I posted this in response to a discussion in the SCA FB group, and I thought I’d share it here as well. The question asked what people were doing to recruit/retain younger members into the SCA. Honestly, the question made me wince, because I think new members of any age have a lot to offer, but I tried to answer as best I could:
As a long-time member and former chatelaine, I would advise listening carefully to any newcomer (of any age!). There’s a time for introducing all the SCAdianisms to new folk, but first, find out what they want from the group, what they are looking for, what they need help with. Some areas are going to have more resources than others (speaking as one who has lived in large baronies and also in a small rural contact group), but do the best you can. Make sure new people know that the SCA is a large umbrella organization, and that there are a variety of ways to participate AND THEY ARE EQUALLY VALID.
For those who are interested in parties, direct them towards others who like that. Some people (like me) really came for the history. I have always enjoyed the courts and ceremonies and courtesies. The SCA is a great place to learn new skills and make new friends (especially if you have to move around a lot), and that is a good thing to emphasize to new people as well. Some of the things we teach for free or low cost are hugely expensive if you try to take a workshop outside the SCA.
Also, check in on the newer people from time to time to see how things are going, and listen to their worries. Sometimes you can help them, sometimes you can’t, but at least they know their opinion matters.
Listening is the key here.