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.