Awards. . . .

Mon Mar 20 12:23:00 PST 1995

	 I would like to address the question of awards.

	 It is the responsibility of the officers and landed nobility to
	 recognize and encourage those who contribute to the Society,
	 whether by service or artistic endeavors (which are not mutually
	 It is far more useful to examine the statistics regarding the
	 numbers of Sable Thistles given for certain categories, as an
	 indication for the numbers of people who are involved in them.

	 Since everyone is expected to attend SCA events in costume, there
	 are many who have shown skill in this area.  Most individuals who
	 do costuming, are content to produce sturdy and serviceable
	 garments.  Those few who are truly interested in the subject, will
	 go on to research period designs and techniques of construction
	 and ornamentation.
	 Those who take the next step are likely to receive an Iris of
	 Merit.  Those who EXCEL, may receive a Laurel.

	 Unlike the necessity of proper garments, it is quite possible to
	 spend a "lifetime" in the SCA without ever feeling a need to pick
	 up a pen, and learn calligraphy.  Those who have the interest and
	 the skill are likely to receive the appropriate recognition as they
	 refine their art.

	 When I receive a recommendation for an award for an individual, and
	 then subsequently request the award from the Crown, it is always
	 with the understanding of the need to recognize publicly, our
	 members for their contributions.
	 Oddly, the wishes of the recipient may not be the most important
	 consideration (few REALLY don't want a public acknowledgment).
	 It is far more demoralizing to see someone slave away for years
	 and be unappreciated, than to see an unwanted recognition occur.
	 It is important that the POPULACE, as a whole, see hard work and
	 effort be recognized.
	 I would certainly never ask if a person was going to progress to
	 "Laurel Quality" work before requesting a Sable Thistle.

	 If you really don't want the Sable Thistle, just smile politely,
	 and stick the medallion in your sock drawer.  Refusing an award can
	 be a "kiss of death."  If you turn down a Sable Thistle, it is
	 likely that you'll not get a chance to turn down anything else.

	 The statistics are quite fascinating, but it will take some
	 strange twists of correlation to produce some meaningful results.
	 Relating numbers of Thistles to popularity of categories of
	 involvement is most certainly valid.  Trying to correlate it to
	 likelihood of receiving a Laurel for it in the long run is most
	 certainly not.

	 [langj at]

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