What It Means to Be an Officer

Every season, new officers are called by the Captain to help serve the group. These willing swordsmen volunteer their time, practice, and energy to help the group. They even take an oath in addition to their Swordsman’s Oath to show the added layer of commitment they’ve accepted. Being an Officer is answering the call to help the group grow, love the people, and take the initiative beyond what a Swordsman is expected to do.

In this week’s Woodland Watch, I wanted to talk about what it means to be an Officer and encourage everyone to set a goal to one day serve as an Officer in some capacity.

“I pledge my word to strengthen the company honor and assist in company dealings. I will teach those in the company, lead both on & off field and justly deal with others till I can no longer fulfill my duties.”

The Officer’s Oath

An Officer Loves the Group

Everyone has the potential to be an Officer, but with limited positions choices must be made. When I consider members for Officership, one of the biggest determining factors is how much the person loves the group. Is this more than just a hobby for them? How much does the group mean to them? I look for people whose souls burn with a fiery passion for Terrasylvae and the Order of the Rose because without that passion, they won’t be willing to carry the burden of responsibility that comes with Officership.

The group is founded on principles of acceptance, camaraderie, adventure, and honor. An officer who loves the group will promote those ideals and make them a part of their lives even when they are away from practice. I can tell when this group is important to a person and I want each Officer to feel that this group is important and worth fighting for.

An Officer Loves the People

The ideals this group is founded on attract a certain kind of person. Adventurous souls who may be outcasts, misfits, or vagabonds in one way or another. We’re not a perfect bunch and many of us have our own challenges we face whether they be social, physical, financial, etc… An Officer in the Order of the Rose loves these people. Every person has the potential to become a great swordsman and a great person. An Officer should be willing to see the potential of each member and help them achieve it or at least see it for themselves.

I do not expect everyone in the group to be best friends and see eye-to-eye on everything, but an Officer should be willing to set aside their personal feelings in favor of camaraderie and the good of the group. By striving to see past our differences, Officers can make a bigger impact on the lives of our members and realize that our commonalities are more important than our differences.

An Officer Takes the Initiative

Finally, being an Officer gives a person a larger opportunity to benefit the group in many ways. Officers teach lessons and therefore become a well of knowledge that others can draw upon. They assist in making group decisions which can influence the direction the group takes as whole and therefore get to apply the wisdom and perspective they uniquely possess. An Officer also has the right to take on projects and begin initiatives they personally feel can help improve the group.

As Captain, I get undeserved credit for things that other Officers have created or implemented. Tsyng, our quartermaster, is the Officer who suggested and encouraged the group orders of helmets and gorgets. Miren, our exchequer, is the Officer who organized the Bake Sale last week and raised funds for the group. Evanlyn was the original source for the Four Levels of Importance scarves. Ul’vade encouraged the emphasis on Lore this season. Even I begun this website as a project while I was a Lieutenant to benefit the group.

An Officer is someone who is willing to take the initiative to help the group grow. Many of the best additions to our group have come from Officers willing to use their time and talents in ways that only they could. This initiative is baked into the responsibilities of Officership and one of the best ways to lighten the heavy burden that comes with those responsibilities. I know, for me, that my love for the group, the people, and the projects I focus on help me feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment that is worth more than what I sacrifice for this group. I know that an Officer who dedicates themselves to a project they came up with, the love of the group and the people will only grow.

A Challenge to Current & Future Officers

As we all continue to understand and define what being an Officer means, I would like to challenge all current and future officers in two ways. If you are currently serving as an Officer, consider a personal project that you can take on. Consider ways that you personally would like to benefit the group. What problem could you solve? What does the group need and how can you fill that need? If you already have a project, consider way to expand it and develop it further.

For those not currently serving as an Officer, my challenge to you is join a project. Learn about what the Officers are doing and join an initiative that you connect with. As you help with these projects, you’ll be deepening your commitment to the group, learning from the experience of others, and preparing for the eventual day you yourself could become an Officer.