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
Additionally, youth under the age of 12 must be within sight and sound of
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.
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
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
6. The individual will receive a letter directly from the vendor stating
whether they have passed the check
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 gmail.com)and my YAFA Deputy, Madame
Jacqueline de Lioncourt (jenb1996 at yahoo.com). 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 gmail.com) or Jacqueline (jenb1996 at yahoo.com) 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
https://www.facebook.com/groups/sca.yafa/ 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
https://www.facebook.com/groups/antirfamilies/ 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)