Capt. James Crooks' Coy is recruiting brave Heros!

artillery fire

We are presently trying to recruit more brave heros and their families, to add to the ranks of Niagara's local militia who will attend around a half dozen War of 1812 events every year. Our group is based in the Niagara region of southern Ontario; where the actual militia we represent lived during the war. We are proud of them and their contributions and seek to accurately portray our local history. Although we are from the Niagara region, we will take recruits from anywhere.

The events we will attend, in priority order, are as follows:

1. 1812 events in the Niagara region. Since we are the local militia from the Niagara region, we want a good turnout at battles that happened in our own back yards.
2. The 1812 Grand Tactical that rotates every year. *Note: These have been suspended until bicentennial activities are concluded in 2015.
3. When applicable, bicentennial events about the War of 1812.
4. Other 1812 events that are interesting and fun.

Our unit has a certain culture about it that we like to inform prospective members about before they join. First, we do like to have fun and enjoy ourselves, so we kid around and do not take ourselves too seriously. Aside from that though, research and authenticity is something that we do in fact, take seriously. We are a fairly progressive, or authentic-living unit. We believe a smaller, simpler camp is a more honest picture of the era so we do not bring many comforts from home with us to events. Comfort was not a luxury the common soldier enjoyed, so we try to live fairly rough as well. We do not subscibe to every precept of this movement in the hobby, but we embrace a lot of it. Soldiers (not men who portray civilians) must be clean shaven (unless you are a Pioneer) or have only stubble when they attend events with our unit. A capsule statement of our beliefs in this regard is found here, and if you'd like to read an extended writing on our (or our leader's) values in this regard, read this. Though not everything in this document is part of our unit constitution, some of it is and the rest is still influential. Last thing about our unit, there are several unit members who sincerely practice their faith, and this has had influence over the years with regard to our constitution. Some examples of that influence include an intolerance toward drug use and repeated drunkeness. Drinking is fine, repeated cases of drunkeness is not. No one is going to try and convert you or make you attend a period church service while at the event, but traditional family values have greatly influenced who we are.

Continue reading over this site and consider if we are the type of group you'd like to join. Making a commitment to join a living history group can be confusing, so it is important to choose carefully from the start. Here are some tips I always tell people who are thinking about joining.

  1. Decide what period of time, or war you are interested in. (Medieval, 1812, American Civil War, WW1 etc). Military is not the only thing that influences people on this question. Issues of fashion, and politics of the period also firmly influence some people on which period they choose. Geography, or closeness to events is another big one for some people.
  2. Determine which side you'll be on. (Don't get too wound up on this question and feel that you have a patriotic duty to join one side or the other. Over time you'll discover that there were legitimate points on either side of the conflict, men just as brave on one side as on the other).
  3. (This relates to the previous point). Will you do a military or civilian impression?
  4. Search the internet, and some of the chat lists on Yahoo! Groups and ask questions, see what groups exist around where you live. Though you will never live close to everyone in your group, it's good to be close to a few of them at least initially, so they can guide you through your first couple of years in the hobby and help you do it right.
  5. Ask the people in the group questions; get to know them a bit before you commit to join them. Some groups have loose standards with the hobby while others have very, very high standards. Some groups may require men to be clean shaven. Some groups will allow women to act as soldiers while others will not. Some groups require clothing to be hand sewn and others all use modern machines. How authentic is this unit, and how authentic do you want to be? (This answer may change over time). Ask if the unit has a constitution and if you can see it. Ask what the process is for joining, receiving rank etc, in the group. Finally, ask if they have loaner equipment they can lend you and your family to let you try it out for a weekend. Most established units will have this, and it's a great way to get a taste of the hobby before actually committing to it.
  6. At this point, you will either join the group or continue searching for other options, repeating the process outlined above

If you think you are interested in joining our unit, you essentially have two options at this point.

1. If you are interested in joining us, but you are not ready at the present moment to get involved in reenacting, yet you also do not want to lose touch with us, you could join our Recruits' List. This is an email list created to stay in touch with people who have contacted our unit at sometime in the past, desiring to get involved some day. Every second month you will get an e-newsletter in .PDF form from us with updates on what the unit has done, what our plans are in the short term, pictures of us in action, special notices about things of interest to you with reminders and tips for easing into the hobby through our group. There is no obligation to you, other than to open the document and take five minutes once a month to stay up to date with what we're doing. The file is guaranteed to be virus-free and we do not give out your email to anyone else. Your email is included in the BCC field so that no one else on the list sees your email, or sees who else is on the list. This Recruits' List reminds you that we haven't forgotten about you and that we'd love to get you involved - on your own schedule. You stay connected with us so that when you're ready to commit to being involved, all you have to do is reply to the email. And if you change your mind in the future and don't think you'll ever get involved in reenacting, just reply to the email and ask to be removed from the list and you will be. We won't berate you or try to talk you out of your decision. So if you'd like to be on our Recruits' List, contact us and request to be added to that contact list.

2. If you think you are ready to start, to take the King's schilling and defend our colony against Yankee aggression through our unit, we are honoured! The process begins with you downloading this application form, filling it out and sending it in to unit headquarters. After the application is received, someone from the unit will contact you and we will continue with the steps to bring you in as a member of the unit. If you mailed the form more than a month ago and have not received an email from us, email us. Sometimes mail gets lost and we don't want to lose you just because of the postal system. We truly hope to hear from you.

Cheers!

1st Reg't, Lincoln Militia.
Capt. James Crooks' Light Coy.

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