Thursday, March 23, 2017

Award Recommendations and Awards...

Awards are an important part of life in the SCA. Awards allow Her Excellency and I to recognize the hard work of the populace, and through that recognition inspire others to follow in (or continue on) the same path. Her Excellency and I cannot be everywhere at once, nor can we see everything people are doing, so award recommendations are a key tool in decided who should receive awards. There is however a small amount of “mystery” surrounding award recommendations and sadly the number we receive per year is surprisingly low. What follows is a short FAQ on award recommendations. This is intended for Baronial awards, but a lot of the advice also applies to Kingdom level awards. If there are any additional questions feel free to contact Her Excellency or myself and we will guide you.

Why is recognition important?

Awards are how the SCA acknowledges the hard work and efforts of people who make the society what it is. People often shy away from awards because of modesty or because they feel accepting an award somehow cheapens the motivation behind their efforts. This is not the case. An award is not just a cookie for doing a good job, it is a physical representation of the appreciation felt for that person. Equally, receiving an award acts as an inspiration to other people to follow the same path, not because they hope to get a nifty scroll, but because of the “magic” that is felt in court when a deserving person receives recognition.

What is an award recommendation?

Simply put, an award recommendation is a written request to the Baronage requesting that we recognize a member of the populace with an award. A written request (electronic or paper) is preferred because it gives us a record of the request along with key details. Verbal recommendations are easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of meeting/events, so Her Excellency and I try to avoid them. Please don’t be offended if we respond to a verbal recommendation by asking you to submit it in writing. Every recommendation is important to us and we don’t want any slipping through the cracks.

How do you write a recommendation?

A recommendation does not require a lot of information but the more details that are provided the easier it will be to make a decision. Additional details also help the scribes work on scrolls and medallions that are tailored to the persona or interests of the person. The following minimum information is required.

  • Real name of submitter.
  • SCA title and name of submitter.
  • Real name of recipient.
  • SCA title and name of recipient.
  • What award/recognition the recipient should be considered for.
  • Why should they be considered for the award/recognition?
  • What events are they attending the in the future.

How do I submit an award recommendation?

Once you have written the recommendation send that information to Her Excellency and I via e-mail or Facebook (see the Contact/Staff link of the blog). Make sure to copy in both of us.  Please understand it takes a while to prepare an award. The scribes need time to work their magic, we have to schedule when to give out the award, and so on. There is almost zero chance we will act on a recommendation in less than a month’s time. Take that into consideration when sending them in.

Does it require an award/title/certain level of experience to recommend an award?

You do not have to have an award/title/certain level of experience to recommend an award for another person. Anyone can recommend a person for any of the Baronial awards. Additionally you do not have to be a member of the Barony to recommend people for Baronial awards.

I want to recognize a person, but I don’t know what award applies.

Not a problem. If you are not sure what award applies it is acceptable to list the reason(s) you feel the person should be recognized and Her Excellency and I can decide what recognition fits best. For example you might say “I saw Bob at Ice Dragon and he spent the entire day helping people unload cars and carry stuff to the list fields”. Her Excellency and I might ask some additional questions to narrow down the best choice of recognition. Even if we decide it is not the right time for an award we might still recognize the person in some way.

Can I put in a recommendation for a person who is not a member of the Barony (or I am not sure if they are)?

Yes! Baronial awards are not restricted to member of the Barony. A person from another area can be recommended for and awarded Baronial awards.

Is it unethical to recommend awards for my friends/partner/children?

Not at all. Ultimately Her Excellency and I decide who gets what awards, and we may take the submitter into consideration, but a close relationship to the recipient does not disqualify the request. Very often it is the people closest to us that see the hard work we are doing. The Society is founded on honor and we trust in our populace to make honorable and unbiased recommendations.

There is no way that person doesn't already have that award.

Sadly that is not always the case. Very often people get passed over for awards because people assume they already have it and never submit a recommendation. Put in the recommendation anyways. If the person already has the award there is no harm done.  

I suggested an award but it didn't happen, why?

There are three parts to that. First it is 100% possible that Her Excellency and I decided it wasn’t time to recognize the person; it happens. We keep a record of all recommendations and continue to review them over time in the event our opinion changes. Secondly, timing is an issue. We have to balance our court docket with when the person is attending events. Sometimes it takes a while to coordinate everything. Lastly, things do fall through the cracks and we forget or misplace a recommendation. In each case it is acceptable to ask about the progress of your recommendation but please respect our decisions.

The person I want to be recognized does not like coming into court.

Not a problem. Coming into court is not required to recognize a person. Her Excellency and I are sympathetic to the wishes of people and can arrange to recognize the person in a way that they are comfortable with. 

More information: 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Meet Layla Bint Mikhael!

Continuing our series of interviews with members of our Barony, we'd like to introduce you to Layla a recent transplant from our Cousin Barony of Thescorre. Layla has been visiting the Barony's fighter practices working on A&S projects and getting to know the people of the barony while working hard on her education. We can't wait to see her at events and all that she plans to accomplish in the coming year.

Real Name: Leah Kotlarchyk

SCA Name: Layla Bint Mikhael

Persona: Officially, 9th century Khazarian.  Unofficially, I'm exploration mode.

How long have you been involved in the SCA:  On and off, for 5 years.  A cumulative 3 years of which was 'on'.

Some lovely tablet weaving by  Layla

What activities do you participate in?:  Mostly, Arts and Science.  I really enjoy making things and I'm especially fond of fiber arts.  I also love to dance and attempt to participate in dancing when I have the time.  I've recently delved a bit into archery.  I haven't had much time for it yet but I hope to shoot more in the future.
Blackwork by Layla

SCA Goals in 2017:  I'd like to see some kind of improvement in my abilities in the area of Arts and Sciences.  At the moment, I have my sights set on tablet weaving.  Additionally, making sure I have enough garb ready for Pennsic War.  And, of course, getting to know everyone in my new barony is on the top of my SCA to-do list!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Interview with Jenna Macpherson of Lions Tower

We are continuing our series of interviews with members of the Hael with Jenna Macpherson of Lions Tower. A fixture at local practice and events, Jenna is certainly an inspiration to all who meet her and is always a pleasure to speak with. Thank you Mistress Jenna for taking the time to answer a few questions and introduce yourself to any who might already know you (which I am sure if a short list). 

Real name: Carole Goranson

SCA name:  Jenna Macpherson of Lions Tower

When did you join the SCA or how long have you been involved? October 1985 so 32 years.

What is your Persona? Persona is early-is Scottish.

Do you belong to any groups in the SCA?

 I currently stand as the head of house Lions Tower in the stead of Sir Raimund of the Striat and Viscountess Angharad of the Sleeping Lion. I am also squire to Sir Angus MacBain head of House Singing Stone with his lady Mistress Yvianne. I have a protégé baron Boris Dragonsbane of house Dragonsbane and affiliate of House Highrafters and clan Kaminari.

What activities do you participate in?

Over 32 years there are very few activities I have not participated in. I have been seneschal of the Hael 3 times (2 terms each), I have been the autocrat of Ice Dragon I believe 5 times, the autocrat for two coronations, masked ball, crown tourney, and academy. I have been on staff for many local events as marshal, mol, or in the kitchens. I've been on Pennsic staff for chirurgeons and for youth combat. I have held the offices of seneschal, mol, fencing marshal, and youth combat marshal, or been deputies to those offices on the local, regional, and kingdom levels. I am most proud of my work in youth combat. In 2014 I re-authorized in rapier and authorized for the first time (at age 50) in heavy combat and have fought in 3 crown tournaments (in addition to being a consort in several others). I received a pelican at war practice in 2005 from Maynard von dem Steine and Liadain ni Dheirdre Chaomhanaigh.

Do you have any SCA goal for 2017?

For 2017 I have a number of goals in regards to my rattan fighting. I am currently being held back a bit due to knee replacement surgery in October 2016. I also have a new protégé to work with for the next year and I have some goals in mind for him as well. There are a couple office I would like to be a part of when they become available.

What advice would you give a new person in the SCA?

I would tell a new person that you can never ask too many questions. We in the SCA have so much knowledge across so many areas that the questions never end. After 32 years I find my mind still consumed with new questions as I begin new activities and new relationships. As the kingdom is growing out of its difficult teen years, there are always new avenues for participation. I have found, quite recently in fact that the only opportunity that is truly missed is the one we don’t claim for ourselves.