By Lady Mary of Montevale
What if they gave a War and nobody came?
Or perhaps more accurately, what if nobody volunteered to run the wide range of activities and services that enable over 10,000 people to have a fun and safe experience at Pennsic?
No one to greet you at Troll with a smile and a "Welcome home," no one to inspect your armor and put a sticker on your helmet or marshal any of the field activities, no one to teach any classes, no one demonstrating the various arts at Artisans' Row, no activities for younger children at Youth Point, no Pennsic Choir, no Town Criers, no water bearers providing water to battle participants, no artillery booms to signal the start and end of a battle, no tourneys, no answers available at Information Point. Not even a single copy of the latest Pennsic Independent to read with your morning coffee or while you’re soaking your aching feet.
Last year, when the first Pennsic Volunteer War Point was awarded, the final count of the number of volunteer hours served at any of a pre-designated list of locations during a single 24-hour period was two thousand, seven hundred and twenty-two hours.
2,722 hours of volunteer time in just one day and at a list of only some locations where volunteers are relied upon to keep things running. We know this number thanks to the efforts of Queen Catarina of the Middle and Queen Kiena of the East last year. The former proposed the idea of a Volunteer War Point and the latter supported it wholeheartedly.
It turned out be such a good idea that this year's Royals all decided not only should there be a Volunteer War Point at Pennsic 43, but there should be two of them and the number of locations which have been approved by Their Majesties for counting the volunteer hours has been expanded.
This year there are two time periods during which volunteer hours will be recorded: from noon on Saturday, August 2 through noon on Monday, August 4; and from noon on Tuesday, August 5 through noon on Thursday, August 7. For each time period, a War Point will be awarded.
At each of the locations approved for this year's points, there will be sign-in sheets to record each volunteer's hours with the designated time periods and the kingdom to which the hours are to go. The sheets will be collected at the end of each time period. Just as the winner of a heavy weapons war point is known once the pertinent battle has been completed, the winner of each of the points will be announced as soon as the tally has been completed.
Mistress Michel Almond de Champagne (East) and THL Petrona da Manciano (Middle), the heads of the Volunteer War Point this year, have been working hard to prepare all the paperwork and assemble groups of volunteers to distribute, collect, and tally the sign-in sheets.
As the head of the Volunteer War Point for the East last year as well, Michel says the War Point work gave her real insight into all the ways attendees at Pennsic benefit from and appreciate the volunteers' efforts. She admits to being overwhelmed by the vast generosity of time and service given to helping make "our thing" happen.
Petrona pointed out that they are looking for feedback to make the Volunteer War Points more inclusive and even better next year. Suggestions may be written on the sign in sheets or turned in at Information Point.
If you would like to volunteer to help with the work involved in the Volunteer War Points, come to a meeting on Friday, August 1, at 1 pm at Information Point (across from the Cooper's Store).