VFA Bulletin
September 11, 2023

The VFA Weekly Bulletin is back, and that means it's time to start fencing again!

Tuesday 9/12 7-9 in Charlotte, Wednesday 9/13 7-9 in Middlebury, Thursday 9/14 7-9 in Charlotte. "Preseason" sessions, open to all returning fencers. We have a club tradition of starting the season with everyone, of all ages and skill levels (except rank beginners), working out together, before we split into competitive and recreational fencers, different age groups and skill levels, foilists and epeeists, etc. This week's practices will use just non-electric (a.k.a "dry") equipment. We will be doing some high-intensity fitness circuits (don't be scared off, they are actually kind of fun and you can pace or push yourself according to your own ability), some footwork, some basic bladework review drills, and a bouting game or exercise. You will need to bring a set of practice equipment, and a water bottle. If you want to wear shorts for the fitness and footwork parts of the evening, please bring sweatpants or fencing knickers that you can quickly pull on over the shorts (without having to go change) for the actual fencing. You do not have to punch your card for these practices, they are my free gift to the club! Club dues (and new punch cards if needed) will be needed for Week 2, but if you'd like to avoid the rush and pay this week, that's always helpful.

You MUST renew your US Fencing membership before your first practice, if you have not already done it (our insurance requires it). Unless you first joined fencing after April 1 (i.e. the spring Level 1 class), or you are a life member, your membership expired on July 31. For most VFA fencers, an Access level membership (the least expensive option at $29 per year) is perfect.
How to renew your membership:
Go to usafencing.org, click on "Membership" and "Join or Renew". Log in to your US Fencing account, and you will be able to renew your membership on line. Don't know your user name/password or membership number? You can look up your member number this way: Go to usfencing.org. Click on "Membership" and select "Current Member List". You can either run a search for your name (make sure you enter it exactly as when you registered) or use the drop-down menu to select Green Mt Division, select "all members" and click on "Allez" to get a list of past and present GMD members, then search for your name. Even if you need to renew, you can find your member number and use it to reset your password. Don't want to do that? You can also renew with a phone call to the national office at 719-866-4511. They can take your credit card over the phone, as well as reset your user name and password so that you will be able to make future upgrades or renewals on line. When renewing, list your club as Vermont Fencing Alliance (or you can list it as your secondary club if you wish to represent another club as well), and your division as Green Mountain (even if you live in New York).

No rental equipment is available this week (although I will bring a few practice weapons for those who need them). However, if I am holding used equipment for you, I will bring it this week (I believe that includes some foils and cords for Brennan, a child's set for the Lodhas, and a set for Eddy - anyone else out there I am forgetting?)

To summarize:
-All returning fencers are welcome, all ages and skill levels, including those who are planning to repeat Level 1
-NO rental equipment is available this week. You must have your own equipment to participate
-You must have a current USAF membership.
-These practices are free! No need to punch your card.

Week 2: Is once again for returning fencers only.
Tuesday 9/19, 7-9 Charlotte. First Competitive Squad practice (and the only one all season that I will be available to lead all evening). In addition to lots of actual fencing (bring your electric equipment!), we will do some goal setting and talk about what we want self-directed CS practices to look at (I really want your feedback). This is a perfect time for new Squad members to join, and for those on the fence (pun intended...) to learn more about the program and see if it would be a good fit. The Competitive Squad is open to all teen and adult fencers (born 2010 or earlier) who want to train hard and participate in tournaments this season. There are no try-outs. If you are mature enough to focus for 2 hours without direct coaching, to be a supportive team member, and are enthusiastic and motivated, you are invited! Middlebury based fencers are very welcome to participate, and I would love to see a regular carpool from the Middlebury area!.

Wednesday 9/20, 7-9 in Middlebury. First Level 2/3 class of the season, followed by open fencing. Whether you just started fencing last season or have been fencing for years, this class is for you. (Note: once beginners start, the time frame will shift later to accommodate them). If you have electric equipment, bring it for open fencing.

Thursday 9/21 7-9 in Charlotte. First Level 2/3 class of the season, followed by open fencing. Whether you just started fencing last season or have been fencing for years, this class is for you. If you have electric equipment, bring it for open fencing. Once again, my apprentice Colton Henty will take on coaching of the Thursday Level 2 group (intended primarily for youth fencers and the less skilled younger teens), which will sometimes do the same drills as Level 3 (the more skilled younger teens, plus all older teens and adults) and sometimes do modified activities. Colton is coming off a successful summer as a camp counselor, where he got lots of experience in working with kids, and will be attending his second coaching clinic in October.

Please start using your punch cards to pay for classes Week 2. You can buy a new one any time, $65 for 5 punches. If you attend two or three practices the same week (for example, Competitive Squad and Level 2/3) you only need to punch once. Punch cards are honor system; I rely on you to keep track and purchase a new one when needed (you do want to keep your friendly neighborhood fencing coach in business, don't you?). You can keep track however you like, but what many people do is keep the card in their fencing bag and cross out the classes when they arrive. The cards never expire.

Club dues are also due starting Week 2 if you haven't already paid (and again in January and April). Dues remain the same as last year: $15 for repeat Level 1 students ($1 for first time Level 1 students, to accommodate the higher USAF membership fee), $25 for Level 2/3 students, and $50 for Competitive Squad members. Not sure if you are joining CS? It's okay to pay the $25 Level 2/3 dues and then pay the difference later if you decide to join. Club dues are collected 3 times a season, in September, January and April.

Week 3 and for the rest of the season: Our full, regular schedule.
Tuesdays, Charlotte
7-8:15 p.m Level 1 foil class
7-9 p.m Competitive Squad practice, with me joining when I finish with L1

Wednesdays, Middlebury
6-7:15 pm Level 1 foil class
7 pm (earlier if you want to fence more, especially for electric fencing): Level 2/3 students arrive, peer-led warm up
7:15-7:45 pm Open fencing/bouting time (for everyone)
7:45-9 p.m. Level 2/3 foil and epee class

Thursdays, Charlotte
7-8:15 p.m Level 2/3 foil and epee class
8:15-9 p.m Open fencing

So far, we have 2 new students signed up in Charlotte (1 teen, 1 youth) and 5 in Middlebury (2 teens, 3 youth). I would love to have more (and especially, to have more adults and teens, who are key to sustaining the club - but I won't say no to more kids also). Please help in the following ways if you can:
-Tell your friends about fencing. This is our #1 form of advertising.
-Post a blurb on your local Front Porch Forum. Let me know which forum (so we don't duplicate) and I'll send you a blurb to copy and paste.
-Hang a poster in your community. I can send you a pdf to print out and hang.
-Several prospective club members are planning to visit and observe the preseason practices, so be sure to be friendly and welcoming if you see them, ask if they have any questions, tell them why you enjoy fencing, etc.

The 2023-24 Champlain Cup league kicks off on October 14, with the 2023 Fall Foliage Classic at UVM! Events include open foil, epee and saber, and unrated foil and epee. Separate mens and womens unrated events will be held if we have at least 6 of each gender. Unrated events are perfect for first time competitors, those recently aged out of youth events, and all other unrated fencers (if you are not sure what a rating is, you don't have one). All events are open to fencers born 2010 or earlier (for kids born 2011 or later, the first youth event will be in December).

To register:

You will notice that AskFRED got a much needed update and reboot under new management (yay!). The first time you log in, you may be prompted to reset your password. The website has a new look to it, although it's fairly intuitive and does all the things the old AskFRED did. If this is your first tournament, you will need to create a new AskFRED account (again, pretty straightforward) and then you will be in the database for all future tournaments.

Entry fee for all GMD tournaments: $10 registration fee + $10 per event, with a $15 late fee if you fail to sign up at least 5 days in advance. Fees are payable at the door.

Fall Foliage Tournament Organizer: Anne Crocket
Assistant organizers: Karen Cutler, Michele Wheeler

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