This is it everyone.
This is the last Woodland Watch of the season, which means tomorrow is the last practice of the year. Thankfully, we’ve got a great torchlight tourney planned, where I would encourage everyone to dive deep into the ambiance and festivities. It makes it better when everyone takes it seriously and treats it like the awesome thing it is.
For this Woodland Watch, I wanted to give the Officers a chance to share something with the entire group because tomorrow will be their final practice before being released. Some will come back to serve next year, while others will step aside and let others take their place. They have all worked hard, served honorably, and they have some things to say that I think we should take to heart.
Shay – Lieutenant
“I think this year, more than any other so far, has been the one where I have grown the most as a person and as a fencer. Sometimes that growth has been really hard, sometimes it has been delightfully challenging. I think almost everyone in the Order could say the same. This is why I love this group and the people in it so much. The things we do on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, help to change and, hopefully, improve us.
To me this year has seemed like a constant quest in search of being a better Swordsman, both on and off the field. What a wonderful thing that is! And I think we have all done a really amazing job of that this year. We are all better than we were a year ago. I’m so proud of what we have all been able to accomplish. It is a fantastic thing to be surrounded by people who are so dedicated to making themselves and the world a better place, all while helping their friends to do the same.
I know that because of this crazy family like group that I have been personally helped. Several people this year have taken the time to work with me, and I have been so grateful. They have talked to me, and listened to me, I’ve had help with all the things I have been working on, and I hope that I have been a help in return.
My most profound feeling this year has been reflecting on the idea that in our group we have frequent opportunities to think differently and grow, and we all work together, loving each other through the process. This is the reason Terrasylvae exists. To be a safe place for everyone to learn and grow. Regardless of skill, rank, or position we are all equals around the fire of friendship and love.
We are part of something amazing! I love the Order of the Rose and Terrasylvae, and I love the people in it!”
Evanlyn – Sergeant
I think this year has been a tough year for all of us. But let me say this, it has been a fun one never the less! It has been a joy to welcome new people to the group, help with the lessons and create new memories with you all!
I have seen many of you struggle and I have been amazed at how you tough it out and keep coming back. You guys really have improved a lot this year and been fun to fight and hang out with. Please don’t be so hard on yourselves! It has been an honor to be among such wonderful comrades and to help serve you. I hope you all have a great winter and I will miss you all till the next season! To the Order of the Rose!
Tsyng – Quartermaster
“Fencing doesn’t have to be just about fencing. It can be both a recipient and a contributor of valuable experiences and memories. My advice as we are reaching the end of this season is to remember and apply that piece of wisdom. Live and fence in such a way that you share happiness, goodness, and joy with everyone you meet!”
Miren – Exchequer
“As our season comes to an end, I hope you have found as much joy in the adventures as I have. We’ve improved our skills, battled together, and unfortunately left Haute to reign over Woodland for a season. I challenge you as you enter the off season to reflect on the past 8 months and create a mind map of the things you have learned, loved, and remembered.
If you pause and take a moment to think about what Terrasylvae is, it truly is a group of misfits, outcasts, and vagabonds. It is a sanctuary where everyone is welcome around our fire. A true refuge in the woods. That being said, I challenge you to consider what is happening behind the scenes.
I am just the secretary of the group, but having the chance to work with officers, and especially being the captain’s wife gives me an interesting perspective behind the scenes. I want to share what I’ve seen with you.
First and foremost, the officers care about each of you. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t sacrifice hours of their life each week to put together the great practices, lessons, and activities that you get to enjoy. When you finish a melee, a lesson, when you borrow gear, or when you ask for help, I hope you take a minute to say thank you to the people who volunteered to serve you. Nothing an officer does is paid for. It is a sacrifice they do willingly because they love Terrasylvae and its members.
Kane in particular has a part time job running the group. I could be sitting at dinner with him on our date night and be having a great chat with Quinton. But the moment I mention anything related to or rhyming with the word “fencing” Kane takes over the dinner conversation. He talks about goals, concerns, and hopes for the group. He is on his computer every day updating the websites, answering questions, and chatting with members. He has an “open door” policy to help anyone that needs him, and I’ve learned a lot of patience to step aside while he takes care of each of you.
The lieutenants as well carry a big load on their shoulders. This year more than many years prior. Kane is delegating more as he has seen the great efforts they put into their work, and he can trust them to accomplish whatever he asks. They coordinate practices, arrange scenarios, and do their best to make sure everyone is having a good time. They want you to have fun, but they want you to learn and grow as you try new things and participate with the best of attitudes. When was the last time you thanked Ul’vade, Veron, or Shay for their practices and efforts?
I can continue on with sergeants and the quartermaster as well. If sergeants (and often volunteer swordsmen) didn’t sacrifice their opportunity to learn from Damian & Rhiannon to come teach lessons, we wouldn’t have the great progress we’ve seen in all of you. Tsyng keeps the gear maintained and organized, and I’m pretty sure we’d be very unhappy without him providing us with it each week. Ladrona keeps our scarves in order and checks up on practices to make sure everyone had an enjoyable experience. Ja’ika has filmed and shared his talents to make us a new Terrasylvae movie and training resources. Don shows a perfect example of welcoming everyone into the group and who wouldn’t consider him a friend? Draco makes a great effort to ensure people are safe and honorable in everything they do, so that everyone can have a good time at practice. Evanlyn is a great observer and notices needs of members. She will always ensure that everyone gets the help they need from the right people.
Last but not least, we can’t forget our Master Swordsmen who not only founded Terrasylvae, but guide the officers behind the scenes to ensure the best for all members. They love the group, they love the people, and their main hope is Terrasylvae remains a place of sanctity and camaraderie. Please thank them for their 20 YEARS of service and experience they are always willing to share with you.
As you take some time off and prepare for next season, keep in mind the desires of the master swordsmen. Make sure you attend with an attitude of gratitude. Show camaraderie for your fellow members and dive deep into the true meaning of Terrasylvae. Fighting is great, but friends are better.”
Veron – Lieutenant
“I just want to say thank you to everyone in the group for all their hard work, participation, and help this year. I hope to see you all back for another great year in March!”
Kane – Captain
“As the season closes, I want to recognize that for some of you, this has been a hard year. Whether it’s been within the group or in your individual lives, I recognize that life can beat us down and break us apart. We hold ourselves to expectations that, if left unmet, can fill our hearts with despair and our minds with thoughts of inadequacy.
You tell yourself,
“I’m better than this.”
“Nothing is working.”
“Everything I do just makes things worse.”
It sucks. Life sucks sometimes. I like to think sometimes the entire Universe is conspiring against me and there’s nothing I can do but suffer through it. And what’s worse, is that people will try to say, “It’s going to be ok”, and we all know it doesn’t work that way. I’m still going to feel terrible.
So I’m not going to tell you that it’s going to be ok. You have every right to feel the way you do, but I will share something that has helped me get through those hard times, despite feeling awful.
I want to inspire people.
I saw this quote once and it has stuck with me for years, never leaving my head. It goes like this:
I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, “Because of you, I didn’t give up.”
I live with the dream that someday this will happen to me, but here’s the really funny thing. Ever since I’ve heard the quote, I’ve found myself constantly being inspired by others not to give up.
When I’m having a really hard time, it’s friends and family like the ones I have in Terrasylvae that inspire me not to give up. I see each of you go through your own trials and challenges and that makes me want to keep going. Many of you, personally, have inspired me and helped me even if you might not have been aware. I don’t have the words to thank any of you the way you deserve, but just know that you are an inspiration to me and I want to pay that forward.
Whenever I find myself knocked down, I stand back up not because I’m strong. I stand back up because others have helped me up and I want to help inspire others to do the same.
So this Winter, if things have been hard, I would encourage you to rest and recover, but also to think of those around you who inspire you and how you might inspire others like you’ve inspired me.”