What do you believe the responsibilities of the Baron/ess are, and to whom?
The Baron/ess are responsible first and foremost to family. Real life comes first. If that is in upset, the SCA has to be put on hold. Second is their responsibility to the people of the barony, which involves many aspects. That encompasses things including being involved as the visible head of the barony; encouraging the members of the barony to pursue their interests whether service, art, or martial; encouraging us to stretch to do things; being the voice of reason when something seems clearly beyond our capacity; and making sure that baronial members are recognized for their achievements at both the baronial and kingdom level. The Baron/ess are responsible for being the eyes and ears of the crown. They are the people the crown calls on as “The Barony” and as such must represent all the members with their best interests in mind. The Baron/ess has a fealty responsibility to the royalty, to hold the lands in their name and to fulfill, to the best of their and their group’s ability, any lawful requests from the crown.
Selecting new Baronial Champions
Giving out Baronial awards
Receive letters of intent for officers
One or both of us will try to be at every meeting
Having our contact information posted to the website
Be at all baronial events
Hold baronial courts
Review any event cancellation made by the Seneschal
Try and make as many baronial investitures as possible
Swear fealty to every East crown
Receive letters of intent for the next baronage polling
Participate in Curia
They serve at the discretion of The Crown and are invested, suspended, or removed by The Crown in accordance with East Kingdom Law and the Governing Documents of the SCA, Inc.
Make time for baronial champion tourneys at Pennsic
Support confidential matters within the barony
Support practices and classes throughout the barony
What aspect of being Baron/ess do you expect to be, for you, the most distasteful part(s) of the job? What strategies have you thought of to deal with them?
It is a different answer for each of us. For Rumhann, it’s public speaking – as an introvert – quite and solitude are preferred, and speaking in front of crowds is high on the list of things that he would much rather avoid. However, he is working on remembering that this a part he will be playing and ‘All the Court’s a Stage’. Additionally we have discussed various strategies for mitigating the necessity (this is why there is a court docket). For Sisuile, who has been a herald and a group trainer, public speaking is a non-issue. For her, it will be not skipping preferred events for obligatory events, but missing out on some of the fun aspects of those events for the necessary meetings and side discussions to keep things running smoothly. On the other hand, we are both adults, and understand the necessity of the Baron/ess to be able to deal with meetings, administravia, court, and politics in a polite and gracious manner in order to facilitate best practices and good will.
Dealing with conflict is an easy answer and always difficult but we do that every day. It is a part of life and as such, we are considering that an ongoing effort. We think the most distasteful aspect, SCA specific, will be when we have to miss an event we want to go to in favor of an event we should go to. We have already experienced this several times and have done what was right for the situation by either going to the event we should be or splitting up to represent ourselves at both events. Since there are two of us, that is a distinct advantage in those situations, in a pinch we can divide and conquer. While that is not ideal, it is an option. We don’t see ourselves doing this any differently than we have been. We will be grateful and gracious for the opportunity and enjoy the events we go to.
I would have to say that the hardest part is going to be that I will stop doing all of the things that I do for myself personally. This will be a switch to serving in whatever way the barony needs me to fill. I know that I will not be able to fence as much, and that is a sacrifice that I am willing to make. I will fight when I can, but the baronage will always take precedence.
Khazariyya is just not great in the mornings, but she has me and an alarm clock for that.
Some candidates have suggested that the Barony should run more / longer / Kingdom events. How often have you been on staff for the events that the Barony already holds? Do you sign up in advance for positions; are you involved in setup and cleanup; and what was your participation in the running of the Barony’s most recent event, Summer Solstice Shoot?
At our Summer Solstice Shoot we brought the thrown weapons targets, helped set up the range, marshaled the thrown weapons line, and tore down the range. Rumhann helped with wider clean up, including the archery range, and represented the Thrown community as Baronial Champion. Sisuile took a gate shift. We chose to keep our involvement at this event to day-of assistance, as Sisuile (and thus Rumhann) will be doing a lot of pre-cooking for both Artifacts and Yule where she is running both dayboards. We try to work with the coordinators of various event activities to let them know that we will be around to help, and frequently volunteer for jobs needed at events, including set up (Sisuile) and clean up (Rumhann). We have been involved with the last 3 baronial-involved events: Golden Seamstress (Sisuile helped with set up, clean up, running, and judging the contestants), Yule (Yule ceremonies, and Rumhann cleaned up the baronial presence after court), and we hosted/stewarded baronial thrown weapons champions.
Historically, we have worked on the Barony’s events from our earliest days. We started out helping with the pre-cook, set-up and clean up for Simplefare. We are always on site for setup and breakdown for events in the Barony. During the day we help Their Excellencies set up and break down court, Gwenllian takes gate shifts, and has run the Yule ceremonies for Her Excellency every year while she is at high table. Mark helps flip the hall at Yule, and has gladly filled in for the Midnight Visitor at the last minute at the request of Their Excellencies Bergental-Twice. We are involved in the planning of all of the events the barony holds. Both of us were part of the late night staff for the Golden Seamstress event: Mark assisted with setup and stayed until about midnight before he left on the account of another commitment the next day. Gwenllian stayed on site the entire time and worked the event from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, leaving with the autocrat and the rest of the clean-up crew. We are usually part of the Friday night setup for Yule and Summer Solstice Shoot. At Summer Solstice Shoot, the Barony’s most recent event we were both there for Friday night set up. On Saturday Gwenllian spent some time at gate and welcomed several newcomers, both prior contacts and walk-ins. Mark ran the MOL table and coordinated the tournament with Aengus. Both of us stayed for clean-up, and were some of the last people to leave the site.
This question is confusing on the basis that as landed Baronage, we would not be able to steward an event regardless of how much experience we may or may not have. Therefore, while your question of our experience will be responded to, because such experience may help in delegating as well as performing the event, we will also respond with ideas on how we may achieve greater chance of recruiting to help out with such events.
Currently, the only people who volunteer for events are, in fact, the same small group of people which is unfair as has been stated. These are also the same people who attend meetings. If the only time an event is mentioned or volunteered for is at medting, can is it also be unfair to assume that the same people are doing it because there is no one else willing?
In my opinion, it is unrealistic for the entire Barony populace to show up at every meeting. That is what officers are for. Representatives of their chosen area of populace, ie fencing marshal represents the fencers, A&S represents the artisans and so on and so forth. What if we use social media and the official website to announce which events are being currently planned, and which positions of help are currently open for volunteering, including but not limited to, the main positions such as event steward, feastocrat, etc?
Of course, the person who volunteers will have to know they should attend meetings up to the event. And if they are new to the position but want to learn, they can be guided by those more experienced. But this gives more people the opportunity to step up and enjoy being more involved without continually keeping the burden on the same few.
If we start using more avenues than just the baronial meeting, we are positive it can and will involve more members.
As for our experience in running and helping events, Grimolfr has run numerous fencing and thrown weapons tournaments. He had also been on Queen’s Guard for the better part of a year that helps set up and break down at Royal events. He has also helped in a dayboard kitchen and regularly volunteers to do dishes after feast events. He was also the baronial herald for a few years running courts and volunteering at several “Ask a Herald” tables at events. He stayed at EK Royal last year to help set up and break down that camp which takes many days during Pennsic.
Khazariyya has been on the Queen’s retinue for the last year. She was the co-autocrat for the last Hrim Schola event where the Dragonship Haven autocrat requested her for the next Hrim Schola for her quick response and dedication to getting the job done. She also spends a good amount of time documenting events with her photography skills, both Royal and Baronial. Khazariyya also volunteered and helped chatelaine an event.
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How will promote ALL aspects of Arts and Sciences ( i.e. brewing, cooking, jewelry making, etc.)?
(Admin note: the administrators did offer the option to rephrase this question in order to make it less duplicative of Question #8. The poster declined on the basis that in their interpretation Question #8 deals solely with promoting the SCA as a whole to bring in newcomers. Therefore it has been posted as stated.)
We both personally have a diverse array of interests in the arts and sciences.
A&S topics Rumhann can do and teach (at least at 101 level): leather, woodworking, blacksmithing, embroidery, medieval architecture, medieval construction techniques, pottery, gardening, brewing, cooking, chainmail & armor making, archery, thrown weapons, soapmaking, & ropework (braiding, knots, & splicing).
A&S topics Sisuile can do and teach (at least at the 101 level): period clothing & accessories, silversmithing, leather, embroidery, weaving, european and middle eastern dance, reading medieval music, vocal performance, bardic, illumination, bookbinding, pottery, enamel, cold worked metal, fencing armor, cooking, baking, infusions, soapmaking, herbary, dyeing, spinning, knitting, archery, research methods
Because we have such a breadth of interests, some of which are group based and some of which are individual, we understand and encourage breadth and depth in the people around us. We are always available to teach what we know, and we open our home once a month to do it, as well as teaching at events, including Pennsic. Even as Baron/ess, we would continue sharing our knowledge as well as learning all the cool new things that people in our barony have to teach. We are fans of project days and workshops and demos.
We will work with our various artisans to promote their Art and share their enthusiasm. We, as a Barony, have so many talented artisans who are generous enough to share their time and knowledge through teaching classes at events or workshops at their homes or a borrowed space. That generosity should be rewarded by a successful, well attended workshop. We can and will help promote the Arts and Sciences on Facebook, the Yahoo group and through word of mouth. On Facebook, we are members of several SCA groups where we can post links and announcements to your workshop. We are willing to put in as much effort as you do to help your activity be as successful as possible.
We would like to ask that the MoAS organize monthly (if possible) classes where they can reach out to members of the populace in their chosen A&S proficiency. We are not looking for just Laurels and Maunches to teach classes, but to members who have a passion in the A&S community and want to share that knowledge and passion with the barony.
How do you see the Baronage interacting with the Seneschallate? Where is the line between the roles and responsibilies of the Coronet and those of the Seneschal?
The interaction between the two types of officers is cooperative and supportive. They should each be seeking ways to meet the needs of the other. With everything the barony does, the Seneschal needs to verify that all the rules and regulations are being followed. Within the rules and regulations, the Baronage needs to phrase that into our society. There is a hard and distinct line from one role to the other. The Seneschallate is our liaison to the mundane law, in all matters which that touches (insurance, liability, contracts, legality) their word is final. The Baronage however, is our story line. They are our leadership, our role models, our liaison to the crown and other baronies, our representation when our populace is not available at events outside our boundaries.
It is extremely important for the Baronage and Seneschal to have a harmonious relationship in order to benefit the Barony. However, they are only but 2 parts within a well oiled machine that needs all of it’s components in order to work. This means that every officer position is important to the Baronage and Seneschal to better achieve this harmony.
We feel there are 2 main factors that can create problems.
1. Understanding we are all volunteering for this, if you volunteer to do a job it is important to make sure the responsibilities of that job are met whether by officer or deputy. Otherwise, it can create stress and burden the officers who must continually remind another of their tasks, or, it can put a Barony on a perpetual hold. Either of these problems prevents the Barony from growing and accomplishung their goals.
2. The other problem can be when an officer takes upon themselves TOO much responsibility, even those which are or were delegated to other officers or persons responsibilities. This can cause burn out, bitterness in all persons and or parties, as well as a hold upon the Barony’s growth and success.
We look forward to a harmonious relationship with all the officers if we should win.
We see the interaction as a partnership. The Baronage is the ceremonial side where the Seneschal is the rules side. We feel it is crucial for there to be good communication between the two. For the Baronage, it is important to recognize and reward the effort of baronial members. It is also important to have the trust in and for the officers in the Barony that they are best able to do their duties. It is up to the seneschal to manage the officers and the Baronage to support their efforts. The baronage and seneschalate should keep each other fully informed – neither should be surprised by anything that comes up at a meeting.
What aspects of the Barony and of the SCA do you feel most comfortable representing? What aspects are you personally least comfortable with? With that in mind, how, as Baron/ess do you plan to represent those aspects of the SCA that you are least comfortable with in order to properly serve your Baronial constituents?
We apologize for the long response time. We have had important family issues to deal with this past week, including my sister in an emergency visit to the hospital. Everything is fine and everyone is healthy still, so back to business.
Our combined strong point is serving, whether it be visible on the marshalate field or behind the scenes, this is where we shine. We are strong go getters and our weakness is pretty much needing to learn how to slow down and put all of our ducks in a row before we get too enthusiastic.
We are bettering our weakness by gathering more information and role models to help us accomplish ideas while slowing down and looking to the more experienced members of the populace of the Barony of the past several decades to help guide us.
We are most comfortable as service geeks. From invisible to visible roles, if it needs to be done, one of us has a clue how to do it (Up to and including the exchecquerate, if necessary). We’re also very comfortable on the thrown, fencing, and archery fields, and in the halls of the arts and sciences. The one frequent aspect neither of us enjoy are large parties with too much alcohol. We much prefer smaller gatherings of friends and acquaintances. However, we acknowledge that the baron and baroness are expected and required to attend many such gatherings as part of the office, and while it is not what we prefer, we will do our duty.
Mark is definitely most comfortable on the fight field whereas Gwenllian is more comfortable with the A&S crowd or helping newcomers. We’re not terribly familiar with the law-side interface – for example, the way Curia works, but as the baronage we would have the right and obligation to be heard. We have sat through only one curia but that ,in no way, makes us experts. We would need to consult with our former baronage and seneschalate both to educate ourselves so that we could properly represent the barony.
As Baron/ess, you will be the liason of the Barony to the Crown, other baronies, and even other Kingdoms. You will be the most visible representative of the Barony Beyond the Mountain. With that in mind, how do you feel you represent BBM? How do you plan to continue to best represent BBM as a whole as Baron/ess to those outside of the Barony?
As the most visible members of BBM, we feel that we would represent the barony as we attempt to represent ourselves, with honor and decorum. It would be our responsibility to create cohesion, demand respect for our people and their accomplishments from the crown and kingdom, and work to promote the barony as responsible citizens of the East and the Society. This includes making sure that we leave sites and partner organizations with a favorable impression, writing letters of recommendation for our populace, and when necessary, work with the seneschal as problems arise for the appropriate solutions. It is our goal to ensure that when outside people speak of the barony, they do so with praise, and have no reason to do otherwise.
We feel we represent the Barony well but, of course, We’re sure all of the candidates do. We are personable, get along with many different personality types and are good guests. When visiting, we do as good guests do, make sure we leave site better than we found it, offer to help with setup and breakdown, help neighbors set up at camping events, even recruited for neighboring areas while visiting. We don’t see any reason to change that. Part of the job is to promote your people to the royals and the rest of the SCA, both in person and through recommendations. We aspire to represent the Barony with the demeanor befitting the office, still having fun, but maintaining the dress and comportment with the goal of being someone that the Barony will be proud to say “that is my Baron/ess.”
For the past year, Grimolfr and myself have been retaining/guard for the East Kingdom Royals. This has brought us in to contact with many of the current sitting Kings, Queens, Princes, Princesses, Dukes, Dutchesses, Barons/esses and other royals throughout the East Kingdom. We have been recognized for our service, friendliness and welcoming dispositions.
We also have many friends in other Kingdoms as well, namely Aethelmarc and to a lesser extent Middle Kingdom where we are recognized for our services and help we offer when it is needed.
We are always asking our neighbors for advice and value their experience and words on their positions, their duties, their responsibilities, and use these conversations to bring more ideas and suggestions to our own Barony within the meetings we attend regularly.
Grimolfr is also well known and respected for being a Protege to his Pelican, Master Cormac, and a Provost to his Master of Defense, Master Caine. He is recognized throughout this kingdom as being a level headed, fair individual who is open and welcoming to everyone and lends a hand and knowledge to everyone who asks for it or needs it.
A few words on how you will promote the various activities that are the SCA.
We as the baron/ess will promote SCA activities by lending our presence to local, kingdom, and interkingdom events in our roles as representatives of the populace, by seeking a wider audience (through recruitment and demonstrations), through encouragement of the populace to participate at a stronger level, in working with our populace to facilitate the activities that they would like to see held, and by giving and facilitating praise and recognition where it is due for jobs well done (both administrative and achievement based).
We will continue with demos, talking to people we meet and work with. We have both been doing this all along. Gwenllian will talk to anybody, seriously! We will continue to visit practices we already go to, expand to go to other practices we aren’t currently involved with, go to as many of the workshops as we can and we’ll promote them online. We both have access to the Facebook page and the Yahoo group. Gwenllian’s experience as a chatelaine will help us promote the Barony’s activities.
My son’s middleschool hosts a Medieval day every year. I am going to bring up the suggestion to contact the school as an organization to participate in their event. I already spoke to the school about the possibility and they seemed interested so my next step is presenting the idea at the Baronial meeting. This will promote our organization to children and families which is a very strong way to promote and expand our group.
Hosting demos within Baronial borders is another way to successfully promote our group. My idea was finding the local, yearly flea markets throughout our Barony and seeing about acquiring a booth space and demo space for marshal demonstrations or footwork. This will all be brought up to the Chatelaine in Baronial meetings.
Creating E-Flyers to post online for local web groups and town groups is also a great way to advertise the SCA for free. The flyer can state all the activities available with a brief description and have the contact info of the Chatelaine for more information.
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The Barony, a few years ago, hosted a number of Kingdom events. For whatever reasons, we have not held any in the last few years. Do you have any thoughts to putting the Barony back out there to hold Kingdom level events?
Yes, we believe that kingdom events are important to the health and growth of the barony as a whole. Before we could responsibly hold them, we would need 1) more event staff, as discussed previously, and 2) a more diverse array of event sites. Sisuile has been collecting & collating information on possible sites so that we have an organized effort. She asks that if you know of any sites that would be appropriate, to please be in contact, as this is an ongoing project that only works with the assistance of many, many pairs of eyes. Also, now that we have 5 events on the permanent rotation, we would need to be extremely judicious about scheduling, as to avoid burnout.
This ties in a bit with Question #6. We would love to see some kingdom events in the Barony. Bring proposals, locations, and a willingness to help. This is a big undertaking but we know it can be done. Hosting a Kingdom event requires a larger event staff which, we think, is a large reason we aren’t holding them right no. In encouraging volunteerism, we can get the larger staff and begin sending proposals again. We just need to be mindful of the same people doing the work all the time. We don’t want to burn out our members.
We believe that the first thing that needs to happen to hold Kingdom level events is to make sure that we have a list of good event sites to choose from. The baronial officers have been looking into new sites recently, but it would also be great if some other people in the far reaches of the barony would also be able to scope out locations and send word to the Seneschal so that we can begin the process of approving of sites that can meet all of the needs of running a successful event.
This also goes hand in hand to the previous question about involving new staff and training more people into the running of different aspects of events. (see question #5)
We are very interested in bringing Kingdom level events back to the barony.
This Barony has a very large geographical footprint. It is good that the current practices take place towards the center of that land mass, but it still takes some areas a two hour drive to get to them. Any thoughts and ideas on attempts get more classes and practices to be spread into the farther regions and corners of the Barony? If one is expected to drive the two hours to the center of the Barony for a practice/class, should it not be expected that once in a while, that that travel time and distance be placed upon those who benefit normally from living close?
Not originally being from Connecticut, neither one of us really understood the river as geographic barrier rather than simply feature until we had lived here a while. So we don’t have the same psychological issue as much of the barony with crossing it. We also travel, a lot. The groups we come from are also not small geographically, and we’re used to traveling for work and pleasure, sometimes for several hours for a three hour meeting. Thankfully, due to the location of our home, we can make it to all of the occupied portions of the barony inside of two hours, which isn’t a big deal for us.
We are not unaware of the effect of having Their Excellencies’ presence at various practices, workshops, and meetings. The announcement of their attendance tends to bring out more people and create more buzz within the barony. So, if people in the more outlying regions choose to hold workshops or demos, we would lend the weight of the office to them as much as possible. Other than that, all we can do is strongly encourage the residents who also live outside the Hartford metro area to hold inclusive events.
The Barony has been improving, travelling to areas where locals make the necessary effort on their end and we encourage anyone to bring forth a proposal. Unfortunately, we are not all knowing nor can we do it all. We think the barony does the best it can with the sites we have available currently but there is always room for improvement. We would encourage you to bring forth proposals with event ideas, location and how you’re going to help get it going.
We have already tried to begin this process by opening up activities in the old regions Fennbrycg and Dragon’s Aerie. We have started a fencing, youth, and heavy practices while also focusing on sewing days and bardic circles. I know this only covers the eastern side of the barony. We are also in contact with some people from the north eastern section who are interested in running thrown weapons and A&S days.
I know that this only covers the eastern side of the barony, though. We have been talking with a few members inside of Ravenhill who are interested in starting things up again and we are very eager to facilitate and start this back up. They need the support of the rest of the barony to make sure that their area can also thrive and grow as well. We are ready to be there for everyone as an advocate.
We are listening and we do hear you.
The Barony has had many years of the same people doing the same work at events. To the point we have stopped and or even eliminated events. What plans do you have to get new blood into action and teach them how to run all aspects of events; eventually, to turn over the controls of Steward, Gate, Kitchen, Merchanting, Parking, and Clean-up.
There are two relatively simple ways to increase the available talent pool for the barony. First, we can ask. As we have said elsewhere, we have found in other groups and organizations that people may not feel comfortable putting themselves forward for a variety of reasons, but will be happy to take on larger roles if approached directly. Second, we would ask that all event department heads be paired, that the experienced Event Steward or Gatekeeper find someone to take on a new role (with help, if necessary) to be their second. It both gives them a backup if, for some reason, they can’t make the event and teaches someone else how to do the job.
Speaking of which, between June 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018, the Barony Beyond the Mountain will be holding 6 events. Ask not what your barony can do for you, but what you can do for your barony.
Unfortunately, this is a tough one. People play to their comfort level and since this is a volunteer organization, we can’t make them do more. They will do more only if they want to. Gwenllian has been working with newcomers, introducing them, getting them started. This only goes so far since they, too have real life obligations. We encourage people to try new things, explain that the best way to meet people and make new friends is to volunteer. We have certainly been around to help with setup, breakdown, cooking (Okay, pre-cooking) and many other places that things need doing. If someone is looking to help, we can aim them in the direction of what needs doing or who needs help. As mentioned at the Sunday Q&A, one of the things Gwenllian has been doing with newcomers is a sort of mentoring. This allows her to encourage volunteerism as something both fun and helpful. We would like to see that continue and see other people who are willing to do the mentoring. Hopefully, this helps retain new people and influence others who wouldn’t normally work at gate, in the kitchen, merchant or any of the other many activities that make for a great event.
We would like to start by trying to bring back the expertise of the current baronial members who have been playing with other local groups or the kingdom. We would like to make them feel included and welcome again.
As for new people, we would like to have more demos inside the borders of our barony focusing on many aspects of the SCA. This will help bring more new blood in. We would also like to advertise our actual events to bring in new people and introduce them to our wonderful hobby.
We also think it would be a good idea to run a class/workshop for baronial members to learn the different aspects of running an event.
How will you make your mark as baron/baroness of BBM? I.e. what is your focus/main area of interest in the Society, and what steps will you take to put your plans in motion?
We fought over this question in our house – Rumhann maintains quite strongly that having a goal of “making your mark” as baron and baroness is antithetical to being of service to the populace. Sisuile is of the opinion that while it shouldn’t be a goal it is something that happens – as we said before, each new baronage brings different perspectives and themes to the group with the leadership change, and one should have a plan.
Our goal as officers, baron & baroness notwithstanding, is to increase engagement. According to the last census, there are a lot of members of the barony who we never see. There are more who we will sometimes see, but who, for one reason or another, do not engage with baronial activities, be they events, practices, or social gatherings. So – how do we get these people active locally? It involves: 1) finding out what activities they want to participate in; 2) figuring out times and locations that are the most inclusive to all corners; 3) taking the initiative to seek out and ask if people want to participate, rather than assuming they will do so on their own 4) working with those who feel they have been silenced or ignored and gave up on the group as a result. The long term goal is to have people as officers, event staff, and participants who are not “the usual suspects.”
On a more personal front – expect there to be a lot more thrown weapons, and more social potlucks. Frequently both. Because we enjoy pointy things and feeding people, and if we get to combine the two, all the better.
We would like to see the barony have a “signature” event. While we have a few great events, we would love to be known for an event everyone talks about and wants to bring their friends and family to. Since the end of Simplefare, we don’t think we have an event that raises the Barony’s profile in the Kingdom. (Although Artifacts of a Life is getting a lot of attention and growing still) Steps toward this would begin like planning any other event: discussion, assessment of resources, etc. We have heard there are some people who have stopped being involved because they don’t care for some things that have happened during the last few years. We feel we can help heal some of the hurt feelings through our current relationships with some of those people and move toward bringing those folks back into the fold. We plan to do that by reaching out to those folks to see what we can do to facilitate the healing process.
Khazariyya and I feel our mark has already begun on our barony. We firmly believe that a title is not needed to get where we need to go. Everyone can make a difference.
We started with only the desire to bring more activities to our area, with our main focus at the time being a Youth Heavy Practice for our son Rhath. I began Fencing, throwing weapons, and archery and worked for my marshalate in 2 of those activities, achieving Fencing marshal for adults and youth as well as Thrown Weapons marshal for adults and youth. I also began, and still am, an MIT for Youth Heavy.
I used these marshalates to open the first youth practice in BBM in many years as well as an adult Fencing and Heavy combat practice site. Circumstances made the Youth Marshal for heavy in our area unavailable, so it now continues at the Middlefield practice with the adult Fencing continuing in East Haddam. We are, again, looking for a site to accommodate Youth Fencing.
Khazariyya helped along the way using her connections in the town she owns her business as well as her experience with marketing to find and secure a place and advertise it. She also has held several sewing days as well as a very successful monthly bardic circle at our house.
I guess you can say our main focus is the increase of activities including more for youth to get involved in.
Another idea we have is to offer a proposal for term limits on officers. 2 year term with the possibility to re up after 2 years to a 4 year term. This will prevent burn out as well as stagnation. We would propose it through a change of Baronial custom at a business meeting.
This Barony also has many great A&S artisans. We would also like to bring back having an A&S Champion. Another proposal.
Khazariyya and I have attended many events over the years and have stayed for court participating and/or watching depending on whether we are serving the current royals or not. Khazariyya makes it a point to pay attention while in court to their proceeding and awards, converse with the neighboring barons after about their system, and gathers information and new ideas to incorporate into our own Barony Beyond the Mountain. One of these ideas was a youth specific award. She picked up the idea of a Youth specific award while at Bridge and broadened it while in court at Concordia of the Snows. The result is a Youth Award, she is mulling with Order of the Sapling, with 3 different colored backgrounds. One color for A&S, one for service, and one for marshal activities. If the Youth receives all 3, they will also receive a scroll. This method encourages the kids to get involved with all the avenues of the SCA. This will also be accomplished as a proposal in a business meeting.
This has already begun, but we would like to continue meetings held in all areas of the state.
We would also like to strive for at least 4 events per year in all quarters of the state. We have an idea to try to turn Summer Solstice Shoot into a weekend camping event where all of the championships will be held and, this too, will be proposed at a Business Meeting.
That covers it for now, but we are always looking for new ideas from any populace member who has one to help create more fun for Barony Beyond the Mountain.
We are listening, and we do hear you.
It has been brought to our attention that there is a misinterpretation with our wording about the Middlefield youth practice. We were not taking credit for the Middlefield practice site. We were speaking of the Colchester youth practice, which we started April last year, as it’s own separate entity, which is currently not available. We were then trying to give credit to Middlefield practice as to where youth is currently available, as well as it’s own entity. We bring our own son there and they are doing a fantastic job.
Would you describe yourself as proficient in the use of arbitration and mediation? Please give examples.
Sisuile has had formal training in arbitration and mediation techniques in non profit contexts in her graduate work. It helped immensely in her day job – real estate of any form is all about negotiation, and it helps the process to go smoothly if everyone feels heard and validated. The role of an agent is frequently to mediate between the needs of buyer and sellers or between owners and tenants. It has been her job for 15+ years to be that person in the middle. In SCA context, her work as Dean of Performing Arts at Pennsic had her frequently stepping in and acting as facilitator between groups of performers and classes who had overlapping desires for use of the space – in one specific case, the rehearsal on our primary stage was extremely upset by the noise created by performers who had asked to work on set construction in the back of house. She was called in when the shouting started. After about 10 minutes of listening to both sides’ concerns (time, space limitations, previous access, noise levels,etc) the two groups managed to feel they had both been heard, and their issues addressed. The construction group had a plan for when they could be loud without disturbing others or putting their timeline too far behind, the singers on stage felt they could trust that the rest of their rehearsal slots would not be afflicted by power tools or banging, without insisting the other group remove themselves.
Rumhann has been working retail customer service in one form or another for most of the last two decades. Being able to hear someone, let them know they are being heard, and not brushed off as an annoyance, is one of his specialties. In addition, finding a useful resolution to the complaint or inconvenience that is being brought up without sacrificing resources or procedures maintains the option for a delightful interaction and experience. Recently, this has involved digging into why some transactions happened as they did, instead of how the customer had thought they should. In terms of arbitration, while in managerial roles he has had to step in between customers and team members, and sometimes between two or more team members. These situations are treated effectively as a mediation for the customer and possible training options for the team members.
Gwenllian: I would consider myself pretty adept at both mediation and arbitration. A recent example came in planning a demo. There was a discussion about who was bringing what, who was getting what information from the site, and other general planning that goes with planning a demo. One person in the discussion felt they weren’t getting the responses from the main coordinator they should have. This person was very familiar with the site and still new to the the demo planning process. As the discussion was winding down, I received a private message asking how I made it look so easy to plan. I asked for more information and eventually found out that this person wanted to help, had been offering to help and felt they were getting brushed off. After finding this out, I was able to calm them down. As the demo got going, I had a few talks with some key people, explaining the newer person’s experience. By the end of the demo, at least three people were stepping in to help the newer person find their way, help out and make new friends.
Mark: I bring with me the knowledge of what my strengths and weaknesses are. Mediation is one of those things where I still need to do more work. In most of my dealings with opposition, I have been fortunate enough to always have someone nearby who was better equipped than me to talk out the problem and make sure it is handled with the best possible outcome. I recognize this and realize this is a strength Gwenllian has. I also recognize the people and tools around me that are better suited for such tactics both to learn from and apply where needed. It takes the mindset of someone thinking for the better of all to know when to step back. We can’t all be good at everything but through our partnership, we balance each other out to make a strong pair.
In the last question I, Grimolfr, had stated I have been in a managerial position for 18 years. This has given me the experience to understand how to work with people from all walks of life and backgrounds to find common ground and make resolutions. Same for Khazariyya, in her 12 years, especially dealing one on one with her clients, their needs, and compromises when the clients felt their needs have not been met to their standards. We both utilize these skills daily, currently, and end up with satisfied parties each time.
Khazariyya also has a very high sense of fairness and in my 8 years with her, I have always noticed that she must hear all sides from all parties with presented facts before she can even begin to have an opinion on the matter.
What skills do you think you could bring to the baronage, and what are some examples of when you used them?
We bring a personal touch, always having positive interactions with SCA members at all levels we have been fortunate enough to meet. We’ve spoken to anyone from first event people to Kings and Queens with ease and had so many interesting, educational and humorous discussions with them all.
Gwenllian: As the Baronial Chatelaine, I have been welcoming newcomers for the last seven years, showing them around and introducing them to people with similar interests to theirs. I have also organized people for demos with assistance from others. Those demos have gotten us invitations to prestigious shows like the Big E which exposes the SCA to hundreds, if not thousands of people every year. We have been invited to do demos in other areas of the kingdom as well including the fiber festival in Rhinebeck, NY which is one of the largest in the area.
Mark: I have a good sense of humor letting it show just when you think I’m not listening or have gone missing, only to be right in front of you with a humorous comment to make you chuckle or even guffaw. Belly laughs are not uncommon either. One person described it as “stealth” humor.
A few years ago at Yule, I was asked to step in as the Midnight Visitor when Bergental’s person was under the weather. I played the Midnight Visitor two years in a row and received many compliments on my portrayal. My brief background in theater helped me embrace the role and have fun with it.
We know how to run things. Nature abhors a vacuum and so do we. Most of the jobs we’ve had in the SCA have been because something needed to get done, and we were the ones willing to do it. We know how to wrangle volunteers, work within budgets, and manage staff. We are not afraid to advocate for and defend our people, but have also learned that sometimes the best practice is being silent and listening. We understand many of the ways that baronies can be run, from the experience of living and working in them, and how this barony *is* running. We are both experienced administrators in large non-profits, including the SCA.
Mundanely, Rumhann ran the membership department at the National Organization for Women. When the barony will be requesting our membership address list for sending out ballots – that’s part of what he was doing at NoW. For Free Spirit Gathering he has been the Sweats site coordinator and department head, and guidance committee member. Modernly, he has been in managerial rolls for over 10 years. Sisuile has worked in event administration for the American Heart Association, in planning and coordination for The Bridge Homeless Center, and the Peacemeal Project. She has own and run her own business for over 15 years, and so brings those organizational, administrative, marketing, time management, and managerial skills to her volunteer efforts.
Within the SCA, we are both long term event staff and/or officers. Sisuile has, at various times, held or performed every type of major office that isn’t a marshalate. She was a Deputy Society Seneschal, Dean of Performing Arts at Pennsic, various kinds of senior herald, been deputy Gold Key, deputy Chatelaine, Mistress of the Lists, Event Steward, Feast Steward, Royalty Liaison, Site Liaison, Gate Coordinator, worked with the exchequer, worked with the MOAS to organize classes, done set up, clean up, site hunting, etc, as well as currently being the webminister. Rumhann generally takes the less titled jobs, being a marshal, transporting equipment, assisting and leading set up and clean up, people wrangling, and a heck of a lot of dishes (his first event was spent nearly entirely helping out in the kitchen – during Crown Tourney in AS XX), and currently BBM’s Captain of Archers.
Between the two of us, we have over 30 years managerial experience including Khazariyya running and owning her own business for the past 10 years. This experience helped us learn how to work with people in teams and as individuals to problem solve, come up with innovative ideas to thrive, and how to properly delegate to others to best accomplish our goals.
I, Grimolfr, as a manager, have had an abundance of experience training individuals. This has helped me in all the marshal activities that I oversee and teach in. I have been able to start with newcomers in Adult and Youth fencing, Adult and Youth Thrown Weapons, and have started my path to MiT as a Youth Combat marshal. I have been able to pass on the skills that I have learned efficiently.
Also as a manager, I have had to settle disputes among coworkers. I know that this can happen with any good group of individuals and I have the necessary tools and experience to handle the late night phone calls that may come from being Baron/Baroness.
Khazariyya, as an entrepreneur, has the experience of starting a business from just an idea. She has been able to take a dream, plan it, do the leg work, and bring it to successful fruition. She has always been very responsive to clients with their needs and concerns. This skill has been very helpful in the SCA when she was the co-autocrat at Hrim Schola, retaining for the Queen(s), and when volunteering with the Chatelines at events. If approached with questions or requests, it is in her nature to give immediate assistance. In an instance where she may not know the answers, she makes it a priority to find those who can help.
One of our greatest assets is our enthusiasm. We love to hear new ideas from the populace and find ways to bring them to life within Barony Beyond the Mountain. Even if we have had a set back, we always try to find a positive solution to move forward.
These are just a handful of skills that we do bring to the barony and hope to bring to the baronage.
We are listening and we do hear you.
What are your intentions for the long term of the barony? where do you see the barony going in the next 1yr, 3yr, 6yr?
For the first year, we see the Barony getting used to new people wearing the coronets. We intend to make that transition as smooth as possible by asking for advice from the respected members of the Barony, Peers and former Baronage.
For future years, we would like to see the Barony continue to grow and thrive. We would like to see new people joining, taking offices, bringing more new people and helping run events. We would like to see increased participation from people in other areas of the Barony that are too far to make it to regular meetings by rotating meetings to other areas or trying to figure out a way to include them by way of technology. Ultimately, we would like to see the Barony be in a good position to host a Kingdom level event without burning out the same people who are always there running things.
We would like to see the practices grow and become places people out of Barony talk about and want to come to.
We would like to continue the current demos that lots of members really enjoy doing. We would also like to see some demos that include more diverse activities including fighting, fencing, archery, and all the other great things this Barony has to offer.
We also want to know where the members of the Barony want it to go. For that, we are willing to listen to suggestions and be advocates in meetings for good ideas.
In the year following this election, we anticipate the changes that new leadership will bring – having a new baron & baroness always shifts group dynamics. BBM is such a diverse barony, we look forward to seeing and working with all corners of the state. All the candidates likely have different interests and/or emphases than Dorian and Eloise, and that will probably shift the most visible representatives of the barony. Nonetheless, we hope to represent the Barony Beyond the Mountain here, within the East, and the Known World. It will be a busy year, as we will hold three events in three months (and four in six next year), and we hope the barony avoids burnout of our membership by having people other than the usual suspects step up to run aspects of events.
In three years, we would like to see;
1) A more noticeable effort to work on our recruitment with a younger demographic. Many organizations lately are using online venues as their main recruitment focus. However, Societal recruitment is not just about social media and the new world – it is also about making connections in real time, in real places, which people then follow up with online. To this effect, we hope to be tracking and helping the chronicler publish the public lectures and colloquia from UConn, EConn, UHart, & CCSU on relevant subjects, and having a presence at as many as we can. We would also like to have public gatherings and practices at parks in garb, where people can see us and interact with us when it’s not necessarily a demo. We would like to raise our general visibility level – it will take careful management, but it can be done.
2) We would like to see more baronial events, and that seems to be happening! Yule and Maifest/Summer Solstice Shoot not seem to be enough for a barony of our weight and precedence. Artifacts of a Life adds leavening, but only biannually. However, with the additions of Hrim Schola and Golden Seamstress, we may be at both capacity and weight. Occasionally, when the schedules align, we would like to see BBM host kingdom events such as Crown, Coronation, and/or Royal Championships. But to maintain this, we need to step it up, both in finding event sites, and in people running things. So we also need:
3) An organized effort to engage our membership to train people in running events and aspects of events. There are a number of marshals in the barony, several of whom could run tournaments if they were asked and/or if someone walked them through it once. There are folks who can run gate, or a dayboard, or set up, or clean up, as long as they also are a) asked & b) have someone they can work with the first time. We believe that there is a responsibility to pass along our knowledge so that the group as a whole benefits, and to encourage those who may be shy, or who feel they can’t just jump in.
In six years, we will be ramping up to do this process again. Hopefully, it will be with a thriving, active barony, pulling its weight in the kingdom, and with the membership engaged and having fun. We hope there will again be several sets of people who step up to lead BBM and that they are persons of honor, integrity, and foresight to continue leading BBM as one of the foremost Baronies of the East.
In order to see where we are going, we must first have a plan on how to get there. In order to succeed we need to understand what the barony needs. To achieve that we must have growth and the happiness of the populace. The growth can be accomplished by assuring that the needs of the populace in all corners of BBM are heard and are met within the means of what the society can accomplish.
Some things that we have heard from different people from the populace are;
*Having meetings and events throughout the barony, and not just in the center
*Having more activities throughout the barony that meet the interests of the populace. (ie. monthly A&S workshops, martial practices, etc.)
*Using the potential of social media to advertise local events to the non-SCA populace to come and discover us.
*We would like to establish a Youth Order in the barony in a way that encourages our youth to try different things of the SCA and experience all the aspects of what the SCA has to offer. Whether it is A&S, Service, or Martial.
It closing, we would like the populace within the barony to feel more enthusiasm in playing with their barony which is there home and family.
We are listening and we do hear you.
We believe that the responsibilities of the baron/ess are to three categories:
The Barony- to the barony we would owe those items in Custom to the best of our ability: choosing baronial champions, recognizing members of the Barony for the work they do, review applications/Letters of Intent for officerships with the Seneschal, attendance at baronial meetings, workshops, and events. We would owe the Barony our discretion and best judgement over items that come to our attention, and thoughtfulness and courtesy to every person in the barony
The Crown- the baronage is the voice and representative of the Crown within the Barony. This trust is embodied in the fealty of the baronage to the Crown. They are owed best judgement in Curia, quiet words of advice outside of that, recommendations for kingdom awards for good work done by members of the populace, to bear the words of the Crown to the populace when necessary, and to represent the Crown with honor.
The Kingdom and Society- it is owed by the baronage to be responsible members of the society, to, if feasible, attend Crown, Coronation, Curia, and Investitures as witnesses of the workings of the kingdom, to work with House Runnymede on issues relevant to the whole kingdom, and to, if possible, attend Pennsic.