Special Information for Parents and Children
So you have a child and you want to play in the SCA. Or maybe your
teenage son or daughter has expressed an interest in joining the SCA. As a parent, you probably
have some questions, and hopefully we can provide some answers.
First of all, realize that you are not alone. There are lots of parents just like you, and there
have been ever since the SCA started over 35 years ago. Some parents play actively in the SCA with
their children. Others do not. There are even adults playing in the SCA today who have been playing
since birth, essentially growing up in the SCA.
You may be reading this as a young adult, wanting to play in the SCA. We recommend that you print
out this page, and give it to your parents when you talk to them about the SCA. It will help inform
them about the SCA and what it means for you and for them if you participate.
The SCA and Your Family
The SCA is first and foremost an educational organization devoted to the study and re-creation of
medieval life. People in the SCA recreate period arts, wear period clothes, and participate in
tournaments and melees designed to mimic the feel of period combat. There are kings and queens and
other nobles, and they hold court and give awards to the populace to reward excellence in fighting
activities, service and arts and sciences. At events, there are a variety of activities and plenty
of wonderful things to see and do. The SCA can be a fascinating, fun and educational experience for
everyone in the family.
People who play in the SCA come from all walks of life. Among our members you will find teachers,
lawyers, librarians, students, computer technicians, cooks, flight attendants, business mangers,
military personnel, and government workers. All of us share a passion for history and its
re-creation. Most of us have interests outside the SCA as well.
In the SCA, honor, courtesy, chivalry and hospitality are not just idle words. They are ideals that
we use to guide ourselves. It is not unusual to see a respected Peer of the realm offer to help
unload a newcomers' gear from his car. Combatants on the list field rely on the honor of their
opponents in acknowledging whether they have been hit. When a hall needs to be rearranged for a
feast in 10 minutes, a few quick words and the room is buzzing with activity, and every person is
moving tables and chairs in earnest. Though none of us is perfect, all of us try, and it makes the
SCA a better place.
Many events will host activities for younger children. Frequently there are "Children's
Corners" that host coloring, crafts, and games for younger children ranging in age from 4-12
years old. The Midrealm Page
School offers activities that educate kids 8-12 about the Kingdom and about period arts and
There are also youth combat leagues for Children 6 and up. A Youth Marshal can answer many
questions you may have about what activities are available for kids at local events.
Anyone attending an SCA event must either have a waiver releasing the SCA from legal liability for
injury on file with SCA's membership office, or sign a waiver on site. Because children under the
age of 18 are unable to sign a legal waiver on their own behalf, a parent must sign a waiver on
behalf of the child. The SCA minor waiver form is
available for download here. In order to attend an SCA event, a minor must present this form at
the gate where the entrance fee is paid.
Children under the age of 16 are not permitted to be on site without a responsible adult, preferably
a parent, accompanying them. If the adult in question is not the child's parent or legal guardian,
the adult must be provided with legal documents sufficient to permit him or her to make medical
decisions for the child in the event of an emergency. The type of documents necessary will vary from
state to state, and you should check with local authorities well in advance of the event to be sure
you have time to acquire the right documentation.
If your child wishes to participate in combat activities, whether heavy weapons or rapier, there is
still more paperwork and requirements. Keep in mind that 16 is the minimum age to fight heavy weapons
or are permitted to participate in rapier activities. The additional requirements for youth combat
include additional waivers, medical authorizations, and in some instances, personal supervision by
the parent. Contact a Youth Marshal for info on heavy weapons combat and a Youth Rapier Marshal for
info on rapier if your teen is interested in competing in medieval combat.
Informed Parenting in the SCA
Though the SCA has many activities to interest and inspire young people in every age group, none of
the activities offered are a substitute for you, the interested and involved parent. The SCA looks to
a child's parents to be ultimately responsible for the behavior, health and well-being of their
child while he or she is at an event. We want to help you by giving you an idea of some of the issues
you may face as a parent with a child in the SCA.
We encourage you to ask questions about any of your concerns before you attend your first event, or
at any time thereafter. Our Canton Seneschal (i.e. President of
the local group) is always available to address your concerns. As the administrative head of the
Canton, the Seneschal is the best person to discuss SCA policy and rules, and how they apply to most
situations. Our Seneschal can also connect you to other SCA parents who can provide good advice from
a parent's perspective, and help you understand the realities of having kids in the SCA.
It is important to remember that most activities in the SCA were designed with adults in mind. Though
children are encouraged to participate when they can, supervision is often necessary. We encourage
parents to be aware of what activities their child is participating in while they are on site, and
to be available to supervise them as needed.
Typically on the battlefield, you will hear a marshall yell, "HOLD!" This is a signal for
everyone on the battlefield to stop what they are doing, because someone is about to get hurt. We
find that shouting "HOLD!" can be a useful tool off the battlefield to prevent accidents
or control an unsafe situation. (Many of us have taken to yelling "HOLD!" at our children
even in the backyard at home!) Make sure your children understand that when someone shouts
"HOLD!" they are to immediately stop whatever they are doing, look around, and follow any
instructions from the adults, because they (or someone else) are probably about to get hurt.
Many of the sites we use are parks and campgrounds, and a good deal of the activities at an SCA
event will take place outdoors. All of the typical concerns you might have about your child playing
outdoors (ticks, mosquitoes, scrapes and cuts, etc) will probably be of concern at an SCA event.
Because medieval clothing is often multi-layered and involves long sleeves, assuring that you are
comfortable and well-hydrated, particularly in the summertime, is important. Make sure your child
is drinking lots of water during the day. Sunscreen is also recommended for exposed areas, and if
your child has allergies, make sure you have brought enough medication. Most events have certified
first-aid specialists on site, called Chirurgeons, who can help you if you need emergency medical
attention. You will probably have to go off-site if your child requires medical attention from a
doctor. A child must be accompanied by a parent or an adult empowered to make medical decisions for
the child when they visit the Chirurgeon.
The SCA tries to foster an environment of honor, chivalry and courtesy that often makes an event a
much more secure and controlled environment than one would usually find in a modern setting. However,
we encourage parents to know their child's whereabouts and who their companions are, just as they
would at home. This becomes particularly important at overnight camping events. Younger children
should not wander the site unaccompanied at night, and we encourage parents to set curfews and other
restrictions as necessary on older children.
Be aware that when an event flyer says a site is "wet," it means that alcoholic beverages
are permitted on site. The SCA prohibits the breaking of any state or federal laws, and therefore
prohibits the serving of alcoholic beverages to those not of legal drinking age. However, as you
are well aware, there is no better protection for your child than your active involvement and
supervision. We encourage parents to accompany their child to activities where alcohol may be
Still have questions?
Contact the Three Walls Chatelaine
Back to the Chatelaine's Page
Getting Started in the SCA |
Newcomer FAQ |
Special Information for Parents with Kids