Thoughts on Households (unofficial groups) in the SCA

What is a household?

A group of like-minded individuals in the Society who have decided to name themselves as a group. This can take the form of a camp, guild, fighting or fencing unit, and more. At times these households are based on historical models, but many are simply a group of people that share similar interests or goals. They exist in no official capacity within the SCA but that is not to suggest they can’t or don’t have a significant impact. For simplicity’s sake, I consider all non-official groups as “households”.

What is its function?

A household can accomplish a surprising variety of things by filling roles such as:

  • Socializing
  • Training together in a given art or multiple arts: fighting, sewing, brewing, etc.
  • Making stuff.
  • Offering someone a sense of belonging or a feeling of “my people”.
  • Mutual internal support for the growth of their members.
  • Providing physical labor for local events to ease the burden of the staff, to staff an event from their own ranks, or offer general help to the crown and populace.
  • To promote a certain lifestyle.

Why join a household?

You may find yourself intrigued, interested, or asked to participate as a member of a household. It is entirely your decision how involved you wish to be. While each individual’s experience is personal, there are some common reasons why one would want to be in a household.

  • You get to hang out with your friends.
  • You want to do more things in the SCA that you enjoy.
  • An ease of access to resources relevant to your interests in the Society.
  • Matching outfits.
  • Guidance

Why not join a household?

  • If you are brand new to the SCA. Look around. See how things work. Then dig in deeper.
  • If they “lock” you in or discourage activity in other groups or households.
  • If you are uncomfortable with the responsibility that comes with being part of such a group. Your actions will be a representation of your group.
  • Don’t join just because you want to “be somebody”. You aren’t a nobody if you aren’t in a household.
  • If you think of it as a fast track or short cut to a peerage. Being in a household may, in fact, help you get recognized. But it should be your own merits that distinguish you.

Should you create your own household?

While that is entirely up to you, ask yourself some questions:

  • What are your reasons for wanting a household? If there are other, easier ways of attaining those goals, then there is no need.
  • Is there a household you could join that already accomplishes what you desire?
  • Is this important enough to validate forming a group?
  • Are its goals fun or worthy?

Alternatives to households.

Participate in your local group be it Shire, Barony, or Region. Socialize, learn, and teach at weekly or monthly practices. Find personal growth on your own and seek your own path through self-reflection and self-evaluation. Keep in mind these things can be done in addition to being a member of a household.

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