In my last post about making magic moments in the SCA, it was all about what an individual can do to help make their own magic moments. This, though, is what we can do as a collective group, though this also relies on individuals.
The thing is, the SCA does not exist in a bubble. Art supplies are expensive. Scrolls and medallions, coronets and thrones – the very trappings of our public medieval experience – cost money. We expect much from our artisans to produce, produce, produce, and often on their own dime. And while many of them do this for the love of the game and with a bit of a disposable income, quite a few others do this just for the love of the game only.
Unfortunately, (and this is especially true for much of the US portions of the SCA), incomes are not stretching as far as we’d like. Supplies to create cost money. SCA artisans are often asked to donate their work (or get compensated with some raw materials). Combining this with time being a nonrenewable resource, it is easy to see how this model can get unsustainable quickly for players who are not so financially secure. Many artists are not also merchants, so the model really doesn’t become self-sustainable.
So, I think this is a super time to also remind people that largesse is a good thing, and it doesn’t always have to go to the Crown, either. Generosity is a good thing. Help other SCAdians out. If y’all see someone who needs something, and you know they don’t have the skills or interest in building those skills, and you have something just laying around. . . . just do it. Make their day. If you have disposable income, or spare supplies that you’re not going to use – give them to someone. Now, I am certainly not saying to give all of your possessions to someone, but do share when you can. Our game is richer for the people in it.
Thank scribes, potters, metalworkers and all others who make the things that the Crown literally gives away. Write award recommendations. Make it easier for them to get supplies. Advocate for people. Wordfame does a lot to boosting retention, but it’s also important to note when not to push people. Yes, this is a volunteer organization, but we have got to be better about expressing boundaries, and then respecting those boundaries. (for more details on this, check out Volunteer Management in the SCA) Instead of pushing people, let us learn to truly support people. We will set ourselves up for burn-out if we as a group are not aware of how others in our shires, baronies, principalities, and kingdoms are functioning as people and not just personae (radical thought, I know).
The SCA is a place where we can escape from some of the world’s issues for a bit and we can be around people of similar minds. If we are so focused on our arts and creating it for our group that we neglect what gets us coming to events, our work is for naught.