State of the Canton

Note from the Webminister: this is a re-post of a page by Senechal Brigida that existed before migrating to WordPress, with some edits. The original post was made in April 2020.

Back in December 2019, we held a meeting about the vision of where we wanted the Canton to go, and worked to identify the problems we wanted to fix most with the group. We set a goal of June to reevaluate our plan and see if things were going better or what we needed to adjust. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of our plans to meet regularly have been put on hold for our health and safety. We will hopefully hold a meeting in June but we will reevaluate our plans with the pandemic in mind, if we are able to meet in person at that time.

As of the end of March we have had 20 responses to our member survey. I was hoping to have more, and I will leave it open, but we have gotten a wide array of responses that have given me plenty of data for a starting point. I will therefore share with you what we have so far for numbers and some more potential goals for the group to try to repair.

Data from the Survey

Question 1: “When did you first come into the SCA?”

We had 19 responses, of those 19 responses our top two answers are tied at 21.1%: 21-25 years ago, or 26-30 years ago. 15 of the responses total had come into the SCA more than 20 years ago.

Question 2: “If you joined the SCA outside of Ealdnordwuda, when did you join our Canton?”

For this question we had 14 responses, and the top two responses were tied at 28.6%: 16-20 years ago, or 21-25 years ago. 11 of the 14 responses joined the Canton more than 10 years ago.

Question 3: “How old were you when you started in the SCA?”

Of 18 responses we had a solid 50% respond 18-22 as the age they started. This was the largest group by a huge margin.

Question 4: “How did you hear about the SCA?”

All 20 Participants answered this question. 12 of the comments mention that they heard about the group from a friend, 7 mention demos, one mentions newspaper articles.

Question 5: “What brought you to Ealdnordwuda?”

Out of 20 responses, proximity to friends, work, or home was the number one most likely reason someone came to check us out.

Question 6: “Do you identify as a member of Ealdnordwuda?”

18 people responded to the question, and of the 18, 83.3% identify as members of the Canton.

Question 7: “What was your experience like when you first came to Ealdnordwuda?”

Out of 19 responses, the answers are very evenly split. Either people were welcomed with warmth and generosity or there was a clear unpleasantness at the time. The more recent comments seem to trend towards more of a positive welcome. I feel this is an excellent indicator that we are on the right track.

Question 8: “Did you have any struggles joining the SCA within Ealdnordwuda?”

The answers that stood out to me as worry some were a few people felt uncomfortable asking questions; one person had struggled to find the group meetings; and a couple people felt unwelcome. Again, it seems as though these issues have been resolved, but they are things we need to be mindful of.

Question 9: “Do you feel that these struggles exist today?”

People are of two minds on this question. Of 17 responses, 9 people believe that the struggles do not exist or are different, and 6 believe that they still are there.

Question 10: “If you were to give a new member one piece of advice, what would it be?”

  • “Give yourself a year (or more) to figure who you are in the SCA. Don’t join a group/household because you think you should. Learn about that group first and take time to enjoy the Experience.”
  • “Take you time and be conservative about getting into the society and household hierarchy.”
  • “Join in, look listen to those who came before you, and enjoy the ride.”
  • “Don’t just do one thing. Experiment and experience what the Society has to offer some before settling or specializing in a particular interest. And always keep passionate and have fun.”
  • “Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for advice.”
  • “If you’re interested in history or fighting, just keep showing up. It doesn’t matter how much you do, just that you’re continually doing something.”
  • “Stay/Get involved. Anyway. Someway.”
  • “Explore everything and don’t stop asking questions.”
  • “Do Something… Be Someone… Go Somewhere… 1. Do Something: Be involved. Do something you like doing… or perhaps have never done. DO NOT just go to meetings… That is not the SCA. 2. Be Someone: Develop a persona… Research that persona… What would life have been like for your persona? What would you wear? What would you eat? What would you do for work or just to pass the time. Personas are the difference between what we do in the SCA and just a big costume party. 3. Go Somewhere: Get out and experience the SCA.”
  • “Go to other groups events or meetings. Meet new people and do new things beyond just your local group. That’s my advice and it worked for me and may others for several decades. Learn everything, do everything, meet everyone, be polite, chivalrous, and forgiving. Pursue your interests, and enjoy your activities.”
  • “If you try something and don’t like it, try something else. The scope of the organization is huge. Keep trying things!”
  • “I think it is really good to go to some smaller local events where you can meet people and chat with them. Also going to local fight practices and meetings can help you meet some people. One very good way to meet people is to volunteer to help work at an event.”
  • “Jump in, have fun, and have a thick skin?”
  • “Explore, experiment, ask questions, and try new things.”
  • “Try it”
  • “he more you put in the more you will get out. The SCA is a wonderful community, and one best experienced by diving in head first. It is a community that you can get lost in, in the best kind of way.”
  • “Get involved.”

Question 11: “What type(s) of recruiting methods do you think we should try?”

The suggestions we were given were demos, offer to teach at schools, targeted social media, focus media at LCC, downtown demos, tear-away strip fliers, fliers or a table at cons, and HEMA tournaments, twitter, library activities

Question 12: “Do you feel the method of distributing information regarding the Canton activities and updates is efficient and readily available?”

15 people answered this question. Three people felt the information is not available effectively, 7 people said yes and the rest were in the middle or had not actively sought information to form a solid opinion.

The rest of the questions go into how the Canton feels with regards to burnout. I feel that this is a lot to start with, so I will save those for June to discuss. These questions touch on a lot of the goals that we had in our December meeting for the Canton, and this will give us more insight for discussion. The survey is still open and I encourage anyone who has not yet taken the survey to go take it. Be sure to encourage others to take a look at the survey too. The more people we get to answer, the better picture we will have of the Canton.

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