[SCA-AE] NMS--wider consideration
saganth at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 23 11:38:18 EST 2010
--- On Tue, 2/23/10, Troy Headland <battalion73 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> If they are truly interested in the SCA they will simply do
> what the majority of us have done and drop the $35 become a
> member and save themselves the surcharge and the need to
> fill out a waiver at each event they attend.
I would like to raise a certain point I don't think has been mentioned yet. Membership, as pointed out by Gabriel, currently costs $35.00. But I think the statement "if they are truly interested they'll pay that fee" is missing something.
I've been involved with the SCA since 2002, most of that time a "non-member." I lived on Long Island where maybe 2 or 3 events got held a year at best. I hadn't found a niche for myself yet. And life on Long Island is expensive, so that traveling off the island to go to events elsewhere was a major financial investment and a big pain in the tuchus just having to take all the time to get through or past NYC. So I had no incentive to pay a membership fee when I could just pay the non-membership fee and save myself some money. It wasn't until I moved to AEthelmearc and got more involved finally that I said "Ok, yeah, it's time to pay that $35 fee."
I'm not alone in the situation I've just described. I have met a great many SCAdians over the years who only make it to a handful of events per year, or even fewer than that, nor do they get to any meetings or practices. Sometimes it is due to health issues, sometimes due to work or family obligations that impact availability of money and/or time. Sometimes simple poverty is the cause. There are various other possible reasons. And for people who can't get to a lot of SCA-related activities, or who are brand spankin' new and don't know yet exactly where they feel they might want to be more deeply involved, a $35.00 membership fee may not seem worth it. Yes, if you attend enough events over the course of the year, the membership probably pays for itself... but not everyone can do that. Not even paid-members can make it to every event around them! So we have a lot of SCAdians who want to participate, who can make it to a few events at best, and they have to
pay an extra few dollars. It may be a bit annoying, but it might also be not such a bad deal either.
Membership hath its privileges, if you'll pardon the paraphrasing. It's not merely that if you go to enough events the $35 fee will balance out all those non-member fees you would have otherwise paid. But paid members are also the ones who are allowed to hold offices and vote on local group policies. A paid membership is what allows for an even greater depth of participation for those who *do* have the time/money/availability.
So, and this is just a guess mind you, you have the BOD saying something like "Okay, we've got to make sure we bring in enough revenue to keep the Society going, and lots of people participating at events don't pay for 'official' membership, so we need a small extra charge added to event fees to make up for it."
So really it's all a matter of perspective. Yes, prices do go up, as a sad fact of our modern life, and "extra" charges are annoying in most if not all contexts, but sometimes certain charges might actually be necessary. $3 (or $5 come July, if I've heard and read correctly) is not a lot per person, unless you've got a whole family who are non-members. That there could possibly be an issue...
Lastly, is the statement "newcomers will pay the fee if they're interested" a gross assumption or generalization? Like if someone isn't a member, they're not really "interested?" Seems a risky thing for anyone to say, even casually. There was a time when each and every one of us was new to the SCA. How welcome would any of us feel if someone said that to us and we had good reasons for not paying $35? And how do we possibly make newcomwers in the here and now feel if we adopt such a (seemingly) exclusionary posture?
Just my two cents... or is it now five?
Lord Rubyn MakDonald
Barony of Rhydderich Ha
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