Wednesday, 4 September 2013

On the Writing of Award Recommendations

The critical factor in award recommendations in the SCA can be summed up by the text of a typical Award of Arms scroll in the Kingdom of Lochac:
...whereas it has come to Our notice that through diverse, great efforts you have considerably enriched Our Kingdom, it is thus Our pleasure to reward you...
Those first few words tell you why award recommendations are important: "whereas it has come to Our notice". Despite Their wisdom, Their Majesties are not omnipotent. They rely on the members of Their populace to provide them with recommendations of those whose achievements and activities have made them worthy of recognition. The same applies for Their Highnesses, your territorial Prince and Princess (if you are a member of a Principality), and Their Excellencies, your local Baron and Baroness (if you are a member of a Barony).

So, you've decided that someone needs to be recommended for an award. You can either recommend them for a specific award, or you can simply give your reasoning to the relevant Crown or Coronet and leave the decision up to them. If you decide to recommend them for a specific award, you'll first need to work out which award that is. Each Kingdom will have the list of awards made available in a different way. In Lochac, the best source is the Canon Lore website. When you've worked out which award it is, you should also make sure that they don't already have it (in Lochac, this too is done via the Canon Lore website).

There are a multitude of ways in which you can deliver your recommendation to the Crown, but of all of them, I'd recommend two things. First, do it in the way that's preferred by the recipient, because having it in Their preferred format makes it easier on Them, and if They're in a better mood, They're more likely to be receptive to your recommendation. Second, unless They've specifically requested otherwise, it should most likely be done in writing, because They already have enough things to remember, and your recommendation might be easily forgotten.

When writing a recommendation, remember to focus on the positives, describing the good works done by the individual. It can be tempting to point out that they've been skipped over, perhaps muse upon politics causing them to be ignored... but this is more likely to do harm than good. So too with expressing negative opinions about the fact that they've yet to receive this award, whatever it is. Extol their virtues and fields of endeavour, and convince the Crown that they are worthy of whichever award you've chosen to recommend them for.

Finally, remember that you don't actually need to have received the award in question before submitting a recommendation for someone else to receive it. Indeed, you don't even need to have received an Award of Arms before recommending someone to the Peerage - however keep in mind that the Peerages, along with any other Polling Orders which may exist in your Kingdom, are a complicated matter, and one on which I am yet to qualify to speak in any great detail. The shorter version is that the members of an Order consider possible candidates, and recommend them to the Crown. Recommendations from the populace for the Peerage are more akin to suggestions to that Order that a particular individual may be worth considering.

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