Curtesy of Duchess Marieke

Freehold Moot Notes, July 11 and July 16, 2017

We held two moots, one on a weekday evening at Groenfells Meadery in Colchester, and one on a Sunday afternoon at Jud and Keara’s estate in Middlebury. The topics covered were quite similar at each, but the choice of venue allowed more people to attend. We had about 30 people at each moot, with some overlap in attendance. Notes include comments from both moots. These notes aren’t chronological; I’ve assembled them into topics for ease of reading.

Expansion of the Shire

We reviewed recent demos held, including the two-day Rennfaire at Stowe, which was very successful in terms of finding people who have been looking for us. Another (smaller) demo is coming up at the Fairfax Mini-Rennfaire on July 29, and also the Medieval Bake Sale at the North Hero Farmers Market on Aug. 26. Possible future demos include the UVM Student Activities Fair (Sept 6), at Champlain College (in conjunction with Dagorhir), and at the Old North End Ramble. There are some libraries and schools that want us to do demos, too, including a library in Rutland, which might be good for exposure in the southern end of our shire. Another opportunity would be a Vergennes gaming convention.
Aurelia has created a form to use for demo proposals. It’s still under development. If you haven’t seen it on the email list or Facebook , Aurelia can send you the link.
Another way to expand the shire’s boundaries is to get more involved in Kingdom Guilds. It would be fun to have representatives from each Guild in our Shire. How about the Assassin’s Guild? Also, group projects such as banner making, brewing days, and garbmaking could be popular and worthwhile.
We also discussed the updating of our business cards and handouts to reflect our new web address. We also briefly thought about putting together a “demo kit” with display items.
We discussed having a lending library of books, but it was pointed out that they have gone missing in the past. Perhaps instead we could create a list of personal books that people are willing to loan out. This led to the idea of making a list of people who are willing to teach or share skills.
We won’t be able to use the Underhill ID school until September. Meanwhile, when the weather permits, we’ll hold Sunday practice at Mills Riverside Park.

Money

Our treasury has $3,400. We can spend some of that on things we need and want, to improve our SCA experience.
Jana mentioned that there are Vermont Community Foundation Development Grants available for some of the things we do – we could get up to $1000 if we come up with a suitable proposal (one that helps “build communities”).
At the second moot we voted to spend up to $450 for archery supplies (we voted $300 at the first moot, but additional expenses came up). This includes 3 target backers, which are expensive. They can possibly be handmade; David will explore this. It also includes arrow jigs and some basic supplies for loaner arrows. Elke offered her arrow jig if it’s needed, and she also has a spline tester.
At the first and second moots we voted to spend up to $100 on feast/dayboard infrastructure, including drink dispensers and large trays.
Fencers and heavy-listers have what they need for the time being. If Talen succeeds in becoming a Thrown Weapons marshal, we may need some basic equipment for that.
Some ideas for fundraising: Tearlach offered an auction at an upcoming event, and it was noted that auctions can include services as well as items. Thomas suggested “Iron in the Hat” auction of individual items, buying raffle tickets for a chance to win them. Bake sales can also be lucrative.
We discussed the need for a shire inventory – all sorts of shire stuff is squirrelled away in various attics, garages and basements. Talen volunteered to be our Quartermaster (a deputy to the Seneschal) and tabulate our holdings. We learned that Ghislaine has some boxes with Gold Key garb.
We voted to increase the informal spending limit from $50 to $150. These are for minor expenses that the Financial Committee feels are noncontroversial and OK to approve without consulting the whole shire.

Events

It would be great if we could have at least four events a year.
Events that are currently in the works: Birthday Bash (site and date still not firm, probably Oct 15 or 22, possibly at the Old Lantern in Charlotte). Yule will be done by Panther Vale this year. Ulf and Kelda are talking about resurrecting the rowdy Speckled Trout in Moretown, an early spring event. Another Mimir’s Well is also envisioned. Fool’s feast, maybe? And it’s always possible to propose/invent a new event.
Our Shire Champions in Heavy List and Fencing will be chosen at Birthday Bash. Eleanor is planning to select an A&S Champion there, as well.
A non-event coming up soon is the Pity Party in Eden, Aug 11-13. Camping is possible. Many classes and activities are planned. Food is pot-luck.
Panther Vale needs our help with Lost Tip, now to be called Lord Robert’s Lost Tip, Sept. 9 or 16. Eleanor will autocrat and David will marshal the archery. It will still be a PV event (run through their treasury, on their land) but our assistance is appreciated. The site is not yet firmed up.
It would be helpful to have a few more licensed bartenders in the shire. This would help us persuade some sites to allow us to enjoy beverages there. The shire can’t pay for such classes, but we could pass a hat for that purpose.
Thomas knows of a site in Vergennes, a Masonic hall, that has a field, plenty of parking, and a small kitchen.
We discussed – at great length – using an event bid/proposal form. Aurelia has created a draft, and she can send you a copy if you want to see it. (Links to it have been posted on Facebook and the email list) Using the form has several advantages: it allows/encourages new people to put in bids; it reduces last-minute scrambling, and it asks for information that the prospective autocrats should have already gathered. There were some objections, especially at the second moot. Ultimately we decided to table this idea for now.

Officers and Deputies

Term of Office and Confirmation Votes– We didn’t do any actual electing at these moots. We discussed terms of office. The Kingdom requires the seneschal to step down after two two-year terms. Other offices are not regulated in this way. Still, turnover is a good thing, and gives other people a chance to hold offices and gain that experience. We discussed the idea that confirmation votes every two years would be beneficial and offer “challengers” a chance to get into the office. It would also be a good idea to split up the officers into two sets, and have them staggered, so that not all of the confirmation votes happened at the same time. Of course officers may choose to step down on their own timeline.
Deputies – some offices require them, and for others it’s just a good idea. Deputies can come in three flavors: 1) “drop-dead” deputies, especially for Seneschal and Exchequer, who are willing and able to take over on very short notice to keep the shire alive and functioning. 2) deputies in training, who might eventually take over the office (if the shire votes them in) and 3) deputies for special projects, or for a specific delegated set of tasks. If you want to be somebody’s deputy, just ask!
Autocrats are temporary shire officers too. We discussed the benefits of having “mentors” for first-time autocrats or cooks.

– Editorial Comment in Conclusion…. And that, my friends, is the distillation of more than four hours of civil, productive conversation. Thanks to everybody who participated by sharing ideas and insights. While I’ve still got your eyes (do I?), I want to acknowledge how far this shire has come in the past year. Heartfelt gratitude to the new ones, who push our boundaries and make us grow; and to the old ones, who are doing their best to adapt with good grace. Change can be hard, and it doesn’t happen all at once, but we’re making great advances. Onward and Upward!
Marieke

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