We are happy you are considering to contribute to Apache Struts and we are definitely looking forward to your work.
We all are a happy group of volunteers and much often work on Struts in our free time. We are not getting any money for our work from the Apache Software Foundation (nor does any other project receive money) and most of us are not paid by a company for working on Struts.
Still we are happy to contribute, meet up from time to time and provide user support. Thats because we have formed a community where we know, trust, and learn from each other.
Considering that we are a grown set of people, you must understand that you need to grow into the project as well if you want to join. While we are happy to accept your patches if they fit or discuss technical changes on them with you, we cannot provide SCM access on request. But if we start to believe you have grown into the project and would make a great addition to our committer community well held a private discussion and eventually invite you to join officially.
You can read more about this on the page How the ASF works.
Now as you have understood that you dont need to ask for anything to start, you can simply start. It is always a good idea to first subscribe to the Developers Mailinglist. We are discussing everything around Struts in public (except a few things, like discussions on persons). With reading the developers list youll get a good idea what we are planning and maybe even how you can help.
Another way is to simply look through the Issue Tracker and work on a patch. Its recommended to first try to understand and then discuss what you plan on the mailing list. This way we will find out if we are on the same page and of course will learn about you.
Please note, not only code contributions are welcome. We also invite people to join us because they have written extraordinary examples, documentation or help a lot on the user mailing lists. For us, Community is over Code. And a good community does not reduce itself to people who write code.
If you like, you can read Craig R. McClanahans article on Contributing.
Here is another comment that was sent to the Jakarta Turbine Mailing List about the open source process and the contrastbetween how an open source product and a proprietary product improve through the user community: Understanding Opensource.
While written for ASF developers, the Rules for Revolutionaries provides insight into how the collaborative process works, and how our process differs from working on a hierarchical team: Rules for Revolutionaries