Myth: The SCA is a family friendly place. Free-range/feral children are okay.
Fact: By the letter of the law any minor (person under the legal age for the local area) is required to have a parent or guardian within direct sight and sound of the minor youth at all times.
“Parents or guardians of minors shall have ultimate responsibility for the welfare and behavior of their children at all times. It is the responsibility of the adult who brings a minor to an event to ensure that the minor is safe and not in danger. At events and activities in which youth participate in any way, participating minors must either have a parent or legal guardian present at the event/activity, or a temporary guardian present in possession of a properly executed “Medical Authorization Form for Minors.” This Medical Authorization Form must designate an adult present at the event or activity as able to authorize medical treatment in the case of emergency. “Present” is defined as the parent or guardian being in direct sight and sound of the minor youth. SCA youth activities are not babysitting services and parents are not allowed to simply drop off their children and leave the area of the activity to take part in other activities.” From: http://socsen.scaserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2018-Jan_Seneschals-Handbook.pdf
The rule here -could- be read to apply to only official Youth activities. It is kind of vague in the wording. Also the rule as written does not allow for the handing off of the child to another responsible adult. I do know that in 2019 a variant was made to the rule for Pennsic to allow for a child to be handed off to another responsible adult.
Tell us what you really feel: I personally find the “random pack of feral children” fairly infuriating. I get that the SCA and SCA events feel like a “safe space” and that it’s nice to be able to give your child free range.. BUT having a child (or pack of children) I don’t know wander into my camp and make themselves at home makes me nervous. I don’t know who’s feeding/watering them, I don’t know what they’re allergic to, I don’t know if they’ve been slathered in sunscreen, I DID NOT COME TO THIS EVENT TO BABYSIT YOUR CHILD!!
Beyond that.. What I view as some parent’s bad example leads to very awkward discussions with my child.
Erik (6-years-old): Can I go play with those children?
Me: Sure, but stay in sight.
Random feral child: We’re going to go explore the creek.
Erik: Can I go explore the creek?
Me: No. I do not want to go with you to explore the creek and you are not allowed to go without me.
Erik(plaintive whine): But they get to go.
So yes, I am that helicopter mom that will not allow my child to join the pack of feral children.
This was originally posted on my Facebook page on January 13, 2020.