Unto glorious Æthelmearc do Timothy and Gabrielle, Prince and Princess send warm greetings,
Prior to moving here, the SCA had lost much of its magic for us. Once we got to Æthelmearc , we found ourselves once again enjoying all the wonders that the Society has to offer. But we understand that isn’t the experience that everyone has here. Like any large organization it can be easy to feel left out or left behind if you aren’t part of the “in” crowd. We have always endeavored to treat everyone, regardless of rank, with courtesy and kindness, and are pleased that so very many of everyone in this kingdom does the same.
However, with many thousands of members, sometimes personality conflicts arise. Members with different ideas of how things should be compete with one another and typically, one comes out on top. This can cause many fine people to become disillusioned and leave, taking with them a little piece of our magic. We have solicited for ideas, and continue to do so, as to what we can do to bring people back into the fold. As you can imagine, we received quite a bit of feedback. There were many ideas, many of which (big surprise) were in direct conflict with one another. Setting those aside for now, there was one large, over-arching theme, the cliquish nature of the organization makes our warm welcome, while not the sole exception, far from the norm, even for people whose first experience with the society is in Æthelmearc .
There are several steps we would like to implement to try and correct this situation. First and simplest, for the duration of our reign, we would welcome those with Peerages into the Grant level order meeting along that track Knight/Gage, Pelican/Millrind, Laurel/Fleur, Mod/WS. Further, we invite those who have the equivalent Grant level award from other kingdoms to join us in our order meetings. We welcome PMs discussing this matter, as we will be considering adding this to kingdom law. These members have valuable contributions, and why should we exclude them simply because they have not had the good fortune to spend their entire SCA career in Æthelmearc?
Second, and more difficult, concerns the single largest facet of the cliquish nature of our organization. There is no polite way to say this, so we will be blunt. There are more times than any of us care to admit that some of the more strong willed members of our polling orders can effectively and thoroughly block someone who is deserving of recognition in perpetuity. We clearly don’t know every personality conflict, we haven’t been present at every conversation where someone spoke rashly, or when a sentence was taken out of context. In the past, We have given awards to gentles we are familiar enough with to recognize that they have been blocked unfairly. As King and Queen, we had that right, and as Prince and Princess, we soon will once again, but not everyone is afforded the opportunity to correct injustices they perceive. So we would ask our citizens this: if you feel someone has been unfairly victimized in this fashion, make your best case to us. We certainly will not grant all of these requests, but we will honestly listen. It is easier to go into an order meeting and discuss a candidate if we understand some of the background and personality conflicts before people voice their opinions. Just please do this prior to our order meetings, so we have time to look into the background, and your case.
Finally, we want to see members of our polling orders actively fostering others. If you are a knight, or would like to be, go out and train newer fighter, whether they are your squire or not. If you are a Laurel or a Fleur, why wait for an Æcademy? Run a workshop or a guild. In short, mentor people. We should be shepherds, nurturing folks as they grow, rather than serving as goaltenders keeping them out of our Orders.
In service to Æthelmearc,
Timothy and Gabrielle
We miss the days of high honor and chivalry. We miss the days before there was “crown calabration” and back when if you felt the hit, you took the hit. We miss the days when garb didn’t have to be oerfect, especially if you could not afford perfect. We miss the says when rhe gentles (all of us) worked hard for everyone to have a great event, not because service was expected. We miss the days when new folks were encouraged to have fun and try things, not dig in and find ways to get awards. We miss the days when you aspired to have the qualities that the peerages represent, not expecting to be rewarded for that, but because ot made the dream a little more real. Most of all, we miss the time when the SCA was a great and grand hobby, not a lifestyle that takes presidence over modern life.
Nicco de Medici (amka Nick Florentine) said:
I am not a member of your kingdom but applaude you in your efforts to make things better in the SCA. Some of the issues you spoke of have been concerns brought up on the Facebook page I run called the SCA Unofficial Complaint Desk, where I let people talk openly without fear of being deleated.
In Merideas our current King and Queen Bartollema and Oda had made great strides to do many of the same things. Maybe something that might help in your quest is to have a Royals meeting one a month on Skype or Facebook video to discuss issues and seek solutions between each other.
Emme Attewater said:
Many moons ago, I worked an East Kingdom Twelfth Night feast kitchen and while bussing tables met a new person who came to see what needed to be done and picked up a mop. Crown Prince Timothy was swabbing the decks — and smiling.
And then I met the Crown Princess. You two … I can’t say enough that the people on the periphery are impressed.
Rat Bastard said:
I do believe that I like your thoughts here. Keep it up.
Isabel Rose Lytle said:
I’m not from Aethelmearc though I often come to its aid when its Debatable Lands are threatened (sometimes I’m on the side doing the threatening. Sorry). It seems to me that it would be fitting for Their Highness Timothy and Gabrielle to ascend new Thrones as Grand Poobah’s of the Knowne World for a period not less than 1 year. BEHOLD Knowne World! There are those among us who would make you better for all!
May Your coming reign be filled with love and peace…except for 2 weeks in August.
The dishevelled Norseman
Xaviar the eccentric said:
Wow you have addressed a problem that is not new …I have circumvented one or two of those blockers helping several people get an award or two..this is not easy…slot has to do with ” customs”. That have de eloped over the years. “Can’t get an AoA (other awards too),. They haven’t been in long enough” haven’t done enough … dthe polling says no. The early days didn’t have pollings they just gave awards. More fun less Politics…. I personally gave up on awards when I saw people get awards who had done far less than others but had the connections or did it in a more visible way… so vivat to you Sir Tim. (Hell I have always liked you. Lol
Xaviar the eccentric said:
You were always awesome
Aedythe of Arbroath said:
I don’t live you Aethelmearc but Your Highnesses are very perceptive. Full Marks.
Celia Stabler Vencil said:
Do you give permission for this to be included in SCA newsletters from other kingdoms?
Peter Ross said:
It’s refreshing to read something from a prince and princess that everyone down in the trenches already knows full well.
When one sees person after person get awards for little more than being part of the “in crowd” it gets frustrating quickly.
And for those of you who say “well you shouldn’t be in it for the awards” I say; you are correct. However, when someone like a prince and princess say this, people take notice and it starts a discussion. When it’s someone like myself, it’s dismissed out of hand as an example of “sour grapes”, you quickly see that the alphabet soup does carry with it some leverage.
It wasn’t always like this. I first joined the SCA in 1982. And while it wasn’t perfect (nothing ever is) I cleaned up after events with Knights and Laurels. These days, they’re far too busy meeting or talking to those with shiny crowns and coronets to help out.
The difference is staggering. The dream, to some, has become a nightmare.
David Torres said:
In Trimaris, we hold those values true. I’m a Honorable Lord.
For all my SCA LIFE I’ve worked ,lived ,& enjoyed, along side my peers. I feel very loved and respected by all my Trimaris family.
COME LIVE THE DREAM WITH US
SINCEARLY H.L. Manuel DIAS Torres
John Trombley said:
I moved to Aethelmearc eight years ago, it is refreshing to see Royalty addressing this issue, it is why I only attend Quad fence and go home. with this new level of awareness and attempt to do something about it, I may come back and participate more.
Baron Daavin DeLa Baliene
Patricia Schmidt said:
So very well said, Your Highnesses! I would like to ask if I may share your words in my Kingdom of Ansteorra? We all need these reminders for time to time and the assurance from those in positions to take action to make corrections can and will do so. YiS, Jalali of Salamis, OL