The backing of the shire makes anything possible. When the shire agrees to back your endeavor, execute it fully and faithfully. Good ideas are only that unless you demonstrate the will and energy to bring the idea to fruition. We are fortunate to have a shire that has a strong follow-through on its plans.
A strong financial footing is imperative when you are trying to build a new event from the ground up. It would have been very easy for this event to lose money if turnout was especially low. But the shire coffers were sufficiently strong to absorb a loss if things went completely sideways, a fact which the shire officers repeated when I first proposed the event last fall. I built my budget around 50 people. I also wanted to keep the gate price low to encourage people to attend which further restricted my margins. I lucked into lower than expected costs from a very favorable site rental to a lower than projected dayboard spread and exceedingly low printing costs. While still cognizant of the need to budget wisely, I knew that I did not need to sacrifice anything to conduct the event I had envisioned.
Nine o’clock in the morning is not a great start time when you live more than hour off site and a late season snowstorm is pushing through the region. The right volunteers will cope with your bad decision making and travel in early to make it work.
Once you have committed to printing maps, schedules and site booklets something is going to go wrong. You just need to communicate with your volunteers and try to keep things rolling as best you can. As long as you can be flexible, things have a way of ironing out in the end.
A site that is both adequate to the needs of the event and located in a publicly visible space is an amazing tool to introduce what we do to people who may not know who we are. We were located along the main street of a small, rural Vermont town. We had curious individuals and families swing by to check out what we were doing. Some just visited and others stayed.
Having handouts for other local events available to distribute is another great recruitment tool. Missed today’s event because you only just saw it this afternoon? No problem. We’ve got something going on a couple of highway exits south in a month’s time. Join us there!
A reliable and capable deputy event steward is worth their weight in gold. My deputy handled all of the schedule building. He even went so far as to scout out the site himself, took copious photos and notes of the site’s features, and used that to build and arrange the class schedule.
The assistance of the shire webminister and our social media officer ensured that our event was advertised far and wide to the neighboring branches. As a result we drew students and instructors from not only Vermont but Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Quebec. I had only to make a request for some new feature or posting and *boom* there it was on the shire website and in all of the appropriate social media forums.
Volunteers are the backbone of any SCA event. I was very fortunate to find individuals willing to cover the key positions I needed filled from instructors to dayboard service and gate. The ability to rely on others to fulfill their tasks with only support from the event steward is huge. I did what I could to provide facilities and supplies (where needed) confident that with these tools they could help build a great event.