventually sat as Baron and Baroness for our own barony.
So, what is next: How to find or create kindred spirits.