Youth and Family Achievement Program update and request for Help

March 9th, 2014 by families

Please forward far and wide:

Mericke de Ross
An Tir Family Activities Coordinator

Announcing the arrival of the Youth and Family Achievement Program (YAFA).

From the 2010 SCA Census of the membership one of the key questions was about declining membership – when asked this question the 4th most cited reason was families were finding it difficult to attend events with children and that there was nothing for the children to do. The Youth and Family Achievement Program (YAFA) is the SCA Inc.’s response to the Survey results. A team was pulled together to create the YAFA program and since June 2012 they have been working diligently on providing a solution and program for SCA families to use.

The vision for the YAFA program is to encourage active participation by families with children and teens in the study of a variety of medieval subjects and activities, sharing their experiences and accomplishments with others, and create ownership and investment in the Society. The goal is to have an energetic society of honorable citizens developed from within. This program will guide and encourage young people and their families in seeking opportunities for involvement in the SCA.

YAFA’s mission is to create opportunities for youth-protected activities and achievements designed to retain and support participants and their families through education while respecting, protecting, and fostering the cultural climate of individual Kingdoms. The YAFA Program is based in a foundation of chivalry, the arts, and service to help encourage values important to the Society. Those youth participants completing their individually chosen areas of study will be eligible to wear tokens of achievement.

The goal is to make the program available to all SCA Kingdoms before the Summer of 2014 so the Society encourages you to read the link below on important FAQ’s and please let us know if you have any additional questions.

The YAFA team can be contacted at:

Link to the FAQ:

It has come to our attention that with some creative searching people are finding the YAFA website link. There is a link and it is up and running because we need it to be available for the testing phases but we were trying to keep it from going public until after the testing is done to avoid people signing up before we are ready for them to do so.

My request to You all is that if You do hear that someone has found the link or if someone posts the link on any public forum that You please respond with the following:

“While the YAFA team is excited at the enthusiasm of the people of the Known World we are not expecting to launch the YAFA website until Summer of 2014. Please do not sign up as families or mentors until the program is ready as this information will not be preserved. We appreciate your continued interest and look forward to working with you all in the very near future. Please stay tuned for more information being released between now and the launch”

Thank You all again for Your time in this matter.

Subject: FW: YAFA program needs help recruiting volunteers

We have received interest from people wanting to work on achievements for future releases of worksheets to be used in the Youth and Family Achievement Program (YAFA). Could you please forward this entire list to your peerage groups so they have an opportunity to sign up if they want….or anywhere else that you think might be useful. I have included the Youth Officers and Seneschal in each of the kingdoms as well as some of you already have an idea of who will be volunteering to mentor.

• Agriculture • Archery • Arms &Armoring • Bardic Recitation • Basketry • Book Binding • Bow Making • Brewing • Calligraphy • Candle Making • Cooking • Costuming & Accessories • Dancing • Drama & Comedy • Drawing • Dyeing • Embroidery • Falconry • Fighting • Gaming • Glass Blowing • Heraldry • Herbalism • Horn Working • Horsemanship • Horticulture • Husbandry • Illumination • Instrumental Music • Jewelry • Juggling • Lace making • Lapidary

• Leather Working • Languages • Masonry • Masquing & Mime • Mathematics • Medicine • Merchanting • Metal Working • Musical Composition

• Musical Instrument Making • Needlework • Newsletters & Publications • Painting • Paper Making • Pavilion Making • Period Fencing • Philosophy • Poetry • Pottery • Riddles • Rug Making • Scribing • Sculpture • Spinning • Tanning • Tool Making • Toy Making • Tumbling • Vinting • Vocal Music

• Weapon Smithing • Weaving • Woodworking

We are looking for Subject Matter Experts in each of the above achievement topics and as soon as we have a well-rounded group of five to ten volunteers we will start them off working on the spreadsheets. They do need to provide me with their qualifications and their membership number to be added to the groups. With the interest that has been shown in the program itself we don’t see a point in delaying and staggering the creation of the new achievements and the more we get out into the program the more choices youth and families will have. Please have any volunteers contact the email address even for enquiries.


Duchess Rustique / Steph Hoyt

Youth and Family Program Lead
Duchess Rustique and the YAFA team.

Youth Althing in Midhaven April 26, 2014

March 9th, 2014 by families

Come One, Come All! Please join the Shire of Midhaven for their annual event, Youth Althing.
Parents, this is a great opportunity to get your kids involved in the hobby you love! This day event is geared toward kids learning about the SCA and the activities we do. There will be Youth Armored Combat, Touch and try Armor table with photos, Scribal painting, Kid’s court, Needle Felting, Medieval board games, Hand-sewn pouches, Piñata and much more! Lunch and afternoon snack provided. Parents must accompany children.

Stay tuned for more activities and schedule.

Event Steward: Lady Fionnghuala
Fees: $12 for adults, $10 for youth 5-18yrs, Children under 5-free. Lunch is included with your site fee. A $5 NMS applies for those without proof of membership. Make checks payable to the “Shire of Midhaven, SCA Inc”.
Site: Mount Vernon Senior Center, 1401 Cleveland Avenue, Mount Vernon, WA 98284
April 26th, Site opens 10am and closes at 5pm
This is a dry site.

Site Info:
Name: Mt. Vernon Senior Center
1401 Cleveland St.
Mt. Vernon, WA 98284

Directions to Site:

Last Event’s Directions:

From North or South Interstate 5:

Take the Kincaid Street Exit in Mount Vernon.

Travel West on Kincaid. Turn left on 1st street about 5 blocks.

Travel South on 1st Street. US Post Office will be on the right.

Travel 2 more blocks south. 1st Street changes name to Cleveland Street.

Senior Center is on the corner of Cleveland Street and Hazel.

May Crown Report

May 28th, 2013 by families

May Crown was my first event as An Tir Family Activities Coordinator. There were 2 children on Saturday and 7 on Sunday. I was lucky enough to meet Sebina, Youth Officer from Blath an Oir. She had wonderful ideas and is full of all kinds of information. I think I got her daughter addicted to needle felting.

I gave a presentation at the Seneschal’s Meeting, Ithra Meeting and Curia meeting about the New Society Youth Policies, Background check policies and the SCA Youth and Family Achievement program.

With regard to the new policies, here is a written version of my presentation:

There has been a change to the 2 deep rule from Corporate. Currently the 2
deep rule reads as follows:

*4. The “2-deep” rule specifies that for all SCA Youth Activities, a
minimum of 2 adults (at or above the age of legal majority in the state,
province or country in which the activity occurs) unrelated to one another
by blood, marriage or relationship must be present. This policy does not
relieve parents of their primary responsibility for the welfare and
behavior of their children.*

Here is the additional clause:

*Furthermore, it is required that when youth activities are held, they must
be overseen by at least two non-related adults, **one of which must have
passed a background check.

(from the Society Kingdom Seneschal Handbook, pages 22 and 23-approved
April 2013)

Additionally, youth under the age of 12 must be within sight and sound of
their parent.

And since we have shifted to the subject of background checks, the Society
has also passed this new policy:

*1. A background check is required for the following officers: Kingdom or
Local Branch Seneschal and Youth Coordinator (or any other officer whose
responsibility is the oversight of youth activities).

(from the Society Kingdom Seneschals Handbook, page 23)

I just went through the background check process myself, as I was hearing
horror stories from others about how long it took to get a background check
back. (Mine was due to expire in January, but, I was hearing that it was
taking 9 months to a year). The process took 33 days from the time I sent
my paperwork in to Corporate to receive snail mail confirmation.

I do not yet know if or how this effects our Canadian Members and Branches.

Here is the Background Check process that should be followed to receive you
background checks in a timely manner:

*Background Checks – Explanation and Process updated 3/19/09
The SCA has long had a policy of parents being ultimately responsible for
their children at SCA
activities. We have policies in place prohibiting a single adult from being
alone in supervising youth that are not
their children by birth or legal document. These have not sufficed to
prevent harm to some of our minor
participants at the hands of adult participants.
Since 2002, there have been 88 revocation and denial of membership
decisions rendered by the Board of
Directors. 29 of these have been for conviction of predatory crimes. 24 of
these have been with regard to abuse
of minors. It would seem clear that the old policies are not sufficient to
protect our minor participants. Any
number greater than zero of these incidents is profoundly unacceptable.
There are many organizations similar to the SCA in that they have
well-defined programs for minor
participants. These organizations conduct a due-diligence check of
volunteers who would like to be in positions
of control, teaching, or supervision of minor participants. The vast
majority of these organizations vet possible
volunteers via background check. There are a variety of methods used.
The SCA feels a responsibility to the wellbeing of our minor participants
and have implemented a
program of background checks to enhance their safety.
This program consists of conducting background checks –via a properly
licensed vendor–on all
persons wishing to serve in a leadership or supervisory position where
minors are expected to be taking
direction from–or be in the direct control of adults who are not their
parent or legal guardian.
Officials who must receive the background check include (but are not
limited to): Youth activities
officers at all levels, adults acting as youth marshals for any martial
activity, persons organizing/in charge of
youth activities for an event.
*The Process
1. Determine if a background check is needed. A background check is
required for people in a leadership
or supervisory position where minors are expected to be taking direction,
or be in the direct control of
adults who are not their parent or legal guardian.. The following offices
meet this requirement:
a. All Ministers of Children, Pied Pipers, and Preceptors of Pages
b. All Youth Armored Combat Marshals
Additionally, Society has determined that all Kingdom Seneschals will be
required to pass this check as
2. After determining that a background check is required, the individual
will contact the Kingdom
Seneschal and request that a background check be performed. The Kingdom
Seneschal will need the
following information:
a. Modern name and email address
b. SCA name and branch
c. Office or function necessitating background check
d. Whether or not the individual can print out .PDF files, or if they will
need them physically
3. The individual will receive two forms that must be completed and sent to
SCA Corporate in Milpitas.
4. The Kingdom Seneschal will send a list to Corporate of individuals
authorized to receive a background
check. If the individual’s name is not on this list, the background check
will not be performed.
5. After Corporate has received both the paperwork from the individual and
the authorization from the
Kingdom Seneschal, they will send the information to the vendor performing
the checks.
6. The individual will receive a letter directly from the vendor stating
whether they have passed the check
or not.
7. The Kingdom Seneschal will receive a monthly list of everyone who has
passed the background check.
8. The individual will present their letter as proof that they have passed
the check as part of their
application for their office. Additionally, they will receive a new blue
card from Corporate.

With regard to the YAFA Program, here is a written version of my presentation:

The Society is getting ready to roll out the Youth and Family Achievement
Program (after Pensic). If you do not currently have a Family Activities
Coordinator in your Branch, now would be the time to appoint one. There
will be reporting and other work that needs to be done on the Branch level
for this program to roll out smoothly. Either the Seneschal or the Family
Activities Coordinator will need to be in charge.

From the 2010 SCA Census, when asked “what led you to stop
participating in the SCA?” the 4th most cited response was “Children made
it difficult to attend events & activities/Nothing for kids to do.”

In response the SCA will be rolling out the Youth and Family
Achievement Program or YAFA.

YAFA is a voluntary innovative society wide program designed to
support and supplement existing Kingdom Youth Programs.

YAFA is based on the boy/girl scouts model, in that it has badges
that will be earned with the help of an approved mentor and completion of
worksheets to show knowledge gained and competency in each badge subject.
There are 3 main age ranges in which badges will be earned, starting at age

Mentors will not be required to have a background check, however, the
“2 deep rule” will be followed at all times when a youth meets with a

Approving the mentors and keeping track of the mentors will be the
job of myself (merickedeross at my YAFA Deputy, Madame
Jacqueline de Lioncourt (jenb1996 at Mentors will go through an
on-line SCA YAFA training program.

Parents will pay for the badges that will cost $3-4 each. (we may
have some exciting news about this later-parents may not have to pay) How
they will be distributed has not yet been finalized. (In Court, etc)

Each participating Kingdom will decide how the Youth will display badges
(on a baldric, mantle, belt favor etc.)

A parent must be a member of the SCA in order for their child to
participate in the YAFA Program and therefore their memberships and
renewalswill also have to be tracked. It has not been determined how the
data on the badges earned and enrollment info will be handled or tracked.

For a smooth roll out, each Branch is encouraged to have a Family
Activities Officer, with a background check and people who are willing to
volunteer to be Achievement Badge Mentors for the seven badges in the first
roll out. Those badges and worksheets are for Archery, Arms and Armor,
Equestrian, Family Life, Music, Pottery, and Woodworking.

The next group of 7 being developed are, games, toys and models,
metalworking, Dance, Textiles, Heraldry, Cooking and Costuming. The
Society is currently seeking nominations of people to work on the
worksheets in these areas. They would like volunteers to contact myself (
merickedeross at or Jacqueline (jenb1996 at and we will
forward those names. Worksheets generally take 10 weeks to work out.

For more information, to view the webinar power point presentation,
see samples of worksheets and badges, join the conversation at Click Join and wait to be
approved and them view the documents in the files section.

Until such a time as there are sufficient numbers of Approved
Mentors, classes taught in formal settings, such as, Ithras, Day Camps,
multi-day events, etc could count toward the badges.*

I have started a facebook page for An Tir Families and officers at please join this group, as
well, and feel free to post youth activities in your branch here. I have
also posted the YAFA documents in the files section of the group.

Please have your officers, or yourselves contact me and I will add you to
the An Tir Family Activities Officers yahoo group. This group is closed
and only for officers or seneschals. This is where quarterly reports will
be posted and Ideas exchanged.

Also, if you are on Facebook, please “Like” the July Coronation 2013 page
that we can get the most up to date information to you. Also, there
an interesting article about the site (Northern State Mental Hospital)

I have received the first set of badges and am attaching a


New Society Youth Program discussion Group on Facebook

April 11th, 2013 by families

The SCA intends to release a new Youth Program based on the Boy Scouts Program. It is called the Youth and Family Achievement Program (YAFA). They creators would really like your input. I can not upload the Power Point Presentation here, but, if you join the facebook page SCA Youth and Family Achievement Program here you will find the presentation and samples and notes, etc. See you there! Mericke de Ross -An Tir Family Activities Coordinator

New Classes added to Youth Althing-April 13, 2013

April 11th, 2013 by families

Autocrat: Elizabeth of Fernhill

The Shire of Midhaven is once again holding a Youth Althing. A day of learning and fun for our youth and families where games and gleeful noise is welcomed by all! There will be a variety of activities for all age groups and lunch will be provided by our talented chefs. Fighting? We’re planning that too! Armor up your youths! Come fight with your friends! Site opens Saturday, April 13 @ 9:00 a.m. and closes @ 6:00 p.m. We ask that you please pre-register so that we have a good idea of how many children we will need supplies for.

If you plan on bringing a minor and you are not the parent/guardian, please have the child’s parent fill out the following Medical Authorization, including a copy of parent’s photo id (sensative info such as SSN may be blacked out but name and signature must be visable). Please bring one copy to leave at the gate and one copy to remain with child.

All minors will also need a Minor Consent form filled out. To save time at gate, please fill it out ahead of time and present upon arrival.

Multiple children in a single family/belonging to a single parent or legal guardian may use the following form:

Confirmed Activities: Most are on drop-in basis. Keep an eye out for more updates coming soon!

-Needle Felting

-Silk Painting ($2 materials fee requested)

-Charter Painting

-Touch and Try On Armor Demo

-Youth Armored Combat

-Face Painting

-Kids Caber Toss

-How To Play Recorder

-Barter Table (bring something to to trade, preferably handmade)

-Nalbinding 9:45am-10:45am, drop-ins welcome 4pm-6pm

-Bog Coat Class: Please contact event steward to register for this class. Limited spots available.

Class Length= approx. 1 hour 11am and 2pm Class is open to children 4+ and adults

Baroness Arianne of Falconmoors, founding Baroness of Aquaterra wishes to invite all 4 years or older to participate in a class on how to make a bog coat. Those under 10 may need to have an adult with them. There is NO COST to take this class. If you want to make your bog coat during the class, you will need material wide enough to reach from wrist to wrist, scissors, some straight pins, thread to match the material, measuring tape and you. You start the measurments at your arm pits, go up over the front of your shoulders and down the back as long as you wish the coat to be. I recommend that the bottom be at least 3 inches off of the ground. If bringing material, please wash and dry it before you get to site. If you have classes or other fun things to do at these times you are welcome to just come by and get a pattern. I will have one for all that want them.


Event Steward: Elizabeth of Fernhill (Liz Proctor) 360-770-7346

Site Fee: $10 for adults with a $5.00, adult, non-member surcharge. $8 for children 4-17. Children 3 and under are free. Lunch is included with your site fee. Make checks payable to the “Shire of Midhaven, SCA Inc.” To pre-register, please contact HL Michael FitzGeoffrey at .

Site Info:
Name: Sedro Woolley Community Center
703 Pacific Street
Sedro Woolley, WA 98284

Directions to Site:

From I-5 North and South; Take the Cook Rd Exit (#232), from the South turn Right and from the North turn Left, onto Cook Rd. (Cook Rd will become W Ferry) Stay on Cook Rd for approx 5 miles. Turn Right onto Central Ave. Take 1st left onto Pacific. 703 Pacific is on the Right.

July Coronation 2012

August 9th, 2012 by antir-families

We had fewer families in the dayshade at this event, but there were lots of families at the event. Unfortunately, some kids entertained themselves by playing on the permanent cooking structures, and I noticed lots of children under 12 without adults. All adults at an event need to take responsibility for asking these children where their parents are and ensure that they are returned to them. Children between 13 and 18 need to check in with their parents often so the parents know where they are and what they are doing.

The families who were with me had a great time! A young lady sewed a cute brown bear, and we threw javelins. Unfortunately, the kids have better aim than I thought, and the javelins went through the baseball backstop towards a really understanding Viscountess…… mea culpa. I have a better plan for next time! 🙂

We had a small, but VERY productive staff meeting on Sunday. Thank you Esme and Kolfinna!!! We shared lots of great ideas, and I want to share them in future posts.

We also discussed a new way to deliver services at events. Esme travels from camp to camp, looking for the kids. She has packets of games and activities in baggies which she gives to the kids to keep them occupied in camp. I will try this, along with specific classes in the dayshade, on a larger scale at September Crown. Hopefully this will keep the kids occupied and reduce burnout.

Antir-West War Debrief

August 9th, 2012 by antir-families

WOW! What a great war! We had lots of fun activities at the war, including fabric painting, weaving, and active games. We successfully played stoolball and threw javelins. Tamar Rustavelli hosted Youth Combat, and on Thursday night, we had 40 kids fighting with practice weapons! It was AWESOME to see AnTir and West’s future fighters having so much fun. On Friday and Saturday, Tamar taught some footwork and techniques classes which were very well received. At Grand Court on Saturday night, I took a tarp to a shady spot and gathered kids to play board games and listen to stories while their parents listened to court.

Big take aways from this event: 1) Kids of all ages love to hear stories! Thank you to HL Draco Stormdancer for his stories. 2) We need to reinforce the “Under 12 Sight and Sound” Rule more at events, especially BIG events.

September Crown 2012 Activities

August 9th, 2012 by antir-families

Greetings from Madame Jacqueline de Lioncourt, Minister of Family Activities! I will have lots of fun classes for families at Crown! The Family Dayshade will be located in the A&S Village. You can choose to take these classes, try a scavenger hunt, or play with blocks/color. I also have rules/instructions for period games/activities and some packets of projects which you can take to your own camp.

Please make plans now to be responsible for your children and remember that ALL children under the age of 18 must be supervised. This means that parents/guardians and teens must communicate regarding their location/actions. Children under the age of 12 must be supervised within sight and/or sound.

Please join us at Crown, bring your children, and help them share your joy of the SCA by inviting them to participate with you as much as possible! If you have questions of comments, please contact me at jenb1996 [at] yahoo [dot] com. (We are working on getting my antir address converted to my new personal address.)

I sincerely appreciate the honor of serving this kingdom and her families.

Afternoon: Dayshade Set-up techniques (Kids will be ACTIVE participants!)
7-9PM: Teen Bardic: (stories, songs)

10:00 AM-6:00 PM: Scallop Scavenger Hunt (youth/adult must register at Dayshade)
10-noon: Fabric painting (youth), thank-you cards with gouache (teens)
noon-2: Active Games (Stoolball, Stick-in-the-mud, Crack the Whip, Eggety Budge, Harpastum, Javelin throw, Caber toss)
4-5: Beaded Necklaces or Food Necklaces
Court: quiet activites at the back of court
7:00-8:00: Teen Bardic: songs and stories

10:00 AM-6:00 PM: Heraldry Bingo Scavenger Hunt (youth must register at Dayshade)
10-noon: Teen painting with gouache, youth fabric painting
noon-2: Active Games
4-6: Weaving: stick weaving or backstrap weaving
Court: quiet activites at the back of court
7:00-8:00: Teen Bardic: songs and stories

10:00 AM: Dayshade teardown techniques! (Kids will be ACTIVE participants!)

How to get your Background Check!

May 11th, 2011 by antir-families
Here is the procedure:
1) The interested Minister of Children (MoC) needs to be a paid member of the SCA.
2) The MoC needs to tell the branch Seneschal. 
3) The Senechal contacts the Kingdom Seneschal, and he asks his deputy to send the MoC the forms.
4) The MoC sends/emails/faxes the background check forms to the SCA offices in Milpitas, CA.  He/she can email Theresa Anderson at to check on the status.
5) Theresa contacts the Kingdom Seneschal to confirm the background check needs to be performed.
6) The check is performed.
7) The MoC receives a letter with the results.  He/she can scan this and the blue card and email to me.  The background check expires 2 years from that date.
8) SCA Milpitas sends the MoC a new blue card.
This procedure can take as little as three weeks.
I hope this helps!

May Crown Activities

May 2nd, 2011 by antir-families

Bon jour!

We have many exciting activities planned for May Crown!  Please join us on the erics both Saturday from 10-4 and Sunday from 10-2.  On Saturday we will have a meeting for officers and those interested in becoming officers from 2-3.  Look for the green, yellow, and black striped dayshade.

The Children’s Area will be hosted in an “a la carte” format.  This means that the Toy Box will be open for all youth to choose their activities as they please.  I only have a few expectations, which will be posted in the pavilion:
1) We will respect each other.
2) We will put one toy away before getting another.
We will also be running under the Society Law which states that all children under 12 will remain within sight/sound of their parent/designated adult at all times.  Youth under 18 will be expected to follow all applicable site rules.

Active games include: stoolball, harpastum, stick-in-the-mud tag, monkey-in-the-middle, I Declare War, battledore, pillow jousting, fencing with noodle swords, hoop running, crack-the-whip.

Passive activities include: painting thank-you cards, coloring, calligraphy, salt dough bead necklaces, weaving, braiding, macramé, Viking whipcord, sewing pouches, kite-making.

I need VOLUNTEERS to help run the Children’s Area!  Please contact me at!


M. Jacqueline