The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) comes from humble beginnings. This historical reenactment society began in 1966, when a small group of friends hosted a gathering in Berkeley, CA. On the invitation, the hosts stated they were holding a tournament calling, “all knights to defend in single combat the title of ‘fairest’ for their ladies.”
After the first tourney was such a success, the friends decided they would host a second, larger gathering. This is when the title (Society for Creative Anachronism) was born.
Since recreating the Middle Ages in 20th-century Berkeley was an anachronism (something “out of time”), and because the goal was creativity, they came up with “The Society for Creative Anachronism”. It was a spur-of-the-moment invention; they had no idea that the name would stay with their group into the future. -SCA.org
The SCA has now grown to over 60,000 members. One member (Stefanie Severance, 32) opened up with me about why the organization means so much to her.
“I actually found my local group through random chance. I had been told that a fencing group was meeting in my area, and assumed it was collegiate fencing. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was the SCA practicing historical fencing.”
After joining the SCA at age 30, Stefanie began working hard to hone the craft. Attending a meeting every week was not enough. She also started traveling to 5 or 6 events a year.
“Combat drew me in like a moth to flame. My first night with my local group I started learning how to fight rapier combat, and I couldn’t have been happier. The thing I love the most is the sense of community that I found. Other members were quick to make me feel welcome and to teach me anything that they could.”
“As for the most amazing thing I feel I’ve experienced personally was winning a major rapier tournament in my Kingdom (geographical region). It was about two years after I had started practicing.”
For people who have never been a part of the SCA, they don’t strictly teach historical combat. The organization hosts a variety of areas you can study including cooking, dancing, garment crafting, as well as many others. They are an international society who study different historical aspects of “pre-17th-century Europe”.
When I asked Stefanie what areas of the time period attracted her the most, she replied,
“I’ve always been interested in what life was like in Ireland during the window covered by the SCA. Since becoming a member I’ve gained a lot of resources to do that research and I’ve learned about what kind of garb was worn, what cultures were like and how they transformed over time.”
One thing Stefanie wanted people to know is that the SCA is different from LARPING (Live Action Role-Playing), because the SCA strives to stick to the historical aspects of the time period. There are no “Magical” elements like there can be in LARPING.
“I’ve had an interest in both, for sure, but I was drawn to the real history involved in the SCA. It gave me a chance to learn a lot about my own family’s history and new skills that I otherwise would never have learned.”
When asked if she would recommend the SCA to others, Stefanie stated,
“Prepare to become part of a new family. The people in the SCA are open and excepting to just about anyone and they are more than willing to help a newcomer find a comfortable place. I would recommend The SCA to anyone one-hundred percent!”
For dates and times the SCA may be meeting near you, as well as membership information, check out their website at, http://www.sca.org