Calontir Seneschal’s Handbook

(Revised June 2014)

  1. Legal Stuff
  2. Introduction and Thanks
  3. Being Seneschal (The Basics)
    1. Requirements for the Job
    2. Meetings
    3. Finances
    4. Files
    5. Demos
    6. Reports
    7. Property
  4. Events
    1. Kingdom Events
    2. Event Steward
    3. Contact the Reeve
    4. Event Paperwork and Forms (The Usual Suspects)
    5. Waivers
    6. Royal Events
    7. Contracts
  5. Branches
    1. Types of Branches (The Basic Six)
      1. Contact Group
      2. Incipient Group
      3. Shire
      4. College/Stronghold
      5. Canton
      6. Barony
        1. Appointment of a New Baronage
    2. Starting a Branch
      1. Contact Groups
      2. Incipient Groups
      3. Eleveation to Full Status
      4. Elevation to Baronial Status
      5. Time Line for Becoming a Group
  6. Officers
    1. Exchequer
    2. Knights Marshal
    3. Herald
    4. Minister of Arts and Sciences
    5. Chronicler
    6. Webminister
    7. Chirurgeon
    8. Deputies to the Seneschal
      1. Deputy for Social Media
      2. Chatelaine
      3. Minister of Youth
    9. Cracking the Whip on the Other Officers
  7. Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution in the SCA
    1. Steps to Follow for Conflict Resolution
  8. Media Relations
    1. Presenting the Desired Image to the Outside World
    2. Reality TV, Documentaries and the Like
    3. Approving Recruiting Information
    4. Press Kit
  9. Appendices
    1. Appendix A: Agreement to Serve
    2. Appendix B: SCA Background Check
    3. Appendix C: Seneschal Financial Responsibilities
    4. Appendix D: Event Steward Appointment
    5. Appendix E: Elasait’s Helpful Hints
  10. Postface
  11. Footnotes

Introduction and Thanks

Here’s the part where I am supposed to write about how hard it was to complete the re-write of this handbook. But much like being Kingdom Seneschal for Calontir, this job was actually quite easy. A special thanks to Duchess Aislinn for authoring “Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution,” to Duchess Magda for authoring “Media Relations,” and to Mistress Elasait for authoring “Elasait’s Helpful Hints.”

An additional round of thanks goes out to Duchess Aislinn for being my proofreader and wall off which to bounce ideas.

Now that you have read this, skip to page 31 and read “Elasait’s Helpful Hints.” Really! You should! Then come back here and start reading things in order.

Maighster Murdoch, Calon Steward (Dec. A.S. XLVII-Nov. A.S. XLIX)

Being Seneschal (The Basics)

The seneschal is the legal representative for the branch. Don’t let this scare you. It doesn’t mean that you will be sued every time something goes wrong. In fact, since you are an officer, you are specifically covered under the SCA insurance plan to protect you from that very thing.

Being the legal representative means you are in charge of the functioning of the group. You oversee events, sign contracts, interact with the media, and organize meetings, amongst other things.

Thank you for taking on this job.

Requirements for the Job

All local branch seneschals must be acceptable to the Kingdom Seneschal and the Crown. To become warranted as a local branch seneschal, you must do or already have completed the following:

  1. Pay national membership fees of the SCA.

  2. Read/review this handbook.

  3. Submit an agreement to serve to the appropriate regional deputy and the Kingdom Seneschal (found in the Appendix A or at http://www.calontir.org/files/pdf/seneschal/forms/sca-calontir-group-seneschal-agree-to-serve-2014.pdf)

  4. Submit a background check request to Corporate (found in the Appendix B or at http://www.calontir.org/files/pdf/seneschal/forms/sca-calontir-background-check-request-packet-2014.pdf)

    1. Inform the Kingdom Seneschal that you have submitted the background check request.

  5. Understand that you do not know everything and be willing to ask questions.

To maintain your warrant you must…

  1. Have an Emergency Replacement Deputy. They must be a paid national member.

  2. File reports (see Reports section) on time, regardless of whether you have received copies of all local officer reports.

    1. Report form at http://seneschal.calontir.org/seneschal-report-form.php

  3. Review the local exchequer’s report as required by the Kingdom Exchequer’s policies.

  4. Ensure the proper running of events and filing of related paperwork.

  5. Generally oversee the health of your local branch.

If you lose your warrant, your group needs to have a replacement ASAP. A group without a seneschal will lose its status as a full group within the SCA. This is bad.

Meetings

You are in charge of meetings. You can lead the meeting yourself, or designate someone else to do so. In Baronies, it is often customary for the Baron and/or Baroness to lead the meeting. Whatever you choose is up to you. Just make sure that everyone knows what role you are playing. It’s not a good meeting if the populace and officers just stare at each other waiting for someone to run the show.

Five things to remember about meetings:

  1. You da boss: You are ultimately in charge. Even if you aren’t the facilitator, you need to pay attention and help things move smoothly.

  2. Location, location, location: Make sure people know where your meetings are held. Libraries and community centers are some good places to both advertise and to meet.

  3. Date and Time: Make sure that everyone knows when the meetings are. Having a regular schedule really helps.

  4. What’s up, Doc?: Make sure people know the intent of the meeting. Is it business, sewing, cooking, reading, planning an event? An agenda is helpful for business meetings.

  5. Sunshine on my shoulders: All meetings of the SCA (from the Board of Directors (BoD) on down) are open to the general public. Keep that in mind if the business meeting is in someone’s home. You could have every Tom, Dick, and Harriett show up. And you have to let them in.

Finances

Finances are one of the most important things that a seneschal has to deal with. Although you aren’t the exchequer, you will be closely involved in money decisions for your group. Here are four things you need to know about the seneschal’s finance duties.

  1. You are required to be part of your group’s financial committee.

    1. The financial committee must be at least three people, two of whom must be you and the local Exchequer.

  2. You are required to be a signatory on the checking account.

    1. The other required signatory is the Exchequer. (Sensing a pattern here?)

  3. You are required to review/sign your local exchequer’s report.

    1. See Appendix C for the Kingdom Exchequer’s information on reports.

  4. You need to know/be familiar with Kingdom and Society financial policy.

    1. Society Financial Policy can be found here: http://www.sca.org/docs/finpolicies/SocietyFinancialPolicy.pdf

    2. Kingdom Financial Policy can be found here: http://www.sca.org/docs/finpolicies/CalontirFinancialPolicy.pdf

Files

Contracts, emails, scrolls, thank you notes…there are hundreds of things you may wish to keep in your seneschal’s files. All legal documents must be kept. Other items may turn out to be more important than you think. Find a safe way to store your documents and those of your predecessor. Scanning paper documents and storing all of your files electronically, in multiple devices, is suggested.

The SCA has stricter guidelines than the IRS or U.S. government for how long documents must be kept. Using multiple electronic storage devices allows you to store documents almost indefinitely. Make sure you do not rely on just one flash drive, external hard drive, or data storage Web site. One of these may crash. Having multiple copies ensures that one is always safe unless we are hit by an electromagnetic blast from a pulsar.

Demos

In the SCA, we refer to activities designed for the general public as demos, short for demonstrations. This is a broad category that covers several activities. Demos can be for recruitment, education, or practically anything. There are four big things to remember about demos.

  1. If there is a contract involved, either you or your officially appointed deputy (see Appendix D) must sign it.

  2. If the demo involves money (either paying or receiving) your exchequer must be involved.

  3. The general public MUST NOT participate in any combat related activities at a demo. (i.e. they can only look at a weapon, not swing it. NEVER!) Anyone wishing to participate in a combat related activity at any SCA event must first attend the appropriate practice and have a signed waiver on file.

  4. If the demo involves people representing themselves as the SCA, you must know about it and give approval. (If your group decides to skip the local Renfaire, your fighters cannot go there and have an “unofficial” practice.)

Reports

Do them. Every quarter. On the 20 th of April (first quarter), July (second quarter), Oct (third), and Jan (fourth). There is no longer such a thing as a Domesday (summative year-end report) report for the seneschal. It has been dropped from the seneschal’s reporting schedule. Anyone who says otherwise is itchin’ for a fight.

WARNING: This is a non-negotiable part of the office. Failure to turn in reports is grounds for the revocation of your warrant and installation of a new seneschal.

Your local officers must show you a copy of their report. If their report is entirely online, like yours is, ask if they can put you in the CC line. If not, ask them to email you when they send their reports. If you have an officer who has not reported to you, notify their Kingdom Superior and include a notation in your report.

Property

This is the exchequers area. There are a few things you should know when dealing with property owned by your local SCA group.

  1. The Exchequer’s handbook trumps this one when discussing property. However, if the rule seems fishy or stupid, always double check with the Kingdom Exchequer and Kingdom Seneschal.

  2. All property should appear on a quartermaster’s (caretaker) log. That way you know what you own.

  3. If the property is being stored at a group member’s house, they should be a paid member of the SCA.

  4. Property of the local group must be available for the use of the local group. If a member makes reasonable arrangements to pick up, use, and drop off the property for an SCA function (i.e. practice, demo, event), then they cannot be denied its use.

Events

Every activity that is officially sponsored by a branch of the SCA is considered an event. That means that it has been announced on the web page, email, announcements at a meeting, via the group’s newsletter, or whatever. A local event can include business meetings, fighter or archery practices, arts and sciences meetings or workshops, or local revels. To be covered by the SCA’s insurance, the event must:

  1. be open to any SCA person who wishes to attend,

  2. conform to SCA rules and policies, and

  3. be publicized by whatever means the group customarily uses to publicize such things.

It is important to note that the SCA liability insurance is for covering damages to a site or some similar occurrence. It is not protection for individuals from theft or injury. If a window is broken at a fighter practice, the insurance will cover the repairs needed. It will not cover a doctor’s visit for an individual cut by the broken glass.

Kingdom Events

A Kingdom event is any event published in the Kingdom newsletter (The Mews). Generally these are held on a Saturday and involve some sort of competitive or instructional activity and a feast. Of course, that is not required and some events do a lot more (Lilies War). Hopefully the Crown attends your event so they can hand out awards and do other official SCA business. In order for official SCA business to be conducted at an event:

  1. You must contact the Kingdom Reeve (Reeve@calontir.org) to have your event placed on the official Kingdom Calendar. (The calendar on the website is NOT the official Kingdom Calendar.)

  2. The event must appear on the Kingdom Calendar in the Mews, for at least the month of the event (or the month before if it’s being held the first weekend of the month).

  3. A flyer must be published in the Mews which includes all the information required in the Mews submission policies.

  4. A warranted officer of the SCA must be present at all times.

Revels, potlucks, and “mini-events” that are primarily for the enjoyment of those living in the local group are NOT Kingdom events and should not appear on the Kingdom calendar.

Event Steward

You need to appoint an Event Steward for all Kingdom events and any local event that does not clearly fall under another Great Officer (you don’t appoint a steward for fighter practice, the group marshal handles that). The Event Steward is the person who will be in charge of running the event. This person must be a paid member of the SCA. The Event Steward is a temporary deputy of the local seneschal, and you must appoint him or her in writing. A form for the written appointment of an event steward appears in Appendix D.

Since they are a deputy to the seneschal, you may delegate the authority to sign contracts to this person. You must designate which contracts are delegated to the Event Steward. Suggested ones are site rental, port-a-john rental, tent rental. It is strongly advised that you see all contracts prior to signing. That way you can ensure that the costs do not exceed your group’s budget.

The Event Steward is the legal representative for the SCA, as it relates directly to that event. Starting at the bottom, the steps of authority over an event are as follows: Event Steward, Local Seneschal, Regional Seneschal, Kingdom Seneschal, Society Seneschal. Only the ranking seneschal at an event can decide whether to pull SCA sanction from an event if things get out of hand. (This is covered in Corpora and requires extreme circumstances.)

Contact the Reeve

You need to contact the Kingdom Reeve at the time you begin planning your event to get it on the official Kingdom Calendar. Groups must be at least 150 miles apart if they intend to host events on the same weekend. It is suggested that they are further apart. The Reeve will let you know if you are in violation of the distance rule, but anyone with access to Google Maps should be able to figure it out before calling the Reeve.

Groups are allowed one (1) traditional event on the Reeve’s calendar. To be considered traditional, an event must be held for three consecutive years on the same weekend. Once that has been done, the local seneschal must contact the reeve and request traditional event status. Traditional event status will permanently reserve that weekend for your group’s event, assuming there is not already a conflict… Rules regarding conflicting events will apply to anyone who attempts to schedule against a traditional event.

Event Paperwork and Forms (The Usual Suspects)

The Event Budget Proposal form is found here. (http://www.calontir.org/files/pdf/exchequer/event/sca-calontir-event-budget-proposal.pdf)

The Event Financial Report must be completed within 30 days of the event 1. It is found here. (http://www.calontir.org/files/pdf/exchequer/event/sca-calontir-event-financial-report-2013.pdf)

The Non-Member Surcharge Submission form is due within two weeks 2. It is here (http://www.calontir.org/files/pdf/exchequer/event/sca-calontir-nms-transfer.pdf)

Insurance Certificate ordering instructions (http://www.sca.org/docs/pdf/insurancecert.pdf)

All Gate Sign-in forms must be sent to the Waiver Secretary within two weeks of the event. The Waiver Secretary can be contacted at Waivers@calontir.org.

Adult Gate Sign-in form (http://www.calontir.org/files/pdf/gate/sca-calontir-adult-gate-form.pdf)
Minor Gate Sign-in form (http://www.calontir.org/files/pdf/gate/sca-calontir-minor-gateform.pdf)
Instructions (http://www.calontir.org/files/pdf/gate/sca-calontir-gate-form-instructions.pdf)

Waivers

This is really simple. Make sure you have the most recent version of the appropriate waiver for the event you are holding. Make sure to follow the rules regarding signing it. (Generally, blue card holders do not need to sign. However, EVERYONE on site signs the equestrian waiver for events that have sanctioned equestrian activities.) Here are the most common ones.

Minor’s Consent to Participate (http://www.calontir.org/files/pdf/waivers/sca-minor-waiver.pdf)
Medical Authorization for Minors (http://www.calontir.org/files/pdf/waivers/sca-minor-medicalauth-notarized.pdf)

Equestrian Waiver (You only need to print the one for the state your event is in.) (http://www.sca.org/docs/pdf/AdultEquestrianWaivers.pdf)

The following types of events are exempted from needing waivers:

  1. Business meetings, guild or interest group meetings where no fighting occurs.

  2. Dance practices.

  3. Demos (fighters and marshals at demos must have waivers on file, however).

  4. Archery practice. Because target archery is not considered a combat-related activity, the SCA does not require waivers to shoot archery.

Event waivers must be sent to the Waiver Secretary (Waivers@calontir.org) within two weeks of an event. Make copies for yourself. Or better yet, scan them and store your electronic copies on multiple devices.

Royal Events

Royal events are defined by Calontir Kingdom Law. As of the publication of this handbook, there are seven. (Crown Tournaments, Coronations, Calontir Lilies War, Queen’s Prize, Kingdom Arts & Sciences, King’s Companie of Archers Tournament, and CalonCon) No other events may be scheduled with the Reeve opposite these events.

There is a bid system in place for each of these events. It is not exactly the same for each one, so contact the appropriate Kingdom Officer and the Kingdom Seneschal if your group wishes to host a Royal Event.

Baronies are periodically (see the Kingdom Web site for the rotation schedule) responsible for ensuring that an acceptable bid is made for Coronations and Crown Tournaments. This DOES NOT mean that the Barony has to submit the bid itself. But the Barony must ensure that there is at least one bid submitted that has a good site, enough man power, and is well organized.

Contracts

The seneschal is the legal representative of the SCA. Only the seneschal (or a deputy appointed in writing (see Appendix D) can sign a contract on behalf of the SCA. All contracts you sign must name your group, not just the SCA. (i.e. SCA Inc.-Shire of Muddville). You are free to sign contracts directly related to local event activities. (i.e. site rental, tent rental, port-a-johns, hay bales, etc.)

Except for hosting an event or other similar circumstances, should your group decide to participate in an activity that requires a written contract between your group and another legal entity, you MUST contact the Kingdom Seneschal prior to any agreement being made or contract being signed. By Kingdom Law, only the Kingdom Seneschal is authorized to sign any contract which commits the SCA or the Kingdom to perform in any way. This includes contracts for SCA participation in paid demos, Renaissance festivals, or other activities where the SCA is paid a fee for participating.

Remember, contracts are legal documents. Failure of your local SCA group to uphold your end of a contract (pay fees, vacate site on time, provide a service) could lead to legal action against the contract signer, you, and the SCA.

Branches

Types of Branches (The Basic Six)

Contact Group

A contact group is a person or persons living in Crown lands (zip codes not claimed by another local group), who are not ready to try to form a full status group. This is how every group in Calontir started.

Incipient Group

This is a group that has enough people to fill some officer positions and have local activities (A&S farbles, FP (see Starting a Group for more details). They are actively working towards full status and have a sponsoring full status group who is mentoring them through the process. Incipient groups are not allowed to hold funds or have bank accounts. Their sponsoring group does this for them.

Shire

This is the basic unit of the SCA. Shires are full status groups and as such, are no longer officially being sponsored (although they may still have strong ties to their mentor group). A shire can host Kingdom Events, sponsor another group, and spend their own money.

In order to maintain full shire status the shire must have:

  1. A seneschal, an exchequer, and either a knight marshal, herald, or a minister of arts and sciences who are reporting to their Kingdom superiors and have or are seeking warrants.

    1. All warranted officers must report as required by their Kingdom superior. Failure to do so risks losing full group status. So if you are a small group, don’t feel like everyone has to be an officer. The magic number is three.

  2. A minimum of five Sustaining Members (Family and Associate Memberships do NOT count 3).

College/Stronghold

This group is, for all intents and purposes, exactly like a shire. The difference is that the SCA recognizes groups built around modern institutions may have sudden and severe fluctuations in membership. Therefore, special rules were put in place for groups based around an institution of learning (College) and a group based around a military institution (Stronghold).

Should this groups membership drop too low, they may go into abeyance. It’s a fancy term and really, only the BoD and Society Seneschal need to know the minutiae of what it means. As far as you and the Kingdom Seneschal are concerned, it buys the group time to recover. That doesn’t mean that it is not serious. A group in abeyance may not have any money or property. The Kingdom takes those over. Officers do not need to report, although they are encouraged to continue doing so. Focus is placed on recruitment.

The term of abeyance varies, but Calontir tradition says it will be reviewed at least once a year to determine if the group should be returned to full status, remain in abeyance, or be dissolved. This is not something to ask for lightly, but it just might be the thing that saves your group.

In order to avoid abeyance and maintain full college/stronghold status the group must have:

  1. A seneschal, an exchequer, and either a knight marshal, herald, or a minister of arts and sciences who are reporting to their Kingdom superiors and have or are seeking warrants.

    1. All warranted officers must report as required by their Kingdom superior. Failure to do so risks losing full group status. So if you are a small group, don’t feel like everyone has to be an officer. The magic number is three.

  2. A minimum of five Sustaining Members (Family and Associate Memberships do NOT count 3).

Canton

A canton is a unique group to run. That is because a canton is the group in the middle. It has the populace, officers, and proven track record to be a shire, yet its geographic domain is within the borders of a Barony. Cantons do a balancing act between being independent groups and being overseen by their Barony.

Although this may seem to mean that a canton is something less than a shire, there are many benefits to this relationship that shires do not have. Cantons have a nearby group that is always there as a resource, support system, and mentor. Cantons often have a minimal officer corps because their populace can (and do) attend Baronial functions. Canton officers report to both their Baronial superior/counterpart as well as their Kingdom superior. This ensures that the Baronial officers can lend a hand wherever it is needed right away.

In order to maintain full canton status the group must have:

  1. A seneschal, an exchequer, and either a knight marshal, herald, or a minister of arts and sciences who are reporting to their Kingdom superiors and have or are seeking warrants.

    1. All warranted officers must report as required by their Kingdom superior. Failure to do so risks losing full group status. So if you are a small group, don’t feel like everyone has to be an officer. The magic number is three.

  2. A minimum of five Sustaining Members (Family and Associate Memberships do NOT count 3).

Barony

A Barony is the largest local branch in the SCA. They are usually based around large metropolitan areas. A Baron and Baroness are appointed by the Crown to act as the voice of the Crown for those lands, and often the region.

Each Baronage is a little different and so is the relationship between them and the officers. Take some time to sit down with your Baronage and discuss what they see as their role and what they see as yours. Running the Barony is a joint venture and you should make sure that the Baronage and the seneschal work together like a well-oiled machine.

In order to maintain full Baronial status the group must have:

  1. At least 25 paid national members.

    1. of those 25 a minimum of 15 must be sustaining members.

  2. A full slate of Great Officers (currently: Seneschal, Exchequer, Herald, Marshal, Minister of Arts & Sciences, and Chronicler. The BoD is considering changes, so verify this before you call it gospel).

    1. At this time those offices are Seneschal, Exchequer, Knights Marshal, Herald, Minister of Arts & Sciences, Chronicler, and Web minister.

  3. Per the rotation cycle, ensure that an acceptable bid is in place for Crown Tourney and Coronation (see http://calendar.calontir.org/crown-coronation-bid-system.php for full details) This DOES NOT mean that the Barony has to submit the bid itself. But the Barony must ensure that there is at least one bid submitted that has a good site, enough man power, and is well organized.

Appointment of a New Baronage

At some point, the Crown will be appointing a new Baronage for the group. Whether this is part of a group elevation, lateral status change, or because the previous Baronage wishes to retire, as Baronial seneschal, you will be called upon to assist in this process.

Anytime a new Baronage is chosen, the Crown is required to act with the best interests of the group but “the appointments must not be substantively opposed by the populace of the barony.” (Corpora V.A.1). “There must be a consensus in polling the area. This can be done by a mailing to the members, or by passing a petition around a meeting.” ( SCA Inc. Seneschal’s Handbook XVIII.B.8)

When a new Baronage is to be chosen, the Kingdom Seneschal shall request mailing labels from the corporate offices for a poll to be sent out via U.S. Post. However, this will only reach the paid national members within the group. You should assist the Kingdom Seneschal in gathering the input of as many of the non-members who regularly participate in the local activities of your group as possible. This may be as simple as handing out copies of the poll at the next meeting or it could be organizing an online forum. Whatever format you and the Kingdom Seneschal choose, make sure that your populace knows they need to send their input to the Kingdom Seneschal and the Crown (or Heirs depending on the timing).

Starting a Branch

Contact Groups:

Requirements to become a contact person/head of a contact group, you must:

  1. Live in unclaimed Kingdom lands (i.e. no SCA group already there, ask the Kingdom Seneschal to be sure)

  2. Be a subscribing member of the SCA (Sustaining or Family Membership)

  3. Write to the Kingdom Seneschal introducing yourself (Seneschal@calontir.org)

  4. Submit an agreement to serve and background check form (Appendices A & B)

  5. Get confirmation from the Kingdom Seneschal that everything is approved

As a result:

  1. Your name, address and phone number will be listed in the Mews.

  2. You may act as a representative of the SCA in your area.

To maintain contact person status you must report to the Deputy Kingdom Seneschal of your region on the same quarterly schedule as group seneschals, i.e. on January 20, April 20, July 20, and October 20. You cannot use the online form. Instead, send your Deputy Kingdom Seneschal an email detailing your contact info, membership info, how many people you have, and what activities you have been doing. NOTE: You CANNOT have Fighter Practice nor Archery Practice without an authorized marshal AND a warranted officer present. Of course if the authorized marshal is also warranted, then one person has you covered.

Incipient Groups:

It should be the goal of all contact groups to grow enough to advance to incipient status. That step should be taken within two years of becoming a contact group. If advancement will be too difficult, it is advisable to let the contact group dissolve at this time. You can always try it again. The Kingdom Seneschal will make the final decision on the status change.

To become an incipient group (shire, college, canton, etc.) you must have:

  1. A seneschal, a herald, and either a knight marshal or a minister of arts and sciences who have reported to their Kingdom superiors and have or are seeking warrants

  2. A minimum of five Sustaining Members (Family and Associate Memberships do NOT count 4)

  3. A name for the group. The group’s herald must have contacted the Kingdom Herald to begin the process of registering the name.

  4. A Sponsoring Group. (Usually the closest full status group)

  5. Submitted a petition to the Kingdom Seneschal to become an incipient group

Petitions to gain incipient status should include…

  1. Group name and mundane territory you wish to claim by zip code

  2. The name of your Sponsor Group

  3. Signatures of all officers/populace (include member number(s) if applicable)

Elevation to Full Status:

It should be the goal of all incipient groups to grow enough to advance to full status. That step should be taken within two years of becoming an incipient group. If not, the Kingdom Seneschal may decide to grant an extension. If no extension is granted, the incipient group will return to contact group status. The final decision on whether to recommend the status change will be made by the Kingdom Seneschal.

To become a full status group (shire, college, canton, etc., NOT barony) you must have:

  1. A seneschal, a herald, an exchequer 5 and either a knight marshal or a minister of arts and sciences who have reported to their Kingdom superiors and have or are seeking warrants

  2. A minimum of five Sustaining Members. It is preferred that you have eight to ten Sustaining Members. This is a key factor in determining if you are ready for full status. (Family and Associate Memberships do NOT count. NO EXCEPTIONS)

  3. A name for the group, which has been approved by the College of Heralds

  4. Heraldic arms for the group which has, at a minimum, been submitted to and should be approved by the College of Heralds

  5. A record of holding regular meetings and activities

  6. A record of reporting as required by your Kingdom superiors

  7. A record of participating on a Kingdom level as much as you can (if no one knows your members, you likely won't get elevated)

  8. At least one successful Kingdom level event hosted by the group prior to elevation (with the help of your Sponsor Group)

  9. Submitted a petition to the Crown and Kingdom Seneschal to advance your group status

Petitions to gain full status should include…

  1. Group name and mundane territory you wish to claim by zip code

  2. The name of your Sponsor Group

  3. Signatures of all officers/populace (include mermber number(s) if applicable)

  4. A list of SCA events your group has hosted (regional and Kingdom level only)

Elevation to Baronial Status

If a group is large enough, they may want to become barony. There are a few minor differences between an elevation to baronial status and an elevation from incipient to full status.

In order to be considered for elevation to baronial status the group MUST have:

  1. At least 25 paid national members

    1. Of those 25 a minimum of 15 must be sustaining members

  2. A full slate of Great Officers

    1. At this time, those offices are Seneschal, Exchequer, Knights Marshal, Herald, Minister of Arts & Sciences, Chronicler, and Webminister

  3. A strong record of activity

    1. This means holding regularly scheduled meetings and practices, hosting a similar number of events as other baronies in the Kingdom, and having populace members who are known throughout the Kingdom.

  4. A significant majority of the populace that wishes to advance to baronial status.

    1. This will be established by a poll sent out by the Kingdom Seneschal.

    2. You may be asked to assist in collecting input from locally active non-members.

  5. A name for the group, which has been approved by the College of Heralds

  6. Heraldic arms for the group which has been approved by the College of Heralds

  7. A person or persons acceptable to the Crown to become the baronage.

    1. Per Corpora V.A.1. “…the appointments must not be substantively opposed by the populace of the barony.”

    2. This will be established by a poll sent out by the Kingdom Seneschal.

    3. You may be asked to assist in collecting input from locally active non-members.

    4. Input should be sent to both the Kingdom Seneschal and the Crown (or Heirs depending on the timing)

If your group has met all the requirements, the Kingdom Seneschal will review your request. Should your request be acceptable to the Kingdom Seneschal and the Crown, it will be forwarded to the Society Seneschal and BoD for final approval. Cross your fingers. But if you have everything in place, you will soon be a barony.

Time Line for Becoming a Group

This is a guideline. Obviously the days are not written in stone; however your group should stay close to this time-line in order to ensure that you have met all the requirements of a group wishing to gain full status.

Year One

Day 1-Incipient status approved: You got a letter from the Kingdom Seneschal saying that you have been elevated from contact group to incipient group. Call your participants to give them the good news. Jump up and down. Have a party. Make sure that your herald has submitted your name. It costs money to do that, but you can’t have a bank account. Not a problem. Take up a collection, give the money to your Sponsor Group and have them cut a check to the College of Heralds for you.

Day 30-Get an Exchequer: If you have not already filled this office, you should do so now. Your exchequer’s job will be to learn how to do the job. S/he should get together with the exchequer of your Sponsor Group. Your exchequer will learn the basics of what can and cannot be purchased with group money, how to complete the report, and how to run troll for an event. You CANNOT open a bank account yet. So, if you do something that earns your group money (i.e. pass the hat, etc.) your exchequer needs to give the money to your Sponsor Exchequer. Your Sponsor will hold the money for you until you gain full status.

Day 60-Start planning for a regional event: In order to become a full status group, you will need to have shown your group can host a Kingdom level event. Before jumping into the frying pan, you should practice standing on the stove top and not getting burned. In other words, start with a regional event. It will get your feet wet, give your group the chance to make mistakes, and make sure that groups near you recognize that your group is growing and will be a fun place to visit regularly. Some examples of regional events are regional fighter practices, A&S farbles, or a medieval “ball”. Keep it relatively small. You don’t want to bite off more than your group can chew. Your Sponsor Group will help you out. Make sure to ask them questions and get their advice.

Day 90-Submit Heraldic Arms: If you didn’t do this when you submitted your group name, you should submit heraldic arms now. Get everybody together and discuss what you would like to be the symbol representing your group. Is there a prominent geographic feature near your group? Is your area known for a certain type of wildlife? These are just a couple of ideas to get your group thinking about heraldic arms. In order to gain full status, your group needs to have heraldic arms. It is a long process to get them approved, so you should be submitting them ASAP.

Day 150-Host your regional event: You’ve had three months to plan and prepare. You have a site, a plan, and have sent out fliers to the nearby groups. Now is the big test. Here is where you find out if you’ve got the right formula for running a troll, marshaling a tourney, judging an A&S competition, etc.

Day 155-event review: A couple of days after the event, get everyone together and dissect it. This is a no blame examination of what worked and what didn’t. After the dissection, discuss ways you can improve. You still have to hold a Kingdom level event, so now is the time to start figuring out what you need to work on and what worked well.

Day 210-Start thinking about your first Kingdom level event: This will be the big test for your group. You’ve hosted a regional event. You’ve learned your lessons. Now is the time to start putting those lessons to use. As soon as your group decides on a date to hold their first event (about six months from now), contact the Kingdom Reeve and get it on the Calendar. Your Sponsor Seneschal will have to verify the date with the Reeve, but you can get it penciled in. Make sure you let your Sponsor Group know the date you chose. You will need their help, and it would be bad if you tried to schedule an event when they have one of their own.

Day 300-Update your Sponsor on your event: It is a good idea to keep your Sponsor Group updated on your event plans. Your Sponsor Group will be making a recommendation to the Kingdom Seneschal regarding your elevation to full status. By keeping them informed, you give them the opportunity to help you with problems that they know about from experience. You might not see the problem coming, but trust your Sponsor Group. Problems happen.

Day 365-Celebrate your successes/Prepare for the future: You’ve survived your first year. Take a moment to pat yourselves on the back. Now it is time to really get focused on your first Kingdom event. This will be the biggest factor in your elevation. The fact that you made it this far means you have officers, they are reporting, you have a decent number of members, people know you exist, and you haven’t had a major explosions.

Year Two

Day 30-Host your first Kingdom level event: This is the day the whole Kingdom gets to meet you. You probably have fighting, A&S, and a feast today. If it is the summer, you may have archery as well. You could even have some sort of quest or classes. Whatever your activities are, there are going to be more people participating in them than you had in your regional event. This may cause some headaches. But that is okay. Take a deep breathe. Relax. You’ve made a plan based on your past experiences. You’ve kept your Sponsor Group informed and listened to their advice. Everything is going really smoothly.

Then someone comes up to you in modern clothing and says “Can you show me to Their Majesties Privy Chamber?” Now panic! Not really. The crown MIGHT decide to show up to your first event. If they do, they are there for two reasons. 1. They want to support your group by attending. More people show up to events that the Crown attends. 2. They want to meet your group. Although it is likely that they will not be the Crown that you petition for elevation, they will be asked their opinion. This is their chance to get to know your group so they can tell their successors how wonderful your group is.

Day 35-event review: You’ve done this before. A couple of days after the event, get everyone together and dissect it. This is a no blame examination of what worked and what didn’t. After the dissection, discuss ways you can improve.

Day 60-Fix your arms/group name: It is quite possible that the College of Heralds will tell you that either your name or device (heraldic arms) didn’t pass. They should have given your herald an explanation. Take some time to read through this as a group. Do you want to make the changes they suggest? Do you have a different, better idea? Whatever you choose, make sure you resubmit ASAP. You need these in order to gain full status.

Day 90-Start working on your petition: In order to be elevated, you have to prove that your group is worthy, and ask for recognition. You should contact your Sponsor Group and the Kingdom Seneschal and ask them what they believe should be in the petition. Of course, you’ll have to show that you meet the nine requirements of becoming a full status group. But there is more to it than that. You want to sell the idea. Find out what the Kingdom Seneschal is specifically looking for. Ask your Sponsor Group to tell you what they think you do really well. This is kind of like a cover letter to your résumé. You want to highlight your good points, demonstrate growth, and show why you are ready for the challenge ahead.

Day 120-Start planning a second Kingdom level event: Hopefully you have heard back from the Kingdom Seneschal and been told that everything looks good and you will be recommended for advancement to full status. This is a special day. You want it to be a big SCA party where you group is the guest of honor. That means you need to host a second event. Since you’ve been through this a couple of times, it will seem like you are experts and can do it in a month or two. Don’t be over confident. This is your wedding day. You want to make sure that everything is in place so that no one changes their mind on the way to the altar. Make sure you give yourself enough time to plan this event. Just because the current crown may be stepping down next month doesn’t mean you have to hold your second event next week. Six months is a good time-line for planning an event.

Day 150-Petition the Crown/Make a group banner: Read your petition to the whole group one last time. Make sure you spelled everything correctly. Their is nothing worse then senting a leter axing for elivashun too full statis that haz bad speling or grammer. Make sure everyone likes it (or at least doesn’t hate it). Have every person who plays in your group sign it, whether they are a paid national member or not. If they are a national member, have them put their member number next to their name.

Assuming that the current King and Queen will still be the Crown when your second event happens, address your petition to them. If they will be stepping down before your event, address your petition to the Prince and Princess. Make sure that a copy is sent to the entire Royal Family (King, Queen, Prince, Princess; also include their Chamberlain(s)), no matter who will actually be the ones making the decision. You MUST send a new copy to the Kingdom Seneschal. S/he will be making the official recommendation to the Crown and Society. You should also send one to your Sponsor Group. You want to make sure that everybody knows you are ready and want to be elevated to full status. There is no specific format for a petition, but you should make sure you have included the five required elements (name/territory, officers, Sponsor Group, events hosted, everyone’s signature)

If you haven’t done it already, you should start working on a banner for your group. You got your heraldic arms passed by the College of Heralds. Why do that if you aren’t going to show it off? Hopefully you have been paying attention to the banners you have seen at other events. Ask people how they made their banner. You will get a lot of good advice from people who have already made the mistakes. And remember, this banner will be prominent at your elevation, so work hard and try to involve everyone in the process.

Day 300-Host second event (elevated to full status): Here it is. This is your group’s day. Have fun. Revel in it. Don’t curse at the Crown (ask Maighster Murdoch for a story). Make sure all of your officers are there if at all possible. Of course, all of your group members should want to be at this event anyway. The elevation ceremony is different depending on the Crown, the group, and the time of year. Talk to the Crown ahead of time and have a plan. But most importantly…Jump for joy! You did it! And it took less than two years. You are awesome!

This is a difficult process, but it is very rewarding when you are finally elevated to full status. Your regional Deputy Seneschal and your Sponsor Group are there to help you. Ask them questions. Seek their advice. And most of all, listen when they tell you something. They speak from experience.

Officers

Exchequer

The Society has a system of financial reporting in which all parts of the organization participate. The person in charge of the financial reporting (money) is known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer which is a period term for treasurer. Current paid membership in the SCA is requirement for this office.

Duties:

  1. Take care of the money. Try to be frugal.

  2. Make sure everyone is informed about the status of the group’s money and equipment.

  3. Only give the money out by check ( two signatures) and only after you have receipts or carefully signed paperwork, because you’re responsible for the money.

  4. Be honest and keep a good sense of humor.

  5. If you have questions ask.

Quarterly reports include the SCA financial form, the quarter’s monthly bank statements and a copy of the check ledger or check register.

Reporting Due Dates:

1 st Quarter - April 15 th
2 nd Quarter - July 15 th
3 rd Quarter Oct 15 th
4 th Quarter January 15 th
Domesday (Year end review) January 31 st

Review the financial status with the group and the seneschal as least quarterly or more frequently based on the group’s financial committee’s policies.

Domesday Reports must be signed by the group seneschal and exchequer and then sent to the Kingdom Exchequer.

Knights Marshal

The Knights Marshals are the real workhorses of the Marshallate. Every group with martial activities must have a warranted Knights Marshal or a Knights Marshal-in-Training (Marshallate representative) who is responsible for all such activities within that group.

The Knights Marshal is responsible for conducting local fighting practice, demonstrations of fighting, etc. The Knights Marshal should help in the finding of a site, training of fighters, enforcing armor and weapon standards and instructing the fighters in the fighting conventions of Calontir.

The Knights Marshal must make every effort to ensure the safety of everyone participating or watching. The Knights Marshal is also responsible for keeping of records on all fighters of the local group.

The Knights Marshal must report Quarterly to the Earl Marshal, using the FALCON application (http://falcon-sca.appspot.com/).

Reporting Due Dates:

1 st Quarter - April 15 th
2 nd Quarter - July 15 th
3 rd Quarter October 15 th
4 th Quarter January 15 th

These activities fall under the marshallate: Heavy Weapons, Calon Steel, Archery, Equestrian, List Tables

Herald

The herald is the officer charged with assisting with the creation of names and devices for the populace. Heralds may also create ceremonies and write scroll texts, give announcements at events, run courts, announce fighters at tournaments, and record and update the order of precedence.

Reporting Due Dates:

1 st Quarter - April 15 th
2 nd Quarter - July 15 th
3 rd Quarter Oct 15 th
4 th Quarter January 15 th
Domesday (Year end review) January 31 st

Local heralds report to their seneschals and to their regional reporting deputies, which are as follows:

  • Heralds in the Northeast region (Axed Root, Coeur d’Ennui, Deodar, Flinthyll, Heraldshill, No Mountain, Shadowdale) report to Kite Herald (Kite@calontir.org).

  • Heralds in the Northwest region (Carlsby, Crescent Moon, Dun Ard, Lonely Tower, Lost Moor, Mag Mor) report to Sparrow Hawk Herald (SparrowHawk@calontir.org).

  • Heralds in the Central region (Amlesmore, Aston Tor, Bellewode, Cum an Iolair, Forgotten Sea, Loch Smythe) report to Harrier Herald (Harrier@calontir.org).

  • Heralds in the Southeast region (Calais Nuadh, Midgaards Crossing, Oakheart, Standing Stones, Three Rivers, Wyvern Cliffe) report to Buteo Herald (Buteo@calontir.org).

  • Heralds in the Southwest region (Bois d’Arc, Crystal Mynes, Grimfells, Spinning Winds, Vatavia, Westumbria) report to Gerfalcon Herald (Gerfalcon@calontir.org).

Reports are usually written documents that detail submissions, heraldic activities in the local groups, and any other heraldic activity in the local group. For assistance, please contact the regional reporting deputy for the local group (find them here: http://seneschal.calontir.org/witan.php#herald).

Minister of Arts and Sciences

Minister of Arts and Sciences is responsible for fostering the study of period culture and technology, and methods for producing historically accurate artifacts and performances. His/her duties include coordinating the efforts of local branches, and promoting the dissemination of accurate information about the fields under study.

Reporting Due Dates:

1 st Quarter: April 15 th
2 nd Quarter: July 15 th
3 rd Quarter: October 15 th
4 th Quarter: January 15 th
Domesday: January 31 st

Chronicler

Local group chroniclers report directly to the Kingdom Chronicler. Local chroniclers are warranted for two years, with a copy of the warrants signed twice a year at Winter and Summer coronation. There is no year-end report due from group chroniclers. Instead, the local group’s newsletter is that group chronicler’s report. Local group chroniclers are able to set their own publication schedule of the group’s newsletter. This can vary from monthly, bi-monthly, to even quarterly. It is expected that once the group chronicler sets the publication schedule they remain on that schedule for the duration of their time as a warranted chronicler. If a local chronicler fails to submit a report twice in a row, they may have their warrant revoked, and be removed from office.

Copies of the newsletter must be sent to the following people: Their Majesties (Falcon-Crown@calontir.org); Their Highnesses, if applicable (Falcon-Heirs@calontir.org); The Kingdom Seneschal (Seneschal@calontir.org); The Kingdom Chronicler (Chronicler@calontir.org); The Deputy for Local Chroniclers (DepChronicler@calontir.org); The Society Archivist (archivist@sca.org)

Chroniclers must ensure that the proper release forms are obtained and kept on file. See the Kingdom webpage (http://chronicler.calontir.org/) for those forms.

Webminister

A Group Webminister’s duty is to maintain a group’s Web page and is responsible for ensuring the site’s content complies with Society and Kingdom guidelines. Group Webministers should be able to demonstrate knowledge of HTML, be familiar with FTP usage, write and/or edit content, and have reliable e-mail/internet access. They should be able to regularly update the Web site(s) for which they are warranted and respond to inquiries and communications is regard to the Web site(s) in a timely manner.

Reporting Due Dates:

Group Webministers submit Domesday reports on January 15 th. For quarterly reporting, the group’s Web site acts as the report.

The Seneschal should periodically check the Web site ever so often, to know what information about their group is being presented to the world. It’s a good idea to talk to the Group Webminister occasionally and know what projects they are working on or have planned.

Administrative access for SCA Internet sites should never be kept by a single individual. At a minimum, administrative access should be given to both the Group Webminister and Group Seneschal.

Chirurgeon

As of this writing, the SCA is considering doing away with this office. Check with the Kingdom Seneschal to see if still exists.

Deputies to the Seneschal

Social Media

The role of the Kingdom Social Media Officer is to ensure that the social media platforms used by the Kingdom are mediated and comply with the Society Social Media policy. Social Media Officers ensure that the face of the Kingdom of Calontir, on social media platforms (i.e. FaceBook, Yahoo Groups, Google+, etc.), is representing the Society and Kingdom in a professional manner while sharing information, updates on Kingdom events, news and messages from the Royals.

MAKE SURE YOU READ THE SCA SOCIAL MEDIA POLICIES:
http://socsen.sca.org/social-media/social-media-resources/

Reporting Due Dates:

1 st Quarter: April 15 th
2 nd Quarter: July 15 th
3 rd Quarter: October 15 th
4 th Quarter: January 15 th

Chatelaine

The chatelaine will have various duties according to the needs of the group. In general, the duties may include anything related to recruiting and retaining new members and improving the public image of the SCA.

The term “gold key” refers to both the loaner equipment a group makes available for newcomers (garb, feast gear, etc.) and to the person who maintains it and lugs it around. This may be the chatelaine or someone else who volunteers.

The chatelaine of a local group needs to make quarterly reports to the local seneschal and to the Kingdom Chatelaine.

The primary functions of the chatelaine include:

  1. Recruitment of new members. Do not turn anyone away who is interested in the SCA.

  2. Retention of new members and integration of new members into the existing group.

  3. Improvement and maintenance of the public image of the SCA as a whole, and the community image of the local group.

The specific duties of the office of chatelaine may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Greeting newcomers.

  2. Coordinating demonstrations for recruitment, education, and public relations purposes.

  3. Assembling and maintaining a newcomers’ information packet.

  4. Coordinating newcomers’ workshops and meetings.

  5. Publishing and distributing informational flyers.

  6. Maintaining a supply of garb and other essential gear (“gold key”) for loan to newcomers.

  7. Encouraging SCA participants (new and established) to become and remain national members.

Reporting Due Dates:

1 st Quarter: April 15 th
2 nd Quarter: July 15 th
3 rd Quarter: October 15 th
4 th Quarter: January 15 th

Minister of Youth

The Minister of Youth (MoY) office in Calontir is concerned with the care and welfare of the youth in the kingdom. The Minister of Youth office is NOT a babysitting service! Activities for children under the age of six are to REQUIRE the attendance of a parent or a “designated guardian” for the child.

MoY activities MUST be supervised by two unrelated adults. The adult in charge of the activity must have passed an SCA approved background check. Please do not let this stop you from offering youth activities. There are many people in Calontir who have already passed the check and are willing to help you out. Contact the Kingdom MoY to find them.

Reports for the MoY can be an email to the Kingdom MoY after the event with the following information:

  1. The name of the event and the date

  2. What youth activities were held

  3. The number of children who participated

  4. Any problems that may have occurred (what happened as well as what was done to solve the issue.)

When MoY activities are regularly held for local meetings, then a quarterly email report with same info as above (with the event being labeled as local meetings) should be sent.

These email reports can be from the Autocrat of the event or the local Seneschal if there is no local Minister of Youth.

Reporting Due Dates:

1 st Quarter: April 15 th
2 nd Quarter: July 15 th
3 rd Quarter: October 15 th
4 th Quarter: January 15 th

Cracking the Whip on the Other Officers

Although you are not their boss, you will need to acts as a guide for the other officers. Your local officers should send you a copy of their report. If their report is entirely on line, then you’ll have to take their word for it that they sent it in. Either way, you need to remind them to get their reports in. Most other offices report on the 15 th. If you send in your report and haven’t seen theirs, they are late.

There are other instances when you will need to double check that things are getting done on time. Event reports, NMS fees, and waivers are just a few of the items that have strict deadlines. These deadlines are in place for a reason and should be upheld.

So what happens if someone says they have filed their report (or other paperwork) and yet neither you nor their Kingdom superior has seen it? Start with gentle reminders. You can always explain why it is important to abide by the deadline. If that doesn’t work, you can bring in the Baronage (if you have one) or their Kingdom superior. Whatever you do, start small and slowly build. You don’t want to drop a nuclear bomb when a simple rubber band gun would have been effective.

Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution

Any behaviors that affect group dynamics are within your jurisdiction to help mediate, regardless of whether they begin outside or within the SCA scope. Only directly involve yourself though when the dispute has the potential to have a negative impression on others toward the group or cause negative group dynamics. If this is not an issue that is a group concern, or is a personal issue between two individuals unrelated to an official activity that occured, encourage the parties to resolve the issue privately or to seek the assistance of the Kingdom Advocate as needed to resolve their dispute. If you involve yourself, it is critical that you remain neutral. If you cannot do so, seek the advice of your regional or Kingdom officer who can help you find someone who can to serve as an arbitrator if necessary.

Steps to Follow for Conflict Resolution

  1. Encourage the complainants to resolve the issue between themselves; serve as a mediator as necessary. Focus on how this conflict affects the group as a whole. Address the source of the issue only if the conflict is of SCA origin (i.e. a disagreement over a decision or how to handle an issue at an event, business meeting, etc. vs. a personal issue such as choosing sides in a divorce, personal politics, etc.). If the conflict source is mundane in nature, address only how the conflict is affecting the group, and do not seek to mediate the cause. Hopefully things can be easily resolved by serving as a neutral voice toward compromise and allowing both parties to express their concerns.

    Arbitrating a dispute:

    Try to meet in a neutral environment, set ground rules such as no interrupting or raise voices.

    Allow both individuals to voice their side of the story.

    Ask both parties to write down their version of the problem, as well as what they want to have happen as a result of the meeting, and what they are prepared to give up to get some of what they want.

    Seek a compromise that seems fair—remember that you will not always be able to make everybody agree, but remind them that you are trying to help resolve this issue at the local level before it harms the group as a whole.

  2. If the disagreement continues and is having a negative effect on the group, or is spilling over in a way that others outside the group (SCA members or the general public) will have a perceived negative impression of the group because of the vocalness or nature of the argument you may need to escalate the issue to the next level. Include any pertinent local officers associated with the activity in dispute who could provide clarifying information on what occured or what the rules for that office include. If living in a barony, notify the sitting baron/baroness of the issue if they are unaware. Discuss as a group how to resolve the concerns with the minimum damage to group dynamics and health as possible. At this point, a courtesy communication to your Regional and Kingdom Seneschal should be sent, making them aware of the potential continued conflict.

  3. If the above steps do not resolve the issue, further escalation may be necessary. At each level, include any pertinent prior communications and information. It is important not to start by CC’ing the Known Worlde, but to attempt to resolve the issue with as few officers as necessary.

The levels of escalation and communication in conflict resolution would be as follows:

  1. among the individuals themselves, preferably face to face

  2. with the local officer in charge of the activity in dispute and/or the royal representative (i.e. baron/baroness), and CC your regional and Kingdom seneschal

  3. with Kingdom officer in charge of the activity, and CC the local officer, your regional and Kingdom seneschal

  4. The Crown, the Kingdom Advocate (Royal Appointee for conflict management) and CC your Kingdom seneschal

  5. and finally The Board of Directors (this should be a last resort—if no one else has managed to find a solution, the board will do so, but you may not like what they come up with and there is no level of appeal above them)

Please note: Immediate notification to the Kingdom seneschal is necessary when there is a legal or potential law suit issue that could impact the SCA/Kingdom/Group. Do not wait until your next reporting period to inform your Kingdom superior of potential issues that are having a negative effect and going unresolved. Often your regional or Kingdom officer can offer support or advice that could resolve the conflict easily.

Media Relations

The Kingdom Media Representative is a deputy to the Kingdom Seneschal who is responsible for monitoring and reporting media activity within the Kingdom. The Media Representative reports to the Kingdom Seneschal and also directly to the Society Media Representative. It is not necessary for each branch to have its own Media Representative, but if it does not, the seneschal is then responsible for reporting all media activity to the Kingdom Media Representative (KMR).

A reportable media event is any event or happenstance that may take one of several forms. If a member of the media contacts the SCA for the purpose of doing a news story, column, or media presentation, the Seneschal must contact the KMR. This would mean calling him or her before a story was published or appeared on TV.

If a member of the organized news media appears at an event, fighter practice, meeting or other SCA activity, the Seneschal should contact the KMR as soon as possible. When a story appears in the organized news media, the Seneschal should contact the KMR (even if he has already been in contact with the KMR on this subject) and give the KMR a copy of the story if at all possible.

If an SCA branch wants to publicize an event or activity using modern media venues, the Seneschal must contact the KMR. The KMR may want to look over the materials being given to the media, and may want to contact the media themselves.

The organized news media includes, but is not limited to, major television news networks and local network affiliates, published newspapers, periodicals, print and online media outlets and syndicated publications, radio stations and their networks, and local free press and/or college outlets.

Presenting the Desired Image to the Outside World

It is important that we present a positive, family-friendly image of the SCA to the outside world. The image we wish to portray to the outside world should reflect our goals, purpose for existence and the finer aspects of achievement.

It is best if the person speaking to the media be one who is articulate and has a good grasp of SCA culture and history. Also, try to avoid certain topics and words that can be misconstrued by the public at large, such as “mundane”, “troll” and other SCA jargon. Also, attempt to avoid such topics as alcohol (making and consuming), sex, households, illegal activities and religion. Be honest about all questions asked, however.

Reality TV, Documentaries and the Like

Next, there has been an increased amount of attention from national/high end media, including magazines, professional and student filmmakers & documentarians, and reality TV shows. If any of these media outlets contact you, the contact should never be handled at the local level. Refer the contact immediately to your KMR; it will most likely be handled at a Society level. Permission to film at any SCA function for anything other than personal viewing can only be obtained from the Corporate level. Permission requests go to the Society Seneschal, via the Society Press Office.

Additionally, permission to use the names, logos and insignia of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. for any media venture must be obtained through the President of the SCA, via the Society Seneschal/Society Press Office. This includes the names and heraldry of Kingdoms, Baronies and local branches, as well as the Society as a whole.

Approving Recruiting Information

For the purposes of demos and for recruiting new members, many groups have put together fliers, posters, business cards, leaflets, bookmarks and many other creative items to present to the public. The seneschal or chatelaine is required to show these materials to the KMR for his or her approval. Most of these items are just fine as they are, but it is important to remove any inappropriate wording as detailed above, and to get proper permission from anyone who is recognizable in any photos.

Press Kit

Please make use of the press kit available online through the Calontir website. Look under “Seneschal” for “Media Representative.” This kit includes film crew rules and several press releases that can be given to reporters before or during an SCA activity. It is always a good idea to have a press kit on hand at any official event just in case the media shows up unannounced.

If you ever have any questions about media coverage or speaking to the media, please contact the Kingdom Media Representative. Also, please be sure to look over the Seneschal’s Media Policy, also found at the Media Rep page of the Calontir Website.

Appendices

Appendix A: Agreement to Serve

Appendix B: SCA Background Check

Thank you for authorizing a background check as part of the requirements to hold the office of seneschal and/or to run youth activities within the Society for Creative Anachronism.

There are two forms to fill out, a Background Check Authorization form, and a Fair Credit Reporting Act Consumer Disclosure form. Please complete both forms and send them directly to the SCA corporate office.

SCA Inc.
P.O. Box 360789
Milpitas, CA 95036-0789

Fax: (408) 263-0641
email: Theresa@sca.org or
membership@sca.org

DO NOT send these forms to the Kingdom Seneschal nor the Kingdom Minister of Youth.

Once you have submitted these forms to the corporate office, contact the Kingdom Seneschal (Seneschal@calontir.org) and the Kingdom Minister of Youth (MoY@calontir.org) informing them that you have done so. Include your full SCA name, Modern name, and membership number.

The Kingdom Seneschal will then issue the authorization to the corporate office for the completing of the background check.

You will receive a letter letting you know if you have passed or failed the check. If you have failed, you will be given the reason for the failure. You may appeal the results of your background check.

Once a month, the Kingdom Seneschal receives a list of all approved background checks. S/he does not receive any other information regarding them.

SCA Background Check Form

Appendix C: Seneschal Financial Responsibilities (Approving Calontir Exchequer Reports)

Some seneschals find it daunting to approve quarterly and Domesday Exchequer reports. However, it is a simple task if given the proper information. This document will help explain why it is so important to approve reports, will provide an abbreviated guide for approving reports, and will provide different method options for approval. If more information is needed, please consult the Exchequer Handbook.

The importance of report approval goes beyond office requirement. In order to ensure that there are checks and balances for the handling of funds, someone aside from the Chancellor of the Exchequer must review the reports to ensure that funds are being used appropriately. This does not mean that the Seneschal must verify each and every dollar (that is done by the Regional Deputy or Kingdom Treasurer). However, the reviewing officer (Regional or Kingdom) does not know the activities of the group while the Seneschal would have a better idea. Taking a few minutes to review the report that will have the Seneschal’s approval on it would be wise for the Seneschal and good for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

An abbreviated guide to reviewing an Exchequer report (be it quarterly or Domesday) is located after this introduction. Seneschals have three essential duties when reviewing the report: verify that the paperwork is all there, verify the expenses make sense, and verify the income makes sense. Again, the math can be done by officers in the Exchequer offices. Seneschals are to verify that the numbers are close and make sense.

Once the paperwork and report are in order, Seneschals must approve the report. Quarterly reports can be approved via email. Simply email the Reporting Regional Deputy or the Kingdom Treasurer (verify with the Chancellor of the Exchequer who completed the report which person should receive the approval if unsure) with the approval. Domesday reports require an actual signature. Seneschals may take the reports home, sign them, and mail the signed reports to the Reporting Regional Deputy or the Kingdom Treasurer. Scanned copies of the signatures are also acceptable. If problems arise regarding the signature, please coordinate with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Abbreviated Seneschal Guide for Approving Exchequer Reports

(New Policy: July 2012) The Seneschal must verify the account balance at the bank every quarter before review of the report.

  1. Verify that the bank statements (originals or copies) and copies of the ledger or check register are included with the report.

  2. Verify that the ledger/check register balance matched the balance on the Primary Account Reconciliation, Page 3a, Line 5.

  3. Verify that Lines A and B on the Comparative Balance Statement, page 1, are equal to one another.

  4. Verify that the income of the group makes sense, Income Statement, page 2. For example, was there an event during this quarter and were deposits made for the gate income? Was there a fundraiser during the quarter and was the money deposited? Were heraldry fees collected and were they deposited?

  5. Verify that the expenses of the group make sense, Income Statement, page 2. For example, was there an event during this quarter and did the event have any expenses? Was there a demo during the quarter and did it incur some expenses? Has the group rented any sites for meetings? Did the group send any payments to the Mews or Kingdom (see lines 30a & b)?

  6. Verify on the Comparative Balance Worksheet, page 5, that there are no pending deposits or receivables. Deposits should be made within two weeks of receipt. However, there are times when cash is needed at the end of the quarter and that would be recorded here as cash on hand. This could be for troll (either for the cash box or the gate income) that falls at the end/beginning of the quarter. Was the receivable listed last quarter and why hasn’t it been reconciled?

  7. Verify that the property owned by the group is being recorded on the Inventory Detail, Regalia & Other Sales Detail, and/or Depreciation Detail (pages 6, 7, & 8 respectively).

  8. Approve the report if no problems were encountered. While you will rarely find something of concern, it is better to have checked before signing something! Thank you for taking a little time to ensure the safety of the group’s funds!

Important Things to Remember

  • Please do not use the Troll Box as petty cash. All reimbursements (either refunds or expense reimbursements) must be paid by a group check.

  • An SCA group cannot pay for royal lunches. Period. Royal lunches do not benefit everyone and Society has ruled against them. If you have an inn, you may feed the Crown from the inn without charging Them. (This works the same as feast.) You may not use the term “hospitality” to circumvent this rule. People have tried and now we have a rule against it. Sad but true.

  • Checks are to be recorded in the register and the report in the quarter in which they are issued. Please do not wait to report these expenses in the quarter the checks clear. That only makes the reports harder and drives the reviewer crazy. Trust me. But more importantly, Society expects us to report expenses the quarter they are issued, not the quarter they clear.

  • Please use the “locked” reports for the quarterly and Domesday report. Some officers have been using the “unlocked” reports and are now changing some equations on the reports. If the “locked” reports are used, this would not happen. They would just work properly. It’s a bit like voodoo, but hey, if the Kingdom can use them, so can you!

  • The NMS needs to be sent to the NMS deputy within two weeks of your event. (see Non-Member Surcharge (NMS) Transfer Form) Please be sure to fill out both the total number of attendees and the total number of non-members. Society requests this info and when we don’t provide it, they come back to us.

  • The waivers from the event must be sent within 30 days of said event. Contact the waiver secretary at Waivers@Calontir,org for directions on how to submit them. The group should keep a soft copy of the event waivers.

  • Event reports are due to your Regional Reporting Deputy within 30 days of your event. (see Event Financial Report). It is requested that these reports no longer be late.

  • Financial Committees for your groups are not optional. You must complete the Financial Committee page of the report. If you have a Committee of the paid members at the meeting or in the group, you must hold a vote and record the vote for the group’s records. If the group has approved a list of people for the Committee, then those people must be listed in the report and the same applies for voting.

  • Please inform your groups that the Kingdom receives money from Estrella War and Gulf Wars for every hour donated by someone in our Kingdom. If someone volunteers, please have them record those hours at the War.

Appendix D: Event Steward Appointment

Appendix E: Elasait’s Helpful Hints

Stuff I Learned the Hard Way 6 7

  1. The 72-hour rule: If someone contacts you and describes a major problem, particularly one that’s clearly interpersonal in nature, you don’t have to act right away. Half the time, the crisis will blow over in a few days. (This doesn’t mean it won’t resurface later, in a different form.) I call it the 72-hour rule because, when I first formulated it as a local seneschal, I phrased it thus: “If someone calls and wants something done, wait 72 hours before taking action.”

  2. Distinguish between calls for action and a desire to vent. Lots of people who contact you just want to vent at someone. Vents don’t necessarily need action on your part, beyond listening.

  3. Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by poor communication. Always assume communication failure, even if it looks unlikely. (Elasait’s corollary to Hanlon’s Razor)

  4. Never let your boss be surprised. If you think it might come to the attention of the Regional or Kingdom Seneschal, be the first to contact him or her!

  5. Burnout can be insidious. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted out of the local seneschal’s office until I found myself, immediately after turning over the office, skipping out of the feast hall shouting, “I’m free, I’m free, I’m free!”

  6. Kingdom and regional officers are resources; use them. They don’t bite, they don’t mind that you’re bothering them, and it’s their job to help.

  7. It’s more important to fix problems than blame. Or, to use the dead fish analogy created by Mistress Hilary of Serendip, long-time Steward (now called Seneschal) of the Society: When you have a dead fish lying on the carpet, if you spend all your time and energy trying to find out who left it there, it will only grow more and more smelly. Your first order of business is to appropriately dispose of the fish.

  8. Don’t reinvent the wheel. It’s likely someone else has had the same problem you’re having; contact your regional deputy seneschal, and ask.

  9. Some people will complain if their ice cream is cold. There will always be a small minority of folks who won’t be happy no matter what course of action is decided upon. They usually won’t offer suggestions (constructive or otherwise) or express their opinions on proposed actions when given the opportunity, but will wait until a decision has been made and then complain about how they weren’t consulted, or they could have told you it wouldn’t work, or the powers that be have to have everything their way. If you figure out that you are dealing with that kind of person, don’t stress too much about pleasing them.

  10. Anytime anyone begins a statement with the phrase “People are saying…” it means that’s what that person is saying. Take it with as much salt as needed.

  11. Beware the prophet who preaches the One True Way. The SCA is a broad organization, and there are many, many ways to play the game. This doesn’t mean you have to tolerate elf ears, vampire fangs, or someone’s showing up in a spandex Civil War uniform; but as long as someone’s version of the game doesn’t contradict the governing documents or kingdom law and policy, it’s to be permitted. Other people will either flock to that version of the game, or they won’t.

  12. It’s worth trying to regard problem entities as people with misdirected energy. Sometimes your group’s problem child is actually someone who cares passionately about some aspect of the organization, or really wants to make a contribution, but doesn’t know how to do that, or feels ignored. Cast about and see if you can come up with a project for your problem child. This won’t always work, but it’s worth a try.

  13. Don’t assume anything! A close look at the word tells you what it can make out of all of us.

  14. Perceptions, even erroneous ones, look like reality to some people; and left unchecked, they have a way, over time, of becoming reality. They are more important than you think—unfortunate, but true. Don’t ignore them.

  15. While it may be gratifying, in the short term, to give in to the impulse to tell someone exactly what you think of their intelligence, personality, parentage, etc., or to indulge in backbiting and innuendo when those around you are doing so, it’s rarely worth the cost. Ultimately, this game is won on what, for lack of a better term, I call graciousness points. Graciousness points aren’t a zero-sum game; if I have a bunch it doesn’t mean you have any less.

  16. Never suppose you’re too unimportant for somebody to take what you just said as an Official Pronouncement of Policy…and always at the worst possible moment.

  17. Being able to make soothing noises over the phone is an invaluable skill.

  18. Do not, ever, forget that emails and statements made on the Book of Face are permanent. Do not, ever, forget that tone does not convey in such media. Do not, ever, forget that no matter how many disclaimers about “This is Lord Gilgamesh speaking, not the seneschal of the Barony of Notquitepodunk” you make, it is not and cannot be true. As long as you hold office, you are always speaking from that position. Weigh your words very, very carefully—especially on social media.

  19. When (not if!) you make a mistake, the best approach is to swallow your pride and own up to it readily. Apologize where appropriate, take whatever beating you’ve got coming with as much grace as you can muster, do what you can to make things right, and file whatever you’ve learned for future reference.

  20. Try to remember that the SCA is filled with intelligent, highly creative people, and that on any given weekend we gather lots of these people together, none of whom have had enough sleep. Once you think about this, it explains a lot! (Credit for this one goes to the Silverwing’s Laws web site.)

  21. If you’re not (mostly) enjoying what you’re doing, then you’re not doing the right thing. Yes, this is true even of officers. Holding an office is a big responsibility, and can be a burden, but it can also be a delight. If doing what you’re doing causes you no joy, arrange to stop doing it.

  22. If someone comes up with a really stupid idea, assign them to carry it out. Nine times out of ten you will never hear from them or the idea again. (Thanks to Master Stephen Ironhand, first seneschal of the then shire of Three Rivers, for this valuable and time-tested rule!)

Postface

So, I was told that I needed to write something to wrap this whole thing up. If you know me, then you know that I don’t do a very good job at wrapping up conversations. Usually, I get done saying what I had to, then there is a long pause, and then I smile or give a nervous laugh and wander off; wondering how stupid the person thinks I am. But since I was asked to write it, here it is.

Murdoch’s Rules for being a Seneschal

  1. Don’t talk about fight club.

  2. Think before you act.

  3. Remember that you’re Aquaman, not Superman.

  4. Always research your answer.

  5. Ask for help.

Obviously, this is not the only document you should be familiar with as seneschal. Starting here, you move up the chain of authority through Kingdom Law, the SCA Inc. Seneschal’s Handbook (published by the Society Seneschal), Corpora, and actual local/state/federal laws. Hopefully your time as seneschal will be uneventful.

Therefore, since you have reached the end of the Calontir Seneschal’s Handbook, and I have nothing else to say…Ha Ha!…

Maighster Murdoch,
Calon Steward
(Dec. A.S. XLVII-Nov. A.S. XLIX)


Footnotes

  1. Usually submitted by the Exchequer

  2. Usually submitted by the Exchequer

  3. These are the terms currently used by the SCA. Sustaining member shall be understood to mean the basic membership level of the SCA, not a reduced price membership.

  4. This may be waived at the discretion of the Kingdom Seneschal. This will be done only in rare circumstance if the contact group has shown exceptional stability.

  5. Remember, even though you have an exchequer, you still cannot have a bank account until you are elevated to full status. Your exchequer should work closely with your Sponsor Exchequer. Your Sponsor Group will handle all money for the event(s) you hosted as an incipient group. Your Sponsor Group will hold any money made by your group until you are elevated to full status.

  6. Who is Elasait, and why is she giving us helpful hints? My full name is Elasait ingen Diarmata, and actually, I much prefer to call it Stuff I Learned The Hard Way, because that’s mostly how I learned it. As of this revision (June 2014) I’ve been in the SCA here in Calontir for some 34 years, and I did two stints as a local seneschal years ago (one as the founding seneschal of a new group). I was also Kingdom Seneschal from December 1996 to June 1999; my deputies and I wrote a completely revised edition of the Calontir Seneschals’ Handbook during that time, and I first wrote this article at that time. “Stuff I Learned The Hard Way” is my attempt to boil down some things I wish I’d known 25 years ago when I first found myself in the job of local seneschal, in the hopes that it will help somebody to learn from my mistakes!

  7. Although they saved me several times, I should have read the list more than once. I forgot a couple hints during my stint as Kingdom Seneschal…Murdoch