In my years in the SCA, I have become convinced that one of the most important duties of each and every one of us is to write letters of recommendation for awards. I believe it is up to you--each and every one of you--to assure that deserving people are recognized in court.
But actually sitting down and writing a recommendation is daunting to some. So I've come up with some guidelines to help. Follow these guidelines and you, too, can have the awesome thrill of seeing a deserving person recognized for their skills or hard work based on your words, read in court for all to hear.
Don't forget to send recommendations for Principality awards to the Prince and Princess and recommendations for Baronial awards to the Baron and Baroness. Even though they are more local than the King and Queen, they can't see what everyone is doing. Sending in recommendations makes their jobs much easier!
There are three myths to dispel:
1) You do not need to be a member of the SCA to recommend someone for an award.
2) You do not have to have an award to recommend someone else for it.
3) You may recommend someone close to you for an award. After all, who knows more about what that person is doing?
When writing recommendations, here are a few steps you should keep in mind:
Here is a sample recommendation (this bears no relation to any actual Mudthaw autocrat or heraldic deputy.):
Johan Smithsson (James Brown) of the Barony of Settemour Swamp for the Order of the Silver Crescent.
AoA - 25 September, 1998
Order of the Ivory Tower - 30 March, 1999
Lord Johan has been an active and productive member of our Barony for five years. He shows up early to most of our events and tirelessly helps the autocrat set up. He also often stays late to help clean the site. He autocratted Mudthaw in 1997 and ran the event smoothly and for a small profit. He has supported our Herald for one year as her deputy and has helped her process paperwork and consult with members about names and arms. He is conscientious about handling money. He has helped build and maintain archery targets and equipment. He has supplied prizes for archery competitions. He has also made prizes for Arts and Sciences competitions. He has helped with baronial projects such as making the baronial thrones, chair covers for the chairs from the rental company, and marshals tabards. He is thoroughly reliable and many turn to him for help with projects, moving equipment, event support and odd jobs. He usually attends all Settmour Swamp events.
The list of awards for your kingdom will be on your kingdom's web site (which are listed at the end of this article). There are three peerage Orders and two other Awards that are SCA-wide and open for recommendations:
Addendum: (by Master Rhys Terafan Greydragon)
When recommending someone for an order of which you are not a part (be it a kingdom order or a peerage order), the one thing to remember is to not assume the knowledge of the order. In other words, don't make it sound like you know exactly what the order should think about person X, and what the order should do. If you are not a knight, you shouldn't write "...this guy fights like a knight, can beat all of you, and you must knight him..." or if not a laurel you shouldn't write "... this person is a master of xxx craft and must be laurelled". Comments like those imply that you know better than the order does, you know what it should think, and that you have the knowledge of the order. It also comes across as you presuming to be able to judge candidates for the peerage -- in effect claiming the peerage for yourself. If your recommendation comes across this way, it will probably be ignored by most of the order members.
It is far better to offer your opinion, and only offer it on those things which you feel fit to judge (rather than everything top to bottom). That is, don't say person X is a peer, or that he should be a peer. Instead say that you hold person X in high esteem, and why. It is far better to make comments like "of all the people I have fought, person X displays the most consistent skill, weapons control, and courtesy..." or "... Lady Y has taught 15 classes on her craft (with rave reviews), won 12 competitions, and always seems to have incredible research, detail, and skilled execution...".
This is a list of Kingdom Web sites:
(Coming Soon to a Continent near you) Lochac:
This is a list of each kingdom's Order of Precedence sites:
(Coming Soon to a Continent near you) Lochac:
This document was written by Anarra Karlsdottir, known outside the SCA as Terry L. Neill. It is copyright (c) 2002. You have permission to make copies for personal use and to distribute it as you wish but only if it remains complete, including the copyright notice, and is distributed for no charge. If you wish to publish this in your local newsletter, you MUST contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get my address. I will give permission to re-print in return for a copy of the publication.
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