Rules applying to children
Many society members join because they feel The Vikings is a hobby for the whole family. There are many benefits for parents and children: fresh air, meeting new people and time together, away from the demands of busy family life.
In order to ensure the safety and well-being of members, both adults and children, there are various rules which affect children and parents. These rules appear across a variety of society documents. They have been summarised here, so that parents, especially those new to the society, can gain a picture of the activities, opportunities and responsibilities relating to children and their parents.
Activity Consent form
Any child member of the Vikings may take part in any activity the Society has deemed suitable for their age group. Any child member, presenting itself to a society organised activity, is deemed to have the permission of their parent or responsible adult to take part in that activity. If a parent or responsible adult does not wish their child to take part in any activity organised by the Society they must take action to prevent that child from taking part. Activity consent forms should be signed by parents at the start of each season. These consent forms are often held by the group leader. The Activity consent form can be downloaded here.
There are two categories of membership for children: Junior and Youth. By and large within the LHE the rules are the same for each unless specifically stated otherwise.
- Junior: Any person below their eighteenth (18) birthday who has only paid the 50p membership
- Fostri: Any person from their thirteenth (13) birthday and below their eighteenth (18) birthday
- Youth member: Any person from their thirteenth (13) birthday and below their eighteenth (18) birthday who has paid the higher membership rate.
- Parent: Legal guardian of child.
- Responsible Adult: Adult designated by parent to supervise child.
No child member may attend any event without a responsible adult also being present, and the Society constitution sets out who is deemed to be that responsible adult. It is the responsible adult’s duty to ensure that the child member in their care complies with the rules and regulations, and this adult is responsible at all times for the supervision, welfare an d conduct of the child.
When children are playing in the LHE or modern encampment they should be made aware that other Viking members may give them instructions about safety matters or other issues. Our Safeguarding Policy includes the principle that all members may intervene to keep a child safe.
Child Protection and Safeguarding
The Vikings has a Child Protection Policy with accompanying procedures which members should be aware of. If a member has any concerns relating to a child’s safety or well-being, whether that child is a members of the society or member of the public, they should speak to the Society Safeguarding Children Thegn (Cathy Murphy cathy[at]ousekjarr.org) or the Konungr (Roger Barry).
Children in the LHE
Responsible adults are expected to supervise their child, or arrange for suitable supervision at all times. The responsible may arrange for a youth member to supervise a younger child, as long as this person is able to carry out the task. Responsibility remains with the adult.
Children must behave in a way which does not disrupt the running of events.
When children are in the LHE they are expected to be dressed authentically. If a child is not dressed authentically, they should be taken away from the village or stay inside a closed tent. There may be times when weather conditions lead to a relaxation of these rules. Some leeway on footwear is often allowed in very wet conditions.
Where a family has children and one parent is re-enacting, the remainder of the family are not allowed to frequent the LHE camp in modern clothing etc. Even if the child is not a ‘member of the society’ they must be authentically dressed in the LHE.
Babies and Young Children – If your baby has a modern bottle, you should ensure that the bottle is covered with a cloth or feed the baby inside a closed tent. If you breast feed your baby you might ask for some advice from an experienced member about suitable adjustments to make to your period clothing to make breast feeding easier.
Modern pushchairs/prams/highchairs are not allowed during open hours.
There are many people who can offer advice on enjoying a show with very small children. Tips such as introducing an authentic toy at home so that a child becomes familiar with it before an event, or making passable toddler reins from tablet weaving. If no one is your group has firsthand experience, then try an email to vmail.
Children’s Activities in the LHE
Depending upon the age and competency of the individual a junior member can undertake many if not most of the activities enjoyed by their adult counterparts, and it is up to a child’s responsible adult to decide what is appropriate for any particular child.
Usually children will quickly find things to do with each other, and (within the bounds of supervision required under the general rules) children can quite happily spend entire shows in their own world without needing to find anything in particular to do.
Children will often want to play fight in the village, following the lead of the adults. A responsible adult must ensure that the child knows how to play fight safely. Weapons should be made of wood or leather and should be regularly checked for splinters etc. Toy weapons should be of an authentic type/shape.
Wooden weapons can bruise, blind and even kill if used irresponsibly or with enough force. Train your child to
- Avoid eyes
- Avoid head shots
- Pull their shots
- Not to engage members of the public WHATEVER THE PROVOCATION.
- Keep weapons safe when not being played with – they get picked up by members of the public just like metal weapons if they are left lying around.
- Warn your child that any adult member may temporarily disarm them if they are worried about the safety of the game they are playing. Weapons will be immediately returned to the parents not the child.
- Check wooden weapons regularly for splintering.
Youth members are allowed to handle metal re-enactment weapons within the village as part of a display but they are not allowed to fight with them within the LHE. Junior members should not handle such weapons without constant and appropriate supervision. Crafts and food preparation etc. using sharps is allowed by child members providing that they are constantly supervised by an adult who is happy with the child’s competence with the tools and tasks being undertaken. The requirement for constant supervision may be waived for a Youth member who has passed the Basic Village Skills Test, and at the youth’s responsible adult and group leaders discretion. (or other society official if the group leader is not present at the event).
Crafts in the LHE
Any child member may take village and/or crafts tests at the appropriate RTT-V’s discretion, but the test standard will be the same as for adult members. A child member may be promoted to Fri-hals and can accumulate points towards Drengr but accreditation of the points and subsequent promotion to Drengr will not be made until the child becomes a full adult member at the age of 18.
Camping with children
No naked flames are allowed in tents occupied by children. In family areas, after 21:00 hrs, please respect the fact that small children will be trying to sleep. Parents should ensure that their children do not make excessive noise, particularly early in the morning.
Children and Combat
Participation Age limits
In order to satisfy our duty of care to children, there are limits to what activity is permitted by younger members;
Warriors Aged 18+
- May use any weapon for which they are qualified and have permission.
- May train with weapons they are not qualified to use under the supervision of a training thegn.
Svein Aged 16 and 17
- Must have permission of parent/legal guardian evidenced by signed activity consent form.
- May take part in combat training under the supervision of a training thegn.
- May take part in displays using primary side arm and shield only under the supervision of a Warrior.
- Must be identified on the battlefield by a white band around their Head Protection.
Fostrar Aged 13 to 15
- Must have permission of parent/legal guardian evidenced by signed activity consent form.
- May take part in combat training under the direct supervision of a training thegn.
- May take part in scripted missile phases of displays if suitably qualified.
- May NOT take part in displays in any other combatant role.
- During lulls in the combat, may carry water to the warriors, collect missiles and other dropped weapons and take them back behind their battle line.
- May loot the dead, act as if administering first aid to a fallen warrior or finish off wounded warriors.
Under 13’s and non-Combatants
Only allowed on the field once combat has ceased, and authorised by the Battle Captain. Children must have permission of parent/legal guardian evidenced by signed activity consent form.
Arena displays with Viking Children
All children are allowed to take part in non combat displays in the arena, if this is deemed appropriate by the organiser of that display.
Fostri will be allowed in to the arena during scripted battles, combat displays and training and they must wear helmets. No member under the age of 18 who has not passed Basic Combat is allowed into the arena during unscripted battles. Junior members may use sharp knives for appropriate activities when supervised by an adult, or if they have passed the Basic Village Skills Test.
Fostri Fostri may act as camp followers and take onto the field water, bandages and files, they must attend the muster with the files to assist the Command Group with safety checks and have their own checked. On the field they will water the warriors, bandage or dispatch the wounded, collect arrows, rocks or any other discarded weapons for reuse. They must not take part in any combat, they must run away if approached by an enemy warrior except where they have been scripted to die.
If scripted to die they may only be killed by a designated warrior, other warriors may only capture Fostri (if they are quick enough!). Fostri may be equipped with a blunted blade no longer than 6" which they may used to dispatch wounded warriors when the Battle Captain instructs them and for no other purpose, when not closely supervised. Fostri may attend formal combat training as part of the Society display using combat safe metal weapons, they may also take part in knife fights under the supervision of a training officer, these may be incorporated into the village/acting script. The supervising training officer must be satisfied that the Fostri is safe and competent before allowing an individual to take part in a free display fight. Adult warriors may assist the supervising training officer if the supervising training officer considers them safe to work with children. Any pair of Fostri taking part in combat training must be supervised by an experienced warrior. Fostri will be supervised by a designated adult.
Youth Membership Fostri of the age 16-17 are allowed to take part in combat, once they have passed the appropriate weapon test. They must have paid the higher rate of Junior membership for that season and must have a white band around their helmet.