Our Leadership Development Programs
The AOA has two main programs for leadership development: the Order of the Knighthood and the Order of the Solar. These programs were developed in the 1990s to emphasize esoteric values derived from the idealistic and virtuous versions of King Arthur, the Court of Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table, and to teach physical and practical skills one can use in everyday life.
Before one can join either the Knighthood or the Solar, they must first go through our Pagehood Program. Pagehood is designed to help new members become acclimated to all the the AOA does, and guide their interests should they want to participate more with the group. However, Pagehood, Knighthood, and Solar are not required for new or long-term members to participate in events, shows, feasts, etc.; but they are available if one chooses.
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The Page Program is the beginning point for anyone aspiring to any rank within the Knighthood or the Solar. As a Page, a member learns basic skills that will aid them for the duration of their membership in the AOA and beyond.
Pagehood lasts a minimum of six months for each interested member. It is a time for the Page to familiarize themselves with what the AOA is, what they want to put into it, and what they want to get out of it. Pages are asked to complete a number of physical, technical, and scholarly requirements related to our guilds to aid them in finding out where their interests are. Members of our Knighthood and Solar are expected to be available to help Pages throughout their tenure in the program. After completing all of their requirements, Pages are eligible to join either the Knighthood or the Solar, should they wish.
A main component of Pagehood is service to the organization, which can take the form of setting up events, managing props, serving food and drinks at feasts, cleaning up after rehearsals, aiding in a seminar, etc. We believe learning how to serve is key to developing one's ability to become a servant leader; and by working alongside the Knighthood and Solar, Pages and other AOA members form a bond of community and understanding.
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The Order of the Knighthood approaches leadership through physical prowess and philosophical introspection. It analyzes what it means to set the example and be a modern day "defender of the good", and teaches a modern take on martial skills that would have been taught to knights and nobles of the Middle Ages. Ideally, the Knighthood offers a place where members can challenge themselves to find the leadership style that suits them the best.
If a Page decides to join the Knighthood, they must be sponsored as a Squire to an existing Knight. This Knight has the responsibility to mentor their Squire in martial training and the virtues shared by the organization.
To reach the rank of Knight, a Squire must complete a number of physical requirements from a list that includes swimming, archery, fencing, stage combat, and more. In addition, they must be deemed ready for knighthood by their sponsoring knight and the King of the organization.
There are two ranks of Knighthood in the AOA: White Shield and Round Table.
Knight of the White Shield
The rank of Knight of the White Shield is awarded after a Squire has completed their requirements and is deemed ready for the title. These Knights are gifted white belts and gold chains, and they may carry arms at feasts and ceremonies - a privilege only for Knights. As the name suggests, the shields of these knights are blank, as they have yet to earn their own personal heraldry.
Knight of the Round Table
In Arthurian Lore, these were the Knights of renown and prowess, expected to serve as examples of chivalry and courtesy to all persons. Before a Knight of the White Shield is considered for ascension to Round Table status, they must sponsor a squire to the level of White Shield in addition to meeting more stringent physical requirements. Round Table Knights are afforded the right to wear personal heraldry.
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The Order of the Solar approaches leadership by analyzing the esoteric meaning of serving others, organizing events to provide for the populace at large, and teaching managerial and leadership techniques. The Solar is charged with the humble behind-the-scenes tasks necessary for AOA events to function. Ideally, the Solar allows individuals to cultivate skills to help others in need, and guide them to help themselves as well.
If a Page decides to join the Solar, they must be sponsored as a Maid/Youth to an existing Lady/Lord Steward. The sponsor has the responsibility to mentor their Maid/Youth for the duties that may await them as they progress in the Solar.
To achieve the rank of Lady/Lord Steward, a Maid/Youth must complete a number of requirements that include assisting a host/hostess of a feast, making a piece of garb, making an educational display for our Education Tent, and more. In addition, they must be deemed ready by their Sponsor and the Queen.
There are two ranks of the Solar in the AOA: Lady/Lord Steward and Chatelaine/Chamberlain.
Upon attaining the rank of Lady/Lord Steward, a member is afforded the right to wear a sash or tabard in the colors they choose to represent themselves. This sash or tabard may be worn at feasts, ceremonies, AOA events, or Solar specific events.
Chatelain & Chamberlain
A Lady/Lord Steward can achieve the rank of Chatelain or Chamberlain after sponsoring a Maid/Youth to the rank or Lady/Lord Steward and completing certain requirements aimed at teaching others the skills of the Solar and providing for the group at large. Upon ascension, Chatelains and Chamberlains are afforded the right to dress entirely in their chosen colors and wear a heraldic patch.