One of the things which I think can be overwhelming is understanding exactly who people are and what they represent in the Society. It’s not just a challenge for newcomers but even for SCAdians who have been active for a while but who don’t travel to events outside their area, for example.
All these coronets and crowns, and people wearing fancy jewelry who are called Master or Mistress, and then those guys in colored belts who aren’t called anything in particular but are obviously attached to something…….it’s kind of crazy! And how to talk to someone when you’re too nervous to approach them because of their finery? That’s not fun at all!
When we had our first Baronial Investiture in the fall, I knew that we’d have a lot of visitors, including Royalty and many royal cousins from other Baronies. Add in the mix of Peers of all sorts, and everyone else and I knew that there would be great people watching!
So I devised a class on visually recognizing East Kingdom award heraldry and tokens. We spent time in a room going over images and then a small clutch took to the event to people watch and be put to the test to see what they could find out by carefully looking at someone.
When the Kingdom 12th Night was nigh, I offered to do something similar as a youth class – a Regalia Safari. As it happened, no youth attended at all, but a varied group of newer, older, and interested SCAdians joined me in walking the event halls and accosting people who I knew, or whose display of their regalia could tell my group a lot about who they were – without a word.
I made up these sheets and everyone had one. Soon they knew who was a Baroness and who was a good fighter (Tygers Combatant). The could see who would be courteous (Queen’s Order of Courtesy) and who might lend a hand (Pelican or Silver Crescent) if needed. They could see who served as Royalty. Noted members of the Queen’s Guard. Looked for “tricky Laurels” whose leaves were subtly displayed in a coronet or in trim. Knew the dangerous fencers and archers. They asked Knights questions and asked Peers and Barons and others what their regalia meant when they didn’t recognize it. I think that people learned something and I hope they will always feel comfortable approaching someone if they have a question. It went longer than I anticipated – nearly two hours – but overall it was a good first run!
Some folks wanted to know if they could use the sheet I made to help do something similar in their areas. So, here it is!
Safari hunt 2.0 pdf. (This document prints 2-up on legal sized paper.)
How to Have a Regalia Safari of Your Own
Version One – With an Experienced Guide
- Print up a set of copies of the above Safari hunting guide. Give one to each participant.
- If you have more than 8 people, recruit a knowledgeable assistant.
- Meet someplace quiet at first and introduce yourselves to each other. If for children (or really new adults possibly) go over the Rules of Engagement.
- Give a quick overview of the sheet and explain how it’s arranged (Royals, Coronets, Peers and their students, Orders of High Merit conveying an AoA, and then the other awards and recognizable tokens or regalia.)
- Take a walking field trip as a group. More than 8 people requires a person to take up the rear of the group and answer questions at that end.
- Ask the group what they see – they will look largely at coronets to ID the category at first but will look more closely as they continue. Point out any obvious regalia around (politely!)
- Approach people with displayed regalia – Greet them appropriately (Master/Mistress/Sir/Excellency/etc) and explain that you’re on a Regalia Safari and would like to please see X or Y medallion. It’s a good time to ask them what an award means if you’ve not gone over it yet. When done, thank them very much and move on.
- Continue until you’ve seen most of the major award regalia.
- End someplace quiet to field questions.
Version Two – SCAvenger Hunt Version
- Print up a set of copies of the above Safari hunting guide. Give one to each participant. Have a writing implement for each person as well.
- Meet someplace quiet at first and introduce yourselves to each other. Go over the Rules of Engagement. Discuss appropriate forms of address by referencing the sheet.
- Do an overview of the sheet, especially noting the items without pictures.
- Choose a return time.
- Send out the group in pairs or triads to find as many of the listed things as they can, checking off the list as they’re seen.
- End someplace quiet to field questions.
- When the teams return, the group which has the most items checked should be given a small token – little favors or chocolate, etc…