VFA-in-Exile Bulletin
November 1, 2021

Reminder of schedule:
Monday 7-9 p.m, Cornwall town hall, All-Level Class 7-8:15, open fencing 8:15-9
Tuesday 7-9 p.m, Shelburne town gym, All-Level Class 7-8:15, open fencing 8:15-9
Thursday 7-9, Shelburne town gym, Competitive Squad practice (see below)

Don't forget, as classes roll along: whenever your punch card runs out (i.e. you have attended 5 weeks of class), please buy another one for $60. It's honor system, I am not keeping track of each of you. You do not have to pay for equipment rental or club dues again until January, and you do not have to pay USFA dues again until next fall.

Newbies (i.e. this fall's Level 1 fencers): did you miss last week? Just come a few minutes early this week and I can show you what you missed.

I realize some of the younger kids with earlier bedtimes have to leave right after class, but I want to encourage more and better use of the open fencing time for those who can stay up later. Last week, only a handful of fencers really got in some good bouting after class (nice job by Kirin, Eve and Elise in Cornwall, and Paxton, Lucas, Simon, Francis, Karen and Ciaran in Shelburne). To me, bouting is the most fun part of fencing! This week, I will organize a bouting game for younger and less experienced students after class (even if you can't stay until 9, stay for 15 minutes or however long you can stay). I would really love to see the more advanced teen and adult fencers organize themselves for some bouting with each other, with electric equipment for those who own it, but if you don't all have working electric, just fence dry (non-electric fencing is called "dry" for some reason).

Apologies again to those who showed up last Thursday - the town rec coordinator assures me that we had the reservation (it was the basketball players who weren't supposed to be there), and we do not have to pay for that night.
Results of the Squad survey: so far, we have 7 definites (plus me) for the remaining November Thursdays (barring illnesses of course), plus a few maybes. Seems like last Thursday was just a combination of illnesses (not covid, person has been tested), conflicts and waiting for booster shots. It's important to me that we keep the CS program going, even with reduced numbers, so that newer and younger fencers have something to aspire to and more experienced fencers have something to return to when they are ready to resume indoor fencing. Plus, I'm having a lot of fun coaching you Squaddies! So, although we are not quite the "Northern Horde" of the past, I am going to take a chance on the next 3 Thursdays and keep our (slightly pricey) reservation in Shelburne. I want to remind Middlebury teen and adult fencers that you are welcome any time at CS practices if you are willing to drive (unfortunately, at present, we do not have enough experienced teens and adults attending regularly to offer CS in Middlebury).

Looking ahead to winter: when I start a new round of Level 1 classes, I will not have an entire separate evening to schedule for Competitive Squad, but I don't want to leave you entirely to your own devices either. So here is what I am thinking:
Tuesdays: 7-8:15 Level 1 class while CS does bouting on their own. If you enjoy the bouting games we have been doing, I will create a games library for you, so you can select some games on your own.
8:15-9, coached part of the CS practice (more games and challenges with coaching from me).
Note: if we can start Level 1 class at 6:30 on Tuesdays, I can eke out an additional half hour with you (may not be possible if we are back at CCS and town rec basketball is using the gym. In fact, if basketball is in the gym until 7:30 as they have been some years, all practice times are pushed back a half hour later, with CS ending at 9:30).
Thursdays: 7-8:15 Level 2/3 class, 8:15-9 open fencing (please use this time, Squaddies! get in more practice and set the example for the less experienced fencers, show them that bouting is fun and an important part of their training).

Middlebury winter plans: I am still debating whether to offer a single night of fencing in Middlebury (Wednesdays, at Bridge School, back to back L1 and L2/3 classes), or to try to add a second night (Mondays, in Cornwall) which could possibly be a CS practice. I will be surveying you later this fall to see what the interest level is.