Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SEP in the SCA

The SCA is a volunteer based organization that was created back in 1966. As the SCA aged, it has evolved. There is nothing wrong with that, per say. New ideas come in, new laws, new research, new people. Everyone brings something new to the SCA. We all play a little differently.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a problem now a days with the SEP fields. For those who never read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (first off, for shame!), SEP stands for Somebody Else's Problem.

Curious what I mean by that? Let us take, for example, a simple event. They are looking for someone to cook feast. Well, that's SEP. I am here to have fun, not to work all day.

Looking for someone to run troll? SEP!

Looking for someone to decide on which site to use? SEP!

Looking for someone else to help clean up? SEP!

Looking for someone to run for a kingdom or even baronial position? SEP!

An organization that is based on a need for people to step up and volunteer for things certainly sets things up for this problem, unfortunately.

Let's do some math. 1966 was 56 years ago. That means for 56 years people have been volunteering to do things because, back in the beginning, they wanted to see this thrive. Some people got a thrill out of it. Some people slowly burned out. I would not fault a single person who has been in the SCA for such a long period of time for saying that this is now their hobby and they don't want to work so they can enjoy it. I know people who cook for almost every event. And those they don't cook for they are found helping in the kitchen. I don't think they have ever been outside of a kitchen at an event. I wouldn't fault people like that to say that they don't want to work for an event. There are people like that everywhere you look: Pennsic always at troll or on carts, the Barons and Baronesses, Kings and Queens who are always perpetually in meetings, the Chiurgeons, merchants, dance instructors, marshalls of various activities.. they are all over the place. People that give up their time to make sure other people have fun. People that give what they have to make events seem that much more tangible.

But, the question is, where is the limit? I wouldn't ask someone who is brand new in the society to volunteer time to an organization they barely know and aren't even certain how much they will enjoy it.

Unfortunately, it seems more and more people just don't want to take on the responsibility. I know in my own Shire we seem to have difficulty drumming up people who want to fill necessary roles to keep the Shire alive. We have a difficult time finding people who want to run feast. I am not saying it doesn't happen and can't happen, but sometimes it can be very difficult.

Is it because in this day and age people are too busy with their own lives that this hobby can really only be a hobby for them?  Do they worry about the commitment or responsibilities being so much that they can not manage that with everything else they juggle on a daily basis?

From reading a lot of my friends's recent going on's, this could be very highly possible. People without jobs. People suffering great losses. It is hard to want to throw yourself into something so daunting as planning an event when you can't even seem to plan where your next pay check will be coming from.

So, how do we drum up more interest? How do we get those people who all they want to do is be in the kitchen and they are honestly happy there and not in need of the rest of the event? How do we find people that want to volunteer, that want that kind of responsibility? Please throw out ideas. Any ideas are welcome and I would love to hear them.

Yes, the SCA is a volunteer based organization rife with SEP lately. I worry about the state of the future if things don't change. People of my generation (to help people with the figures, I am 30) should be offering new, inspirational ideas into the society. They should be jumping at the chance to have that responsibility, to make a change. I have only been in the society for five years, but now that I am feeling comfortable enough, I have been trying to jump in. I've been trying to make a difference. I've been volunteering, taking on responsibility, and the most important thing I know of:

I have been trying to be the change I want to see.