Congratulations on beginning the process to form a new branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism. We are pleased to hear of your interest and want to work with you to facilitate the formation process. The New Branch workbook will guide you through this process.
Please note that our society and kingdom laws and policies define the formation process. While this process can take some time the outcome is worth the effort!
A prospective branch who wishes to be recognized as a full status branch within the Kingdom of Atlantia must complete a three stage process including:
- Prospective Branch: Individuals like yourself gather and express interest in forming a branch. Your first step is to contact the New Branch Deputy for the Kingdom of Atlantia. The prospective branch will then begin working on the steps necessary to obtain Incipient Status under the guidance of the New Branch Deputy.
- Incipient Branch: Once a prospective branch has filed a petition for incipient status, the New Branch Deputy and Kingdom Seneschal review it. If all information is complete and correct, incipient status is awarded and you are listed in the Acorn as an Incipient branch. This begins the process of growth and development prior to a petition for full status. During this time, you will transition to working more closely with your state regional deputy along with the New Branch Deputy as a resource to complete the required steps to seek full status.
- Full Status Branch: After the required period of incipiency, if your branch has sufficiently completed all necessary steps outlined, you may petition for recognition as an official branch or full status. This petition will be reviewed by several individuals, and requires approval of the Kingdom Seneschal. After review of the petition by all necessary parties a recommendation will be made to the Crown of Atlantia as to whether the incipient branch should be granted full status. Full status is official after it has been announced and approved by the SCA Board of Directors.
As you can see, the process is long but is broken into stages to encourage development of healthy branches.
The Regional Seneschals will be available to help you throughout the process to make sure you are on the right track. Feel free to ask questions, or request feedback on your paperwork throughout the process.
In the end, the process succeeds or fails in your documentation of your branch’s formation process. Together, we will put all the different paperwork into a package and submit it for processing. Please start now by keeping a notebook or folder with all the information that you receive, and copies of everything you send out.
[expand title=”1. Get Access to the information you need to know”]
- Keep a folder, file, or notebook for easy access to all “New Branch” information and correspondence.
- Review SCA and Kingdom laws and policies, particularly the sections related to new branch formation PRIOR to beginning the process (available on-line). These laws and policies dictate the process by which a branch becomes incipient and then obtains full status. It is recommended that these sections be printed and kept in your notebook.
[expand title=”2. Determine if you are eligible to form a new branch”]
- Look at the geographic area: what are the desired borders? This must be a single, contiguous area grouped by zip codes. Meaning that there can be no holes; all zip codes must touch each other. Create a map, so you can quickly show people the areas that you are discussing.
- Which other branches will be affected? Will you be requesting zip codes from another branch? Are you too close to another active branch? You will need the input/permission from the branches that you are adjacent to, or affect. This would be a good time to start speaking with them, if you have not already. You can check whether your zip codes are currently assigned to a branch by searching the online database at http://www.sinister.net/SCAZips.htm. Please note that with few exceptions no new branch will be approved within 50 miles or an hour’s driving time of an established branch.
- Do you have enough people to start a new branch? How many interested members do you have? Do you want to be a Canton, Barony, Port, Stronghold, College, Shire or Province (among others)? The required numbers for each type of branch can be found in the Society Organizational Handbook Section 3C but these are the minimum for sustaining membership. Will you be able to sustain that membership once your branch is established? A branch’s membership should not rely on one family or household. If that one group of people splits up or leaves, will you still have the members you need?Before activating a branch, we will require you to have more than the minimum so you will be able to make it through the formation and growth periods and weather any loss of participants without falling below the minimum standards. Work on membership development early in the process. Make sure you have contact information for your interested members, so you can get them paperwork when needed. If your active participants include a lot of non-members, encourage them to join now. Active non-members do not count towards your membership requirement.
- Who is your sponsoring branch? Contact the seneschal of your sponsoring branch to get the approval for their sponsorship. This may be your Barony, or in the case of a forming Shire, a neighboring Barony or Shire. Your sponsoring branch will assist you with developing activities and will hold your treasury funds until you reach active status.
[expand title=”3. Move from Prospective Branch to Incipient Branch”]
- Officers: The following officers are required for the formation of a new Canton, College, Port, or Stronghold: Seneschal, Exchequer, and one of the following: Knight Marshal, Minister of Arts and Sciences, or Herald. The following officers are required for the formation of a new Barony or Shire: Seneschal, Exchequer, Herald, and either a Knight Marshal or Minister of Arts and Sciences. Review the Kingdom webpage (http://atlantia.sca.org) to learn about each type of officer so interested parties can make the best match for themselves and your branch.
- Once you have chosen your incipient officers, write the corresponding Kingdom Officer (copying the corresponding local officer of your sponsoring branch) asking permission to have the interested individual become an officer of your incipient branch. Each Kingdom Officer will have different requirements for becoming an officer. Some will require a training program. The officers of your incipient branch are deputies of the sponsoring branch officers until the branch receives full status. As such, permission is also required from the sponsoring branch’s officers.Keep on file the written approval of the Kingdom Officers and sponsoring branch’s officers. You may also want to begin officer meetings and ask each officer to report on what they have learned about the duties of their office as they review their respective websites and policies.
- Create a list of the proposed officers and obtain proof of current SCA membership. The only acceptable proof of membership is a photocopy of the proposed officer’s current membership card OR the mailing label for the current issue of the Acorn. (Note: For Colleges, students must include a copy of their modern college’s ID card along with their SCA proof of membership.)
- Heraldry: An prospective branch must submit a name and a device to the College of Arms prior to requesting incipient status. Refer to the Herald’s website for information, guidelines, and forms on name and device submissions (http://herald.atlantia.sca.org/forms/). Take particular note of the “Guide to Successful Submissions.” Your sponsoring branch herald and/or the Golden Dolphin Herald can assist you in the creation of a branch name and device.You must show proof that the prospective branch supports the proposed heraldry with a petition signed by your members. The heraldry and branch name must be at the top of each page of the petition. (You will have other petitions along the way, so it is useful to clearly indicate what each petition is.) The petition form can be obtained from the Golden Dolphin Herald.Keep a copy of your heraldic submission form and petition for your notebook and send the original petition and submission to the Golden Dolphin Herald. The accompanying fees must be in the form of a check cut from the account of your sponsoring branch.NOTE: If you include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your heraldry and name submission, the Golden Dolphin Herald will send back proof of submission for your files.**To submit your new branch paperwork, the name/device does not need to be passed, but it must be submitted.
- Branch Borders/Zip codes: Create a list of the zip codes to be included in the new branch. Plot the zip codes on a map to prove there are no holes within the new branch. The map must also show neighboring branches by zip codes. This assists in determining the impact on neighboring branches.If any of the zip codes listed by the new branch are already being used by an existing branch (as is usually the case), a letter/email must be obtained from the existing branch’s seneschal giving explicit permission to use the zip codes in question (including the Kingdom Seneschal if Crown Lands were taken). The letter must LIST these zip codes.For a College, Stronghold, or Port you must explicitly state the name and address of the institution with which the branch is associated and include a map showing the location of the base (within governmental security regulations!!) or college in relation to other branches. A letter is required from a representative of the college or base with whom the branch will be associated stating their support of the branch.
- Confirmation of sponsorship: If not already obtained, a letter/email is required from the seneschal of the sponsoring branch stating the intention of the established branch to become the new branch’s sponsor.
- Support of members of new branch: A petition of the prospective branch’s members is required to show that they want to become an incipient branch. Any member within the branch’s zip codes who supports the formation of the new branch may sign this petition. Each page must have an identical header stating, “We support in its bid to become a full status of the Kingdom of Atlantia;” as well as a list of the zip codes the branch will encompass and the date. Each member who signs the petition must include their legal name, SCA name, postal address, SCA membership number and expiration date. Any members who do not reside in the zip codes or active non-members can write a letter of support to be included in the packet if they desire but may NOT sign the petition. Please use the Membership Support Petition provided below.DownloadMember Support Petitions — Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:01 20.5 KBMember Support PetitionsDownloadMember Support Petitions — Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:02 10.23 KBMember Support Petitions
- New Branch Application: Complete the New Branch Application form.DownloadNew Branch Application form — Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:05 37.5 KBNew Branch Application form
- Additional requirements for a Canton, College, Stronghold, or Port of a Barony:
- A letter/email from the Baron/Baroness stating support of the new branch.
- A letter/email from the Baronial Seneschal agreeing to the formation of the new branch within the borders of the Barony.
- A map of all Baronial territory with the area of the proposed new branch highlighted, so that it can be seen how the new branch’s borders will impact the borders of the Barony overall.
- Special notes for the formation of a Stronghold or Port: The designation of stronghold or port provides flexibility to branches where numbers may fluctuate or become dormant because of changes in military population or troop movement. It is limited to members directly affiliated with the military base, either stationed or working there, in a full time capacity. Those with loose affiliations, such as belonging to a club sponsored by the base are NOT considered to be “members” of the base. Members must submit copies of their SCA membership card AND military cards, provided of course, that this is not a breach of security. If providing this information is considered a breach of security, a letter stating the member’s affiliation with the base and signed by that member, is sufficient and acceptable as proof. Copies of civilian Base ID cards are acceptable for those civilians working at the base. As far as the dependents or children from the base, a letter from those with actual ID cards (e.g. parents of children) verifying the dependents, is acceptable.
- Special notes for the formation of a College: The designation of College provides flexibility to branches where numbers may fluctuate or become dormant because of seasonal changes in student population. It is limited to members directly affiliated with the college or university, either attending as a student or working there as an employee. Those with loose affiliations, such as belonging to a club sponsored by the school are NOT considered to be “members” of the school. Members must submit copies of their school ID AND their current SCA membership card. For dependents or children of members of the university, a letter from those with actual ID cards (e.g. parents of children) verifying the dependents, is acceptable.
- Submission of paperwork incipient status and approval process: All documents, forms, and letters completed and compiled from above must be sent to the Deputy Seneschal for New Branches (DSNB). Upon receipt, the DSNB will review the paperwork, contacting the branch’s representative (generally the proposed seneschal) if information is missing or clarification needed. The paperwork is then forwarded to the Kingdom Seneschal for review and approval. The Kingdom Seneschal then reviews the file with the Royalty of Atlantia. Upon Their approval, an appropriate event is chosen for the Royalty to announce the new branch’s Incipient Status during Royal Court. This process can take 2-3 months. The branch’s representative will be contacted with the anticipated date of announcement. Please use the Request Incipient Status Checklist below.DownloadRequest Incipient Status Checklist — Tuesday, 28 July 2015 11:59 21.5 KBRequest Incipient Status ChecklistDownloadRequest Incipient Status Checklist — Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:00 19.89 KBRequest Incipient Status Checklist
[expand title=”4. Maintain Incipient Status”]
- Officers and reporting: Officers of the Incipient branch should contact their Regional or Kingdom superiors early in the branch’s incipiency to understand the reporting requirements for their office. Regular, on-time reporting is a major requirement for receiving Full Status. If reports are missed, or appear only on an irregular basis, incipient status may be revoked. During the period of Incipiency, the seneschal MUST file Quarterly Reports on the status of the branch through the on-line reporting system through the Seneschal’s website. Reports are due March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1. Contact the respective Kingdom officers to determine if officer reports are required during incipient status. The exchequer will likely be required to submit reports as the time approaches for requesting full status. Exchequer reports are due January 31, April 30, July 31, and October 31.
- Event requirement: An incipient branch must hold one event under the sponsorship of an established branch, generally the sponsoring branch. All event reporting requirements must be submitted on-time.
- Maintain good standing for one year after receiving Incipient Status: This means that all reports for all officers are submitted on-time, required member numbers are maintained, etc. The branch should also be engaging in regular activities meeting the varied interests of its members. In addition to business meetings and demos or member recruitment activities, activities might include fighter practices, A&S activities, social gatherings, etc. The branch should maintain a list of these activities with dates and attendance numbers to show commitment and activity level of the members.
[expand title=”5. Request Full Branch Status”]
- Officers: Update the list of branch officers. Confirm that addresses haven’t changed and that memberships are valid. You will likely need to re-copy proofs of membership, if dates have changed. If you have any new officers or change of officers, follow procedures outlined in Section 3.A for officer approval.
- Heraldry: The branch’s name and heraldry must be approved by Society before the branch will receive full status. Proof of this consists of a letter from the Golden Dolphin Herald stating that the branch’s name and heraldry has passed through the College of Heralds and has been approved by the Laurel King/Queen of Arms.
- Branch Borders/Zip codes: Review the list and map of zip codes submitted with the Request for Incipient Status paperwork. If any zip codes have been added, changed, or deleted, the list and map must be updated. Even if no zip codes have changed, you will need new letters/emails from ALL affected branches (including the Kingdom Seneschal if Crown Lands are involved) indicating approval for movement of the zip codes to your branch. You will also need emails from neighboring branches indicating their support of your new branch.
- Re-confirming support of members of branch: A new petition of the branch’s members is required to show that they want to become a full status branch. Any member within the branch’s zip codes who supports the status change may sign this petition. Each member who signs the petition must include their legal name, SCA name, postal address, SCA membership number and expiration date. Any members who do not reside in the zip codes or active non-members can write a letter of support to be included in the packet if they desire but may NOT sign the petition. Please use the Membership Support Petition provided below.DownloadMember Support Petitions — Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:01 20.5 KBMember Support PetitionsDownloadMember Support Petitions — Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:02 10.23 KBMember Support Petitions
- Proof of activity: List and description of all OFFICIAL events which the branch held during its’ incipiency. Branches are required to have at least one official event during this time. Information on demos or new member recruitment should be included as well as other varied activities that occur within the branch: meetings, fighter practices, workshops, etc.
- New Branch Application: The New Branch Application form must be completed a second time, updating information as needed.DownloadNew Branch Application form — Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:05 37.5 KBNew Branch Application form
- Reconfirming proof of membership for a Stronghold or Port: Due to the membership fluctuations inherent to Strongholds or Ports, members must submit new copies of their SCA membership card AND military cards, following the guidelines of Section 3.H.
- Reconfirming proof of membership for a College: Due to the membership fluctuations inherent to a college or university, members must submit new copies of their school ID AND their current SCA membership card, following the guidelines of Section 3.I.
- Submission of paperwork and approval process: All documents, forms, and letters completed and compiled from above must be sent to the Deputy Seneschal for New Branches (DSNB). Please use the Request Full Status Checklist below. Upon receipt, the DSNB will review the paperwork, contacting the branch’s representative (generally the proposed seneschal) if information is missing or clarification needed. The paperwork is then forwarded to the Kingdom Seneschal for review and approval. The Kingdom Seneschal then reviews the file with the Royalty of Atlantia. Upon Their approval, the Seneschal will submit his/her recommendation, letters of support from the Royalty and Kingdom Officers, and the New Branch Paperwork to the Society Seneschal and Board of Directors. Since the Board meets on a quarterly basis, this may be a lengthy process.DownloadRequest Full Status Checklist — Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:00 20.5 KBRequest Full Status ChecklistDownloadRequest Full Status Checklist — Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:01 18.3 KBRequest Full Status Checklist
The final step comes with the announcement for elevation to full status during Royal Court. The elevation is NOT official until it is announced in Court. This announcement will be followed, as quickly as possible, by a notice in ACORN.
Patience is requested from the membership of the new branch at all points in the process! The packet being sent to the Board requires it to pass through many hands.
An incipient branch that holds meetings, demos, workshops and an occasional small event and files the appropriate reports in a timely manner will have a very good chance to be approved for full status with very few questions or problems. However, if an incipient branch does little to show organizational stability and fails to report regularly (even if they hold a large Kingdom level event) will be kept in Incipiency until they can prove worthy of Full Status. Please also be aware that Incipient status can be revoked.
[expand title=”Forms and Documents”]