Welcome to our interview with the Kingdom Authorizations Clerk, THL Ursula of Rouen. This is the fourth in our series of interviews with Kingdom officers, to learn what they do.
How long have you been in the SCA and what was your first event?
9.5 years. My first event was St. Swithin’s Bog Three Day in 2006.
What made you decide to stay?
I’m usually a shy person, but when I found the SCA, it was like everyone I met was an instant friend and I no longer had to be shy around them. Throw in the history, activities and excuse to play dress-up that the Society provides and I was sold! The people are definitely what keep me coming back, though.
What does the Auth Clerk do?
To put it simply, I print the authorization cards for all the fighters, fencers, and equestrians in the Kingdom. How that works is when a marshal runs an authorization, be that a new auth, additional form, or renewal, they have that fighter fill out a form called an Authorization Form and then sign it. It makes its way to me and I make sure it’s complete, add the information to the fighter database, make a card, send it to the fighter, and keep the processed form on hand for four years. I also work very closely with the Kingdom marshals on various issues and ideas they may have about new forms, processes, or in the rare event a card gets pulled. My office used to do much the same thing for Marshal Warrant Cards, but the Earl Marshal has since moved away from cards for marshals and uses a roster. I maintain all of the authorization forms, the fighter database, the physical records and signed waivers as well.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Paper cuts and deciphering handwriting. Many times when forms are being filled out it’s by someone in armor pressing on whatever surface they can find at the time with whatever writing implement they might have available, so they can be difficult to read which results in name mispellings or minor mistakes in addresses. Both are easily fixed if brought to my attention.
What do you like best about your job?
I love being able to support the armies in this unique way. I fenced when I first joined the SCA and really loved it until a knee injury made me give it up. This job allows me to feel like I’m part of the action a bit. It’s a lot of fun to interact with the fighters and marshals at events, and even over the phone and via e-mail. My absolute favorite part is printing a first card for a youth fighter and getting to welcome a new generation to the AE army.
Does the office have a budget from Kingdom?
The Authorizations Clerk office does have a small budget. It covers all the supplies needed for the office which is mostly paper, printing ink, laminating sleeves, envelopes, and stamps. It will also cover things like a new lamination machine should the one I’m using finally decide to go on strike.
If funds are needed, how can people help?
The easiest and most fun way to support my office is by sending me stamps. The post office will issue “Forever Stamps” that will always work even if the price of standard postage goes up. I did the math when I first got into office and it cost about sixty-five cents to print and mail one authorization card, and a stamp cost forty-nine cents now making the stamps about 75% of my cost per card. Many people send self-addressed stamped envelopes with their completed forms, which is never required but always appreciated. If you would like to support my office and through it the Æthelmearc Armies, please consider dropping a book or roll of stamps in the mail to me. The design doesn’t matter, as long as they are “Forever Stamps”, this is where leftover holiday and wedding stamps come in really handy. A campaign was started by my predecessor a while back called #SendUrsulaStamps that resulted in over a thousand donated stamps, which has saved my office and with it the Kingdom coffers hundreds of dollars during my tenure. I haven’t had to buy a stamp in two and a half years, but I am putting quite a dent in them and do appreciate each and every stamp donation that comes in.
What do you like best about the SCA?
I love the people! I love that I can turn my phone (and stress) off when I get to an event and just have fun with my friends. There is always something to do, always someone to meet or get to know, and always fun to be had. Inspiration lurks behind every door in the SCA and especially our faire Kingdom, and I hope that never changes.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
Yes! Although I intend to seek another term as Clerk, I have a call for letters out for my office that will be up in January of 2016. If you have any interest in doing what I do, please contact me and I’d be happy to talk to you about it. You can read the job description here. Letters are due to the Crown, the Kingdom Seneschal, the Earl Marshal, and myself by 12/31/2015.