I was happy to run youth point at Mugmort Melees. It gave me room for the overflow of ideas I’d had for Red Dragon 2010. At Red Dragon, I’d had the idea of letting kids “make” a small pistol crossbow for shooting marshmallows. The problem was that they were made from two wood blocks and had a bent metal dowel for a trigger and a strip of metal for the prod.
They where expensive to make (anything with metal is expensive) and one could complete the project about five minutes. Maybe as short as one. Kids only needed to nail the blocks together and screw in the prod.
I started looking at period crossbows and I cooked up an idea to make a full sized cross bow completely out of wood for less than what a pistol crossbow with metal parts would cost to make.
Bigger is more fun right? After weeks of design, prototyping, and failure testing did I make a crossbow I thought would be good enough for its goal. That is, to shoot a target at 10-20 yards. Light enough in weight a youth could pull it, but it could still be used at the archery range.
Of course we need more than just one crazy idea for youth point.
Since the event was “Princess Bride” themed what would be better than learning how to kill each other they way God intended. Hand to Hand.
Sir Cellach the (Known World Wrestling Champion [retired]) and his Squire Edward hosted a class on wrestling called “You put down your sword, I’ll put down my rock and we’ll kill each like civilized people”
Annora of Mugmort, my co-planner for the event, had a few ideas of her own to toss in, and help from Uliam, a new youth Marshal, things rounded out well. We always need to plenty of activities for children to do.
Let’s take a look at each activity:
Find prizes in a pile of hay
Just as the name suggests, fun little prizes found at bargain bins where placed into a hay stack. You find it you win.
This went over way better than I expected it to. When I get to the crossbows, this point will come back up. For kids, the beauty is in simplicity.
Make your own fairy tale book
Always popular for a short period of time. Many of the young girls enjoyed making up a story and drawing a picture to go with it.
Castle puzzle and knight figures & board games
Kids have short attention spans, it’s good to have things they can just plop down and do, then wander back to whatever they where working on. These sorts of things are great to leave out. Kids can do them if they wish, and not if they don’t.
I didn’t get to see much of it, but from what I could it looked like it was going great . All the those involved where having a great time. I’m hoping to talk Sir Cellach and Edward into doing it again sometime.
I was expecting a slightly older age group, say 12-15, for this project. I had mostly 8-12 year olds. I’m a softy, so thought I could help them all to get it complete.
The problem is they took far too long to make for a 10 year old’s
attention span. I should have trained other teens/adults to help me to keep the line moving. It took about 15 minutes to 30 per crossbow to get it constructed, it needs about 40 minutes of sanding and filing then about 20 of knot tying to make the string. This was just too much,
I end up doing most of the work myself, which meant hours of waiting for any specific child.
I think a few left before the cross was completed.
Having other things to do helped a great deal, and when boffer started many peeled out to do that, which let me get many of the kits completed while there wasn’t a line.
I think adults are likely to be more interested in the kits. I did have a handful of tween boys that really really wanted to get the crossbow complete.
After the kits were complete and the bolts made, they went the archery range, where they were refused permission to use the crossbows. I’m not sure by whom or why. I thought I had gotten all of this cleared ahead of time, otherwise I would have tried to set up my own range.
This is a great project for teens and adults of which I had many come late in the day to make a crossbow. But it was too complex for age group I had.
If I had stuck to my guns better about the age needed to make a crossbow, I could have helped more with the games and made it all more fun for everyone.
To aide that wish, I’ll have my instructions and plans for the crossbow kits up soon.