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The An Tir Handbook, 3rd Edition, May XXXIII/1998

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Starting A New Branch

Establishing a New Branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism in the Kingdom of An Tir

(Revised 2/97)

The Knowne World is the area inhabited by members of the S.C.A. (which is now almost the same as the modern globe). It is divided into areas called Kingdoms. These Kingdoms administer the local branches. If you want to establish an S.C.A. Branch in your area, first read through the list of branches in your kingdom newsletter. Write to the person listed as Kingdom Seneschal(e) (seneschal@antir.sca.org) to find out if you live in an existing branch.

If you live in unclaimed land, you may start your own branch. This involves some work and a little time. When starting a branch in unclaimed territory, you should work with the nearest branch. By attending its events and learning from its populace how the S.C.A. works, you will be on the way to establishing an S.C.A. branch.

When there is an established branch that covers a large area (a branch within the US portion of the Kingdom of An Tir might serve a county or several counties) it may be advantageous to start a subsidiary branch. To do this, you must contact the branch that exists in the area and get permission. Then you will work closely with them as your parent branch and they will assist you with what you need to do.

Basic Requirements for Incipient Branches

Incipient Branches are groups which have expressed a desire to become a recognized branch of the S.C.A. They are allowed a period of time in which to demonstrate their ability to function as a full branch. During this formative period, they are responsible to a Kingdom-approved sponsoring branch and must meet the following requirements:
  1. Conformance to S.C.A. Law: Learn and abide by the rules of the S.C.A. Ask a seneschal(e) to help you get a copy of Corpora (the overall rules of the S.C.A.) and the Laws of the Kingdom of An Tir.
  2. Boundary Designation: Branches must have logical borders. Because the branch next door cannot be used for boundary criteria, other things may justify your borders. These may include: natural boundaries such as a river or mountain range; existing modern boundaries such as county lines or state lines; or the distance you have to travel such as an hour away in all directions from the center of the territory you wish to claim (this is predominantly a Canadian usage due to large areas with sparse population).
    Branches boundaries may not cross state lines due to financial regulations.
    The territorial claims of existing branches will be honored. If you wish to start a new branch within the boundaries of an existing branch, there are two options:

    1. Request of the existing branch that they cede the territory you wish to claim for a new branch, or
    2. You may petition to become part of the existing branch as a canton (for baronies), or a college or stronghold (for shires or baronies -- see Types of Branches below). The existing branch then provides support for your activities.
  3. Membership Requirements: US Branches must have 5 or more people receiving the Kingdom newsletter as part of their memberships (sustaining and family associates) and whose mailing addresses are within the territory being claimed. Canadian branches must have 5 or more international members subscribing to the Kingdom newsletter and whose mailing addresses are within the territory being claimed.
  4. Officer Requirements: New branches must have at least three officers: A SENESCHAL, a HERALD and one other -- either a MARSHAL for combat activities or an ARTS & SCIENCES OFFICER if there are no combat activities in the branch. Another officer, the EXCHEQUER, may soon become a required branch officer. In that event, you should contact the KINGDOM EXCHEQUER (exchequer@antir.sca.org) for details.
    All officers must be paid members (sustaining or family associates) of the S.C.A. who receive the Kingdom newsletter, The Crier, at their places of residence.
    No officer is expected to know his job in the beginning, but he is expected to learn as quickly as possible. For a job description of each office mentioned (and others), consult other chapters of this Handbook.
  5. Sponsoring Branches: New Branches must have an established branch (in good standing with the Kingdom) act as their sponsor until they are granted full status.
  6. Branch Name: All new branches must choose a branch name and submit it to the S.C.A. College of Arms for Registration. Consult with Kingdom, Region or Principality, or nearby branch heralds for information on selecting and registering a branch name.
    Branch name submissions must include a petition showing the support of the populace of the branch. Too often new branches are delayed from achieving full status due to a lack of a branch name (either registered or in submission).
  7. g) Petition for Recognition: A petition for new branch status must be made to, and approved by, the Kingdom Seneschal(e). It is then forwarded to the Crown for the Ceremonial Recognition.

Types of Branches

SHIRE:
An independent set up in a reasonable isolated area from other existing S.C.A. branches. As an independent branch, the Shire reports to the Kingdom, Principality or Region (sub-regions within the Kingdoms).
CANTON:
This is a subsidiary branch up inside territory claimed by a Barony or may be close to a Barony so that it would be mutually beneficial for the new branch to be included as part of the Barony as a subsidiary branch. The new group must have written permission from the Barony to form a Canton.
COLLEGE, PORT or STRONGHOLD:
If the new group is based around a modern institution (such as a college or a military base) and the group's population size is expected to fluctuate, it may set up with somewhat looser requirements than a Shire or a Canton. The Kingdom, Principality or Regional Seneschal(e) can explain if this option is available to new groups and how it works.

New Branch Application

When a new group makes a decision about the branch type and the territory involved, a New Branch Application Form must be completed. The Regional or Principality Seneschal(e) should review it for completeness and forward it to the Kingdom Seneschal(e) or the designated Deputy. Job Acceptance Forms and proof of membership for the required officers must accompany the application. Proof of membership may be either a copy of a current membership card, a return postcard from the Office of the Registrar showing that a membership application has been received or a current mailing label from the Kingdom newsletter showing that the expiration date has not lapsed.

A map defining the proposed boundaries and a list of the zipcodes within the proposed boundaries should be included. If the proposed branch boundaries lie within (an) existing branch(es), the application should include an official letter from the existing branch(es) indicating it's/their acceptance of the new branch.

All forms are found in this handbook, or may be obtained from Kingdom, Principality or Regional Seneschal(e)s.

After the New Branch Application Form is submitted, the Kingdom Seneschal(e) will probably grant the new group Incipient status (occasionally there are problems that may keep this from happening). With Incipient status, the new branch will be listed with the other branches in the Kingdom newsletter.

Incipient Branches may not hold S.C.A. events individually, but must have them sponsored by a "sponsoring branch", usually a neighboring branch. Should the Incipient Branch acquire monies, these are to be held by the sponsoring branch in an S.C.A. bank account. (Any specific questions about this should be directed to the Kingdom Exchequer.)

It takes at least one year from official recognition before the Kingdom Seneschal(e)'s staff reviews an Incipient Branch's file for its readiness to become a full branch. The Kingdom Seneschal(e)'s staff will check to see how your branch has been functioning. This will include the officers' reporting records and officer turnover, evaluation of how events have gone, problems that have occurred and how they were handled.  The Kingdom Seneschal(e)'s staff will ask the sponsoring branch, other neighboring branches and the Regional/Principality Seneschal(e) for their observations about the Incipient branch. This review evaluates the progress the Incipient Branch has made. If things are favorable, full branch status will be recommended. If there is a concern noted, the branch will be given time to address the concern.

Be patient and keep working. The Kingdom of An Tir gives a total of three years to get any problems or concerns worked out. If the Kingdom Seneschal(e) does not recommend full status at the end of three years, the Incipient Branch will be dissolved. All Branch possessions revert to a designated holder; that is, the sponsoring branch or the dissolved branches choice of another branch.

Once the Incipient Branch has a favorable review, the Kingdom Seneschal(e) will forward this information with his recommendations to the Crown. The Incipient Branch is notified of the review's findings. If the Incipient Branch is deemed ready, it will be invited to make a formal presentation at a local event. The branch Seneschal(e), officers, members and associated folks can present a calligraphed petition for full Branch Status to the Crown and full Branch status will be granted then.

There are changes that occur when a branch becomes fully functional. It can hold its own events without a sponsor. It will be able to open its own bank account (there are specific instructions to be followed for this from the Kingdom Exchequer). Full status branches must continue to report regularly, but they will report to their direct superior officer as designated by each officer's Kingdom superior. A full-status branch may also sponsor an incipient branch. To maintain their status as a branch of the S.C.A., all branches must maintain the minimum membership numbers and officers.

converted to HTML by Nettie MacLost de Beaumont

For more information, go to: Starting A New Branch
and What happens after you submit your new branch application packet (PDF)
If you have more questions contact, the Kingdom Deputy for New Branches
listed in the Crier or send an email to new-branches [at] antir.sca.org


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