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scribeThe following article was written by Her Majesty Avelina.

Here in the East, anyone can write in anyone else for any award at any time.  This article will address what should go into an awards letter.  More about the awards recommendation process is covered in this article.

Non-polling Awards
First, we’ll tackle the Non-polling Awards.  The East has several of them.  East Kingdom Law defines each one and you can read about them here (page 23-26):

Other awards that are non-polling include an Award of Arms (AoA), Grants of Arms (GoA), and Court Baronies.  The Society defines those awards in this document (page 34-35):

When writing award recommendation letters, it is best to use plain English and good grammar.  Many people try to write overly forsoothly which can lead to some confusion.  Let’s look at the two examples below.

Example 1
“Susan joined our group a while back and haz been SUPER useful.  She’s always doin’ stuff and helpin’ people.  She’s even taken on one of our groups officer positions and no one has complained, so I guess she doin’ ok.  And she makes the best fudge ever and always has it at troll at our events.”

Example 2
“I would like to recommend Olga Bogsvegier (Susan Smith) for an Award of Arms.  Olga joined our group in the spring of 2010 and has been an active participant ever since. Our shire hosts about two events a year and she has been helping with those events as clean-up crew and gate keeper.  She took on the position of deputy exchequer in the fall of 2011 and has been doing an excellent job.  She is a delight to work with. When she is not working at our local events, she can be found on the fencing lists, honing her skill with a rapier.”

As you can see, the second example is much easier to read and clearly and concisely tells the Royalty the amount and kinds of service the candidate has performed.  It’s a good idea to keep your recommendation letters focused on SCA related activities.  Almost everyone loves sweets, but it’s not really relevant to an SCA award.  The most important thing to remember in a non-polling award recommendation is that you are trying to explain to the Royalty why the person deserves the award you are writing the candidate in for.  Including non-relevant information just distracts the Royalty from the point you are trying to make.

Polling awards
Polling awards include the Maunche, Silver Crescent, Tyger’s Combattant, Golden Rapier, Sagittarius, Chivalry, Laurel and Pelican.  Example 2 above is also a good start to a polling award letter, but the write up will want to include as much detailed information as possible since the Orders will have their opinions on the candidates solicited by the Crown.

The polling order letter is a bit trickier to write because some folks do not like to see a resume type listing and others do like to see more of a bullet list.  There are certain things that are useful to include depending on the award.  For instance if Olga was being written in for a Silver Crescent, you would include more information, such as events worked and how long they have served as an officer.

“I would like to recommend Olga Bogsvegier (Susan Smith) for an Award of Arms.  Olga joined our group in the spring of 2010 and has been an active participant ever since. Our shire hosts about two events a year and she has been helping with those events as clean-up crew and gate keeper.  She took on the position of deputy exchequer in the fall of 2011 and has been doing an excellent job.  She is a delight to work with. Olga has served at our Spring Revel as clean-up crew (2010), gatekeeper (2011) and autocrat (2012) and at our Fall Feast as set up and clean-up crew in 2010 and 2011.  She is currently working on our Shires’ Fall Crown Tourney bid where she will be autocrat.”

When writing a Maunche recommendation, it is good to mention specific projects and documentation and possibly even classes taught.  For the martial orders, you should mention specific martial achievements in the write up.  You can read more information about the Orders of High Merit here (page 22-23).

Peerage Order write ups would be similar to the above, but would encompass a larger body of work.  You should also describe what qualities you feel the person has that makes them a leader (Peer of the Realm) in your eyes.  You can read more about the Peerages here (page 33-34).