SCA in the Time of COVID

A Review of 2020

As is the tradition of most humans, in January of 2020 I wrote out a list of goals for the year. I organized that list into four categories that were important to me at the time: personal, financial, health, and SCA. There was only one goal listed under the category of SCA: Take a break!

Pause for laughter.

Of course, I wrote that goal after the end of 2019 – the year in which I spent 75 of 365 days of the year either at an SCA event or travelling to/from an SCA event. Yes. Twenty percent of my year was spent outside of my home just attending SCA events… That’s not including the time spent at meetings and practices during the week. Or the time spent online during the day helping to coordinate a Royal Reign, or keep up with my duties as a Regional Officer, or organize my classes and volunteers as a member of Pennsic Staff. To call 2019 a busy year would be a bit of an understatement.

So yeah, I needed a break. And thanks to COVID-19, I certainly got one!

From the beginning of March through September of 2020, I didn’t do much. Events were cancelled and everyone in the SCA was struggling to adapt to a virtual environment. Fortunately, the Kingdom of Atlantia responded and evolved quickly. By the end of March, the Virtual Atlantia initiative had hit the ground running. Since then, there has been a plethora of online meetings, classes, events, and other gatherings available on a near daily basis.

Some members of the populace were able to jump into this new virtual SCA with both feet. Others needed a bit of time to adapt. I fell into the latter category since I was initially more preoccupied with a number of other changes that had taken place due to COVID. I transitioned to a full-time remote employee due to office closures and subsequently moved to a new area of Virginia (and a new local SCA group).

But by June I was getting back into the swing of SCA things, hosting a Regional Chatelains’ meeting for my local officers and attending the Summer session of the University of Atlantia. I was also getting ready to submit my letter of intent to serve as Kingdom Chatelain – a goal that I had been working toward for three years.

Happily, my letter of intent was accepted and I stepped up as a Kingdom Officer on September 19th. My break was over!

Testing out the camera prior to taking my virtual oath of fealty to the Crown as a Kingdom Officer.

Since September I’ve been finding my footing as a Great Officer of State (GOofS as they are called in the Atlantia) and as the Kingdom Chatelain. I meet with the other GOofS every two weeks, with my local Chatelains and Deputies once a month, and submit reports on a quarterly basis – all virtually, of course. I am fortunate to be able to work with an outstanding group of people who are all committed to keeping the populace engaged during this time when events cannot take place.

Goals for 2021

Now that I’m in my fourth month as Kingdom Chatelain and feeling more comfortable in this role, I’ve taken some time to write down my goals for the year of 2021.

I’ve decided to organize my goals in a similar way to how I organized my goals for 2019. Those goals were organized into three categories: For Myself, For Others, and New to Me. My goals for 2021 will be organized into three categories as well: For Me, For Others, and For Fun.

For Me

  • Update blog with posts about projects and events from 2019-2021
  • Commission scrolls for the three awards for which I did not receive scrolls
  • Complete five UFOs (unfinished objects)

For Others

  • Finish and gift Master Grimm’s Pelican cloak (write corresponding blog post)
  • Organize and support Pennsic Newcomer Activities as applicable (TBD due to COVID)
  • Continue with efforts as Kingdom Chatelain

For Fun

  • Attempt brewing again
  • Practice calligraphy – maybe even make a scroll!
  • Attempt silk banner painting again

When I organized my goals similarly in 2019, I was successful in completing everything in the category For Others. I was not so successful in the other categories. However, I think that due to the current hold on events through (at least) May 31, 2021, I will have more time to achieve the balance I am seeking.

A Review of 2019

On January 2nd – 322 days ago – I wrote a post outlining goals for the year of 2019. I opted to try a new goal setting format this year, breaking my goals down into three categories: things to do for myself, things to do for others, and new things to try – an activity to break me out of my comfort zone.

The year isn’t *quite* over, but since I won’t be attending any more garbed events until January I think now is a good time for a recap!

For Myself

❌Work to complete unfinished embroidery and sewing projects. Completing small tasks will give me a sense of achievement and motivate me to continue working on A&S projects.
✅Acknowledge that in the past, deadlines that were set to complete new garb were a source of stress. Plan future deadlines more carefully and/or commission or buy garb when possible in order to relieve that stress. Sometimes time is worth more than money.
❌Continue to update my blog with projects and event recaps.

For Others

✅Volunteer to help in the kitchen, serve, and/or wash dishes for any feast I attend.
✅Support my Peer, Her Highness Adelhait, & His Highness Christoph during their Reign as needed – retaining, donating largesse, etc.
✅Organize Pennsic Newcomers University Track & Newcomers Point

New to Me

❌ Make progress on learning to play a plucked/string instrument.
❌ Perform said instrument and/or sing at a bardic circle.
❌ Enter an A&S competition using a new skill. New skill still TBD.

In reflecting upon the goals that I was able to accomplish this year versus the goals that I was unable to accomplish, I can see that I fell victim to one of the classic blunders. While I didn’t get involved in a land war in Asia, I did underestimate the amount of time and effort that is required to support a Reign.

From the time that Duchess Adelhait and Duke Christoph stepped up as Their Royal Highnesses of Atlantia last November until the time they stepped down as King and Queen this past October, I attended 25 events. That list of events includes both Gulf Wars and Pennsic, which totaled three weeks of time. It’s also important to note that the majority of these events were not day trips, rather entire weekends – Friday through Sunday.

The effort required to attend this many events left me exhausted during the week. That exhaustion led me to spend my time resting and recovering, rather than working to complete embroidery projects or learning a new skill as I had intended at the start of this year.

It also does not escape my notice that while I was able to accomplish all of the goals assigned to the category of “For Others”, I was only able to accomplish one of the goals assigned to the categories for myself.

Despite that disparity between the categories, I learned a lot from this exercise. I gained a new perspective on the timing and effort of goals – “big” goals versus “small” goals – and I was able to recognize in myself the tendency to prioritize the needs of others over my own.

And so my goals for next year – 2020 – will focus on balance.

Stay tuned for a blog post in January with my goals for the next calendar year 🙂

Happy New Year!

Last week there was a post to the Kingdom of Atlantia Unofficial Discussion Group (Cheapside Tavern) on the Book of Faces. This post addressed setting goals within the SCA, breaking them down into the following categories: something we do for ourselves, something we do for others, and trying something new – something that will help us break out of our comfort zone.

I rather liked this idea. As I am a very goal oriented person, I decided to try setting my goals for 2019 using this format. I decided on three goals for each category. Here they are (in no particular order) with explanation as needed:

For Myself

  • Work to complete unfinished embroidery and sewing projects. Completing small tasks will give me a sense of achievement and motivate me to continue working on A&S projects.
  • Acknowledge that in the past, deadlines that were set to complete new garb were a source of stress. Plan future deadlines more carefully and/or commission or buy garb when possible in order to relieve that stress. Sometimes time is worth more than money.
  • Continue to update my blog with projects and event recaps.

For Others

  • Volunteer to help in the kitchen, serve, and/or wash dishes for any feast I attend.
  • Support my Peer, Her Highness Adelhait, & His Highness Christoph during their reign as needed – retaining, donating largesse, etc.
  • Organize Pennsic Newcomers University Track & Newcomers Point.

New to Me

  • Make progress on learning to play a plucked/string instrument.
  • Perform said instrument and/or sing at a bardic circle.
  • Enter an A&S competition using a new skill. New skill still TBD 🙂

In past years I have used the SMART criteria for goal-setting. While this method has been beneficial in other areas of my life, I found that setting hard deadlines for projects that were meant to be fun rarely worked well. Most of the goals I am setting this year are more broad and less time-related. I’m interested to see how well this format works!