How Are Pelicans Chosen?
It is commonly said that Pelicans are not made, they are recognised.
What Do You Need to Qualify?
The two main points under consideration by the Order are Peerage Qualities and Body of Work.
Potential Pelicans will have the Peerage Qualities required by Corpora. Formally, these are as follows:
Essentially this means that Peers do not break the rules governing the SCA (Corpora) and show respect to the Crown and Kingdom. They are noble and courteous to everyone and not just those they think are important. They demonstrate and support the ideas of the SCA -- eg, they dress pre C17th with accoutrements and avoid discussing computers at feasts. They teach. They assist those who are unable to assist themselves. They display renaissance knowledge including dance, music, heraldry, period board games and an idea of how combat works in the SCA. They should be active in the SCA.
Of the Peerage Qualities, some are more important than others -- you can be the greatest chess player in Lochac, but if you lack courtesy and willingness to teach, don't start embroidering those pelicans on your cloak! Conversely, if chess has never been of much interest to you, but you've got the Lochac Order of Grace and folks fight to get you to organise their events, don't worry too much about how to become a GrandMaster overnight.
Who Makes the Decision?
The Pelicans as a group decide if we would like someone to join our Order, and make a formal recommendation to the Crown that the candidate be recognised. The ultimate decision and invitation rests with Their Majesties.
The candidate is asked if he/she wishes to join us; not everyone says "yes." There is no obligation to become a Peer, and candidates may take as long as they like to decide. If the candidate declines, it's not set in stone -- they can change their mind later and we can all discuss it again. If the candidate accepts the invitation, the next step is to decide when and what sort of ceremony they would like in being elevated to the Order.
How Do You Get Noticed?
If you are keen to become a Pelican, consider talking to some Pelicans whom you respect about your goals and what you can do to achieve them. Even if you don't want to enter into a formal protégé relationship, you will find it useful to have a mentor or two with whom to sound out ideas or to discuss any issues or frustrations you meet. If you don't feel that you know any of the Order well enough, contact the Pelican Clerk, who can put you in touch with someone suitable.
What Happens Then?
Once you come to the attention of the Order, your name will come up at a Pelicans' Meeting. The Order will collate and assess your peerage qualities and body of work, table any letters of recommendation, and generally determine what level you are at, any assistance you might need to progress, and continue to keep an eye on you. If it is thought appropriate, you will be placed on our Watch List; later, when you are deemed ready, you will be formally Discussed. This process may take some months or years, depending on what you are doing and how you are doing it.
Please note, you won't be told about any of this. The candidate lists are highly confidential and any leaks are taken very seriously. And just because a Pelican suggests you do x or y, don't take it as an indication you are under consideration -- they may just be trying to be helpful!