Lochac · Board of Directors · From the Newsroom · Service · Advice

Goody Advice: New volunteer, Award-a-holics, and more

Do you have a burning question about a situation that happened in the SCA and want to ask Goody? You can write to Goody at this form. Questions may be truncated for publication, and submitted questions may not be answered.


Dear Goody, 
I’m a brand new SCAdian, and I want to help out as much as I can. The only problem is that people in my local group and my kingdom won’t let me help. I volunteered to embroider the new royal pillows, and I was told no, even though I’m an award-winning embroiderer outside of the SCA. I asked if I could help in the kitchen for events, but I got turned away. I promise that I’m just really excited to get in and help, but no one is letting me do it.  What do I do?
-Excited to Assist!

Dear Excited,

First, let’s take a nice deep breath. Being new is hard! You are working to break in to a fairly tight knit community and sometimes if you lead with your arts and offers swinging, it will scare the hell out of people. You see, no one is supposed to be that excited to do an onerous project or hard work so you might want to start by dialing down the volume on your enthusiasm just a wee bit until you get your feet wet in this new community. First you have to meet people and let them know that you are A) sane B) pleasant or kind or interesting to work with C) competent in the arena where you have offered your help and D) someone they want to work with and E) not going to make them completely nuts with drama.

Have you ever been part of a group and someone new has showed up with a really big personality or a scary amount of enthusiasm and everyone shies back from the new waves in the pond? You may seem a bit like a boulder tossed in to placid waters if you come off to strongly. So, back up a few paces and wade in a little slower.

If you want to embroider, put together a photo portfolio of your work and start meeting the string people on a local and kingdom level. Show them what you can do and volunteer for a small task first. Complete that task in a timely manner with high quality results and play well with the rest of the community. If this is within your capabilities, they will want you back. Instead of showing up and trying to get deep into a kitchen with what is probably a very tight knit crew making feast, instead start by offering to do simpler tasks that make their lives easier. Offer to help with dishes, vegetable chopping and other entry level tasks. 

Show people that you are reasonable and able to perform the service you have offered by your deeds, not just your excitement. Each time you come back and help, your word fame will grow and people will learn to trust you when you make an offer of assistance. With trust comes acceptance and greater responsibility. Just ease in and you will find your welcome once you prove that you can live up to your offers.

Hope this helps,

-Goody Advice


Dear Goody,
I’m really worried about my friend. I think she’s an Awardaholic. She volunteers a ton, which is just part of why she’s fantastic, but if her contributions aren’t formally recognized in court with a scroll, it really seems to take a toll on her mental health.
I want to help her get back to enjoying the SCA for more than just getting gold stars. Do you have any suggestions?
-Concerned

Dear Concerned,

Well, this one is a bit tough, because everyone has their own language in which they best give and receive  appreciation. Some volunteers best thrive on public thanks and rewards for their work. It’s just how our weird brains are wired. This is one you need to address directly, as a friend. Gently, so gently, let your friend know why you are concerned, how much you respect and appreciate them, and offer to help them find a way to reward themselves because you want them to stay for the long journey.

A service or project scrapbook or blog can help document projects or achievements and help your friend build a body of work portfolio. This is something that they can look back on later and remember all of their hard work and successes and record who thanked them, gave them a token, or if they received an award for their efforts. Even just a journal or photo gallery that can be kept on a digital photo frame at home can serve as an incredible reminder of the difference on person has made and how they have been appreciated already. When you have this to look upon all the time, it’s easier to see how you are being thanked without awards and what difference you have made.

Hope this helps,

-Goody Advice


Dear Goody,
I tried to propose a US Board of Directors Meeting drinking game, but people told me I might die of alcohol poisoning. How do I tell them I’m not an alcoholic, just Australian?
– Mulling over my cider

Dear Mulling

In Australia specifically, play this drinking game with a Coopers Pale Ale and not an espresso martini, even if you live in Melbourne, because you will die. Get your cappuccino in the morning to save yourself some hangovers and regrets. 

As for your reasons, you don’t need to explain. We understand all too well. 

Hope this helps

-Goody Advice

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