Sensible Precautions: Event Considerations for Youth
If you’re a young person engaged in Living History, there may be times you attend an event without a parent. How can you make it a great experience? The tips and comments here are compiled from an older discussion on the Sewing Academy @ Home forum; have you considered everything?
Some things of which to be aware:
Most public events will require youth to have an over-18 responsible party on-site at all times. This protects the event a bit, and is very reasonable (legally and insurance-wise).
Public events involve the public… strangers. Most are lovely. However, be aware that you’re surrounded by people you don’t know, and you should not give your trust easily.
You have the best chance of a great experience if you are attending an event with other like-minded people of all ages (including those responsible adults!).
Always have an exit strategy: who do you need to notify, and how will you exit if, at any point, the event feels less-than-safe to you, personally?
It goes without saying to not leave your personal things unattended, but take just as much care with your own self: don’t go walking out alone, don’t hang out in a secluded area alone. It’s possible to have personal quiet and space, even when surrounded by your history friends. Don’t risk your personal safety.
It may be prudent to take day-trips to events while you’re getting your feet wet. Many events are arranged to accommodate day visits and evening departures, and you’ll be saved from needing camping equipment right away.
No matter your age, events are much more fun when you have a purpose! Work with your chosen group to choose some activities and roles to undertake, so you have realistic tasks to accomplish and things to share with the public. You don’t need to be an expert or know everything in order to visit with visitors. It’s okay to say, “I’m quite new to this, and I don’t know… let’s ask Miss So-And-So…” Just make sure your activities and roles are actually historical.
You can also do your best to make sure you’re not a burden on friends and companions. Ask your companions what personal items you should provide, such as plate-cup-utensils, or a period-appropriate chair (you can always sit on the ground; don’t take someone else’s chair, though).
Have a modest-but-sufficient amount of personal cash for food or small purchases at the event. Expect and offer to chip in on transportation, fuel, and food costs. Behave nicely (this is “being a credit to your family”). Let your companions know where you are; be where you say you’re going to be. Be as flexible and accommodating as you can be, while keeping firm and healthy personal boundaries.
Here’s to safe and fun historical adventures!