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Welcome to the LOOP! Here in the Far West, many of our officers leave the region with little advance notice, so training new officers to replace them can be a daunting task, particularly with a small pool of candidates to choose from. Many times local officers here find themselves doubling up on positions, taking on two locals posts, or one local and one baronial office, and training for an unfamiliar role - especially when your predecessor is already gone - can be more than challenging. It can be downright frustrating! That's why we need a concise orientation tool to get new officers into the loop! Please bear in mind also that many of our local officers are also new to the SCA and may still be somewhat unfamiliar with our organizational structure even when stepping up into a local office.

Objectives

The objective of the LOOP is to train branch officers in SCA policies and West Kingdom laws pertaining to their office, facilitate competency in the regular duties of their office, teach the requirements of monthly, quarterly and annual reporting, and point to resources for further information or instructions when things do not go according to plan.

These objectives may in themselves be universal among branch officers' training courses, but each course must be tailored to the office, as the answers to each question are different for each office. Competency exams may later be developed to allow new branch officers to demonstrate competency for review by the local Seneschal and the Baronial superior officer. Under ideal circumstances, each officer will be able to train a deputy in each of these competencies before they leave office, making the exams virtually obsolete. Under the realities of working within a stronghold, however, such training times are not always possible and many officers must learn the office as they go along. In such cases, these courses should give the new officer a head start on learning what it takes to run their office. Even under favorable conditions, these courses may be used as a curriculum for officers to train their deputies and gauge their readiness to assume the office.

Courses

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Chatelaine
  • Chirurgeon
  • Chronicler
  • Constable
  • Consul
  • Exchequer
  • Herald
  • Marshal
  • Seneschal
  • Web Minister

Arts & Sciences

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Chatelaine

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Alternative Titles

Chatelain (masculine), Chatelaine (feminine), Hospitaller (neuter)

Duties of the Office

The Chatelaine is a deputy to the Seneschal who welcomes newcomers into the group and helps them get oriented to the SCA, introduces them to the various local and regional officers, and helps them get started on their journey in the SCA. The Chatelaine may run a Gold Key for loaner garb, armor, and feast gear for newcomers to borrow, or may appoint a Gold Key deputy to serve this duty. The Chatelaine should have a working knowledge of all local offices and of local and SCA customs. In the Far West, local Chatelaines may be working side-by-side with a Consul, who is there to orient non-English-speaking newcomers. The local Chatelaine makes monthly reports at Populace meetings and makes quarterly and annual reports in writing to the Baronial Chatelaine, who in turn makes quarterly and annual reports to the Kingdom Chatelaine. Quarterly reports are due the first of March, June, September and December, and annual reports are due by the end of December.

Further Reading

West Kingdom Law (Article III, Section 4)

Specific Competencies

The Chatelaine should be the initial point of contact for newcomers to the local group. The Chatelaine should be able to exchange contact information with new contacts, provide flyers or pamphlets briefly introducing the SCA to new contacts, direct newcomers to other officers as needed, help new members find a suitable role to fit into the group, and help newcomers find their way around. It might be a good idea for the local Chatelaine to carry business cards introducing themselves and the group, as well as a few flyers or pamphlets. These may be bilingual, or non-English materials may be developed as necessary. Be sure to put non-English-speaking newcomers directly in touch with the Consul – immediately if at all possible – do NOT just give them the Consul's phone number or e-mail address. Be familiar with other officers and what roles they play, put newcomers in touch with them as needed, and always be sure to follow up with the newcomer and make sure their questions are answered. Know whom to report to and make sure you submit your reports on time.

Reporting

The local Chatelaine should make a monthly report to the local populace at each Populace meeting, as well as quarterly and annual reports made in writing to the Baronial Chatelaine, who in turn makes quarterly and annual reports to the Kingdom Chatelaine. The quarterly and annual reports should include the office held (local/baronial/etc), legal name, SCA name, mailing address, other contact info., as well as status reports such as how many newcomers have joined the group in the past quarter/year, what events or projects have contributed to the Gold Key, and the status and condition of any property of the Gold Key. The Seneschal may also ask to receive a copy of your reports.

When Things Go Wrong

Things can get frustrating for anyone in any position in the SCA, even for a local Chatelaine. People are volunteering their spare time to run other offices when they can get around to it, which sometimes leaves new members in the lurch for an uncomfortably long period of time. People borrow things from the Gold Key with every intention of fixing them up and returning them in even better condition, but sometimes things get lost, and in the Far West, sometimes people move out of the area with very little notice. When things go missing, notify the local Seneschal and the Baronial Chatelaine and be sure to include it in your quarterly report. If things are going terribly wrong and you see a new member feeling excluded or expressing dissatisfaction with the group, talk to that member one-on-one and listen to their complaints without judgment. Take their complaints to others as necessary and advocate on their behalf, and be sure to include the Seneschal. If you ever need help executing the duties of your office, ask the Baronial Chatelaine for help. Your superior officers are there to help you when you need it, so if you ask the Baronial Chatelaine for help and no help comes, go to the Kingdom Chatelaine. Remember that the Seneschal's main task is to keep the local branch running smoothly, so you should always involve the Seneschal if you are having problems.

Contacts

Chirurgeon

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Chronicler

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Constable

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Duties of the Office

The Constable is a deputy to the Seneschal who is the chief safety officer of the group. The Constable is responsible for executing general waivers at events, accepting site fees and turning them over to the Exchequer, running a lost-and-found, promoting public safety at events and working with modern authorities when necessary. The local Constable makes monthly reports at Populace meetings and makes quarterly and annual reports in writing to the Seneschal.

Further Reading

West Kingdom Law (Article III, Sections 4 and 12); SCA Corporate Policy (Section IV: Waivers-General, and Section VI: Waivers-Procedures)

Specific Competencies

The Constable must be intimately familiar with SCA waiver policy and keep copies of waiver forms on hand at all events. The Constable must be present at all events or appoint a Constable-in-charge for any event at which he/she cannot be present. When a Constable-in-charge is appointed, the Constable shall be responsible for training them in waiver policy and public safety procedures before the event. The Constable (or Constable-in-charge) is charged with providing general waivers and ensuring that all members and participants have signed the appropriate waivers before entering the event site, as well as accepting site fees and turning them over to the Exchequer (this is commonly referred to as “running Troll”). The Constable should also know procedures for directing members and modern authorities in the event of an on-site emergency. Know who to call in the event of an emergency, and always report directly to the Seneschal as soon as possible. Know whom to report to and make sure you submit your reports on time. Quarterly reports are due the first of March, June, September and December, and annual reports are due by the end of December. Refer to the Kingdom Constable for further guidance in emergency preparedness and waiver policy.

Reporting

The Constable should make a monthly report to the local populace at each Populace meeting, as well as quarterly and annual reports made in writing to the Seneschal. The quarterly and annual reports should include the office held (local/baronial/etc), legal name, SCA name, mailing address, other contact info., as well as reports of the use of waivers at events and any missing waivers, emergencies or safety incidents during the quarter.

When Things Go Wrong

In the case of any emergency, including such situations as on-site injuries, fires, typhoons or criminal acts, you are the officer in charge of working with modern authorities and maintaining public safety. You should always have a back-up plan for any situation. Know when to involve modern authorities and how to get in touch with them at a moment's notice. Always involve the Seneschal in the event of an emergency. Remember also that the Seneschal's main task is to keep the local branch running smoothly, so you should always involve the Seneschal if you have conflicts with other members or are having any other problems.

Contacts

Consul

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Exchequer

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Herald

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Marshal

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Knights Marshal (Armored Combat)

Duties of the Office

The duties of the office of the warranted Knights Marshal for the Stronghold of Battle Rock are numerous and encompassing. The main purpose of the office of the Marshal is to promote SAFETY. The marshal is not necessarily responsible for “refereeing” the fighting, but is responsible for the safety of the fighters. The following duties are indicated as official duties as per the West Kingdom Armored Combat Manual: 1. Processes that will result from whatever your Kingdom requires you to do to become warranted as a Marshal in the Kingdom of the West. 2. Regular reports on the state of fighting in your branch. This normally includes monthly reports to the Branch Senechal and populace during monthly business meetings as well as Quarterly reports to the Baronial Marshal. 3. Any other reports that the Kingdom Earl marshal may require.

Here’s what you’ll also be doing

In addition to the above listed duties, you will also be responsible for the following: 1. Conducting armor inspections prior to beginning practices or local events. 2. Conducting waiver executions prior to practices and helping with execution during events. 3. Maintaining some form of spreadsheet or database of the local branch authorized fighters. 4. Depending on your level of warrant, you may also be conducting authorizations for new fighters, marshalling practices, and marshalling events.

Further reading

It is highly recommended that anyone interested in marshalling, read the following manuals multiple times: a. SCA Marshal’s Handbook b. SCA western Armored Combat Manual c. Combat Authorization procedures for Heavy Fighters

Reporting

The local Marshal should make a monthly report to the local populace at each Populace meeting, as well as quarterly and annual reports made in writing to the Baronial Marshal, who in turn makes quarterly and annual reports to the Kingdom Earl Marshal. The quarterly and annual reports should include the office held (local/baronial/etc), legal name, SCA name, mailing address, other contact info., as well as status reports such as how many fighters have attended practices, reports on heavy weapons fighting at local events, and how many new fighters have been training and/or trained. In addition to those duties you must also report what events or projects have contributed to the Marshal, and the status and condition of any property of the Marshal. The Seneschal may also ask to receive a copy of your reports.

Specific Competencies

The Marshal must be intimately familiar with SCA waiver policy and all of the Handbooks concerning fighting and Marshal activities. The Marshal must be present at all events or appoint a Alternate Marshal (Deputy) for any event at which he/she cannot be present. When a Marshal is appointed, the appointed Marshal shall be responsible for training them in waiver policy and public safety procedures before the event. The Marshal (or Marshal-in-charge) is charged with providing general waivers, armor inspections, safety briefs and ensuring that all members and participants have signed the appropriate waivers before entering into the list field, as well as checking fighter authorizations and membership cards. The Marshal should also know procedures for directing members and modern authorities in the event of an on-site emergency. Know who to call in the event of an emergency, and always report directly to the Seneschal as soon as possible. Know whom to report to and make sure you submit your reports on time. Quarterly reports are due the first of March, June, September and December, and annual reports are due by the end of December. Refer to the Baronial Marshal and the Kingdom Earl Marshal for further guidance in all things concerning heavy weapons activities.

When Things Go Wrong

In the case of any emergency, including such situations as weapons failures, armor failures, improper armor and weapons inspections and any injuries as a result of lack of attention to safety of fighters or spectators, you are the officer in charge of working with modern authorities and maintaining public safety. You should always have a back-up plan for any situation. Know when to involve modern authorities and how to get in touch with them at a moment's notice. Always involve the Seneschal in the event of an emergency. Remember also that the Seneschal's main task is to keep the local branch running smoothly, so you should always involve the Seneschal if you have conflicts with other members or are having any other problems. If conflicts arise between fighters, or there is a dispute, refer to the Senior Marshal present and as always utilize the Baronial Marshal and the Kingdom Earl Marshal to resolve conflicts.

Contacts

Rapier Marshal (Fencing)

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Seneschal

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Duties of the Office

The Seneschal (masculine; or Seneschale, feminine) is the president of the group and is the group's legal representative and central point of contact for the world outside. Only the Seneschal may enter legal contracts on behalf of the group. Other responsibilities of the Seneschal, in a group supported by a full compliment of officers, include presiding over Populace meetings, tracking and reporting on group membership, submitting event request (including Kingdom calendar requests and event copy for publication), collecting event waivers and turning them over to the Kingdom waiver secretary, assisting event autocrats and local officers, and coordinating with local officers to ensure their reports are made on time, as well as acting as a liaison between the local group and the Barony/Kingdom. As the Seneschal is also responsible for the health and welfare of the group, it is the Seneschal's responsibility to account for group members and report their status to the Baronial/Kingdom Seneschal in the event of a natural disaster or outbreak of Plague in their geographical region. The local Seneschal also makes regular quarterly and annual reports in writing to the Baronial Seneschal. The annual report is called a Domesday Report, after the first census, and it should cover changes to the group over the past year, including which members have left the group, which new members have joined, the postal codes of members, what events and activities the group has done, and any initiatives the Seneschal has undertaken, as well as an honest assessment of their results. In cases of groups with fewer officers, the responsibilities of vacant offices ultimately fall to the Seneschal. The Constable, if you have one, is your deputy and reports directly to you, as do the Chatelaine and Web Minister, while all other officers are local deputies of their Baronial/Kingdom counterparts and report up their own respective chains.

Here on Battle Rock, I (Wilhelm Meis) have added a few other responsibilities that I feel have been helpful in keeping the group motivated and on track. These include local honors, Letters of Appreciation, and the Seneschal's Weekly Bulletin. The local honors of the Flying Pig (instituted by Lady Pipa Follywolle in A.S. XLV) for Arts & Sciences and the Phoenix Flame (instituted by Lord Adam de Ansetl Leah in A.S. XLV) for armored combat are complimented by the letter of Seneschal's Appreciation (instituted by Lord Wilhelm Meis in A.S. XLVI) for service. This is a presentation quality letter that may be given to members of the Stronghold at any Populace meeting to recognize them for their dedication and service to the Stronghold. The Letter of Appreciation (not to be confused with the Seneschal's Appreciation) is a simple memo in recognition of the hours of volunteer service completed by a member within a given month. Countable hours include attending Populace meeting, teaching classes or conducting workshops, conducting fighter instruction or marshalling tournaments, doing heraldic consultations, autocratting or feastocratting events, participating in public demos, and other time spent in service to the Stronghold or to the SCA in general. The Seneschal tries to track these hours, but it is also incumbent upon each member to keep the Seneschal informed of their own activities. The idea behind the Letters of Appreciation is that it shows the volunteerism of the member as expressed through the SCA in an objective and quantifiable way, which can in turn be useful for active duty military members and at the least offers a fair system of recognition. The Seneschal's Weekly Bulletin is a memo posted to the Yahoo! Group each weekend to inform members of opportunities and deadlines for the week and the next week or two, and usually includes a simplified listing of all scheduled activities for the next 30 days. This should be a brief digest to help members stay informed with a minimal reading requirement. I have also developed a Populace meeting agenda, which I have updated each month and posted to the Yahoo! Group in the final week before each Populace meeting.

Further Reading

West Kingdom Law (Article III, Section 4); SCA Corporate Policy (Section IV: Waivers-General, and Section VI: Waivers-Procedures); Society Seneschal's Handbook

Specific Competencies

The Seneschal should be generally familiar with SCA policies and Kingdom laws, as well as Baronial customs and traditions, as they apply to the local group, its operations and its officers. Specifically, the Seneschal should be familiar with SCA financial and waiver policies and be ready to oversee and assist the Constable in the execution of waivers at events. The Seneschal should be present at all events and Populace meetings or appoint a deputy for any event at which he/she cannot be present. Know who to call in the event of an emergency or injury and always report to the Baronial/Kingdom Seneschal as soon as possible afterward.

Reporting

The Seneschal presides over the local Populace meetings and files quarterly and annual reports to the Baronial Seneschal. Quarterly reports are due to the Baronial Seneschal by the first of March, June, September and December, and annual reports are due by the end of March. These reports should include the office held (local/baronial/etc), legal name, SCA name, mailing address, other contact info., as well as reports of membership growth, events and activities in the local group, emergencies or safety incidents during the quarter/year. Also be sure to include a list of current members and their postal codes, as well as a list of members who have joined or left the group within the reporting period, and also include any initiatives you have undertaken as Seneschal, along with an honest assessment of their results (include the pros and the cons). The Seneschal is responsible for collecting event waivers and sign-in sheets and forwarding them to the Kingdom Waiver Secretary within 30 days after an event/meeting/demo, so it may be a good idea to set yourself a monthly deadline (such as the weekend after Populace, when you are updating the Seneschal's weekly bulletin and posting Populace notes). Here in the Far West, we are granted permission to e-mail scanned copies of the original waiver forms to the KWS, rather than mailing in the originals themselves. In this case, the originals should be kept on file by the local Seneschal. In the event of a natural disaster, act of war or terrorism, or major outbreak of disease within the group's geographic area, the local Seneschal should contact all group members to account for their safety and well-being, and report to the Baronial and Kingdom Seneschal as soon as possible.

When Things Go Wrong

The Seneschal's main task is to keep the local branch running smoothly, so you must mediate conflicts between members and assist officers or other members if they are having any other problems. If an officer is unable to perform the duties of their position, politely offer to assist that officer, or if necessary offer to help find their replacement. Replacing an officer should be done as a last resort and must be done as tactfully as possible. In the case of any emergency, including such situations as on-site injuries, fires, typhoons or criminal acts, the Constable (if on site) is the officer in charge of working with modern authorities and maintaining public safety, but as always, the Seneschal is ultimately responsible. You should always have a back-up plan for any situation. Know when to involve modern authorities and how to get in touch with them at a moment's notice. No matter what happens, you must always stay calm and be ready to take charge, as others will look to you when things go wrong.

Contacts

Web Minister

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