In a lesson on medieval armor and chivalry, Society for Creative Anachronism member, Steve Kraybill, showed students at the Largo Public Library how battles were won.
In medieval times life and death depended on a knight’s swift sword movements and sturdy armor. Small interlinked metal rings called chain maille protected knights during battle.
Kraybill's 15-year-old son Chris Kraybill became interested in making chain maille four years ago.
The presentation by the Society of Creative Anachronism was for the library’s Tuesday Night Teens group, which meets once a month on Tuesday. The enrichment group started in November 2010.
“We change the activity month to month. It might be a game, a movie or an arts and craft,” said Julia Gonser, teen volunteer coordinator.
The group's purpose is to provide a place for teens to have fun, enjoy an activity and relax without their parents.
In Tuesday’s class the SCA displayed a variety of chain maille. There shirts, ropes, chains and juggling balls made of chain maille. A common steel shirt worn in battle, weighed approximately 30 pounds. The shirt on display was damaged. Kraybill and his sons offered to repair the hole on the top left-hand side of the meal shirt.
The rings vary in size and metal. Different objects require specific type and size. The armored shirts were made from steel rings and juggling balls were made of small brass rings.
“It took over two hours to make those,” Chris Kraybill said, referring to the juggling balls. “Brass is not easy to work with.”
The teens were given colored rings made of anodized aluminum to make either a spiral or double spiral design. Using two sets of vice grips, one in each hand, they learned to pull the ends together to make a complete loop.
“With practice, you’ll be able to make it a smooth loop,” Kraybill said, “In fact, you can run your hands across [the design] and not feel any edges.”
Nicole Harrison, a 15-year-old home-schooled student, asked for extra help in learning to make the chain left-handed. Chris Kraybill, also left-handed, sat at her table to help out. Harrison, a regular library visitor, enjoyed the activity and plans to return.
“I try to come every month when I remember,” Harrison said. “I’ve been a volunteer at the library for the last one to two years,”she said.
Some kids in the groups were regulars other are members of the library’s Teen Council. Depending on the activity, Tuesday Night Teens may have a handful of kids to over 60.
The teens range in ages and interests, so Gonser brainstorms activities that they’ll all like.
Newcomer to Tuesday Night Teens, Zoe Perez and Harrison had divided the multi-colored rings into piles of red, blue, gold, purple, green and pink. They alternated colors in their designs.
Zoe, a 13-year-old student from Pinellas Preparatory Academy, plans to attend the next group meeting.
“It’s really cool. It’s really neat how all the colors bind together,” Zoe said.
If your older kids are looking for something to do, check out Largo Public Library’s Tuesday Night Teens. Kids 13 to 18 years old are invited to join. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The program runs every month throughout the school year. Contact Julia Gonser at (727) 587-6715 or email: email@example.com