VFA-in-Exile Bulletin
November 15, 2021

1. LAST FALL PRACTICES THIS WEEK
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, usual schedule this week. Even if you missed the first 3 All-Level classes, you are welcome to come to the last one if you wish (good opportunity to turn in your rented equipment).

We will then take a break for the holidays, from Thanksgiving through New Year, as covid rates are expected to go up over that time period with holiday travel. I'm doing some holiday travel myself, visiting family, Dec 13-27. My plan is to get tested 5 days after returning, in time to have results and hopefully be cleared to resume fencing on Jan 6. I encourage those of you who are traveling or gathering over the holidays to do something similar (i.e. quarantine and/or get tested before fencing resumes).

I would love to see you all back for the winter session! Here again are the tentative plans (like everything these days, subject to change...)

Charlotte Central School (possibly with some dates at Vt Commons School)
Thursdays, Jan 6 to March 10 (w/March 17 as a snow day make up):
7-8:15 pm Level 2/3 Class
8:15-9 p.m Open fencing/bouting time

Tuesdays, Jan 11 to March 15 (w/March 22 as a snow day make up)
7-8:15 pm Level 1 Class, with concurrent open fencing/self-directed practice for Squaddies
8:15-9 p.m Competitive Squad practice with me

Bridge School, Middlebury
Wednesdays, Jan 12 to March16 (w/March 23 as a snow day make up)
6-7:15 p.m Level 1 class, with concurrent open fencing from 6:30 on for experienced teen and adult fencers
7:15-7:45 p.m Bouting time for everyone
7:45-9 p.m Level 2/3 class

For the winter session, covid vaccination will once again be required for all fencers age 12+. For those in the 9-11 year old age group, I expect you to be fully vaccinated by the end of January in order to continue to participate. I am expecting a big Level 1 class this winter (a good thing!), and with a lot of bodies exercising together in indoor spaces, vaccination is our first line of defense. We will also continue to wear our face cloaks until community transmission rates drop significantly, and to stay home/get tested if not feeling well.

Fees for winter session:
Classes: continue to use your punch card, and buy a new one ($60 for 5 punches) when ever it runs out
Club dues: $10 for the winter, due at the first practice in January. This is your contribution toward our gym rent
Equipment rental: IF I have equipment for you (see below), $20 plus a new deposit check at first practice in January. If you buy your own set (and I really hope you do), $0.
US Fencing Membership: If you fenced this fall, you are already a member and don't have to worry about this. If you have not fenced since July or before and are rejoining, please renew your membership on line before your first practice.

2. NOTES FOR EQUIPMENT RENTERS
Final reminder: all rented equipment must be turned in by Thanksgiving to get your deposit back. I will be bringing the deposits with me to practice this week, so for most of you the most convenient thing will be to turn in the equipment at the end of practice on Monday or Tuesday (I'll take care of cleaning it). Not participating in class and just want to drop by and drop off equipment? That is fine at any practice (including Thursday competitive squad in Shelburne). If I am busy when you arrive, just leave the equipment in the big red duffel bag on the stage, and take your deposit check from the envelope labeled "equipment deposits". Not comfortable coming indoors for covid reasons? Email me and make arrangements to drop off at my car before or after practice. Drop off times at the practices not convenient for you? Email me and make arrangements to return equipment to my house (near Snake Mt trailhead in Addison) any time.

For the winter, here is how I am planning to handle equipment rental:
-First priority will go to new Level 1 students who register by December 5. If you are a returning fencer, please do not ask about winter equipment rental before then.
-After December 5, any equipment I have left unreserved will be available first come first served (so, to both returning fencers and to late registrants for Level 1 classes). There is no guarantee I will have equipment left in your size. Your best bet (and a big favor to the club) would be to buy your own (great holiday present for the fencer in your life!).

Last week, I gave the link to this recommended ("advanced") set from Absolute:
Foil package for $192:
https://www.absolutefencinggear.com/shopping/product_info.php/products_id/598/cPath/62

Epee package for $204
https://www.absolutefencinggear.com/shopping/product_info.php/products_id/600/cPath/62

For some reason (supply chains? we can blame everything on that, right?) I could not find Absolute's economy ("standard") sets on their website last week, but they seem to be back. The economy set is pretty much what you rent from me (their cheapest back zip jacket, basic mask and glove, but you do have a choice of pistol grip if you want one, and it comes with an underarm protector). These sets would be fine for class use, and a cost savings for a child who is likely to outgrow it before wearing it out.

Economy foil set for $153
https://www.absolutefencinggear.com/shopping/product_info.php/products_id/592/cPath/62_63

Economy epee set for $164
https://www.absolutefencinggear.com/shopping/product_info.php/products_id/594/cPath/62_63

Confused about what to buy? Ask!

Getting some new equipment, need a bag for it? I have a used golf travel bag with wheels which fits fencing equipment nicely. Free to someone making the upgrade from renting to owning equipment - first one who asks gets it!

3. SUPPORT THE VFA, BUY SOME CLUB SWAG
Your club dues only cover a portion of our gym rent (and rents are going up - the Bridge School is more expensive than Mary Hogan, and CCS has to pay for their renovations). Our club has a long history of offsetting our expenses by fund raising, including a major winter fund drive leading up to the Middlebury Open tournament. I do not know if we will be able to hold a Middlebury Open this year (maybe in the spring? we'll see). In the meantime, you can help (and show your club spirit) by buying some club swag!

2020 Champlain Cup t-shirts: A collector's item, hot off the press for the Middlebury Open That Wasn't, gold shirt with beautiful Adam Glazer drawing of modern fencers superimposed on a historical swashbuckler. I had been saving the last few for some fencers who requested them, but those folks seem to have vanished from the scene so I would like to sell them off. They will look much better on you than in my closet. Here is what I have left: 1 XL, 2 M, 3 S, and 2 XS (Youth L). $15 each

VFA Club Socks: Green and black soccer socks (knee high, suitable for wearing with fencing knickers) with gold VFA logo. Available sizes: S (mens shoe 3-6), M (mens shoe 6-9), L (mens shoe 9-12), XL (mens shoe 12+). $10 each

VFA Club Patch: Sew on patch with club logo-traditional place to put it is the back arm of your fencing jacket, but they look nice on backpacks, sweatshirts, etc. $3 each, or FREE if you buy one of the remaining Champlain Cup t-shirts!

I will bring this stuff to practice this week (stocking stuffers!). Please pay with check payable to VFA, or exact change (I do not carry change). If you want me to reserve something specific for you, just email and tell me what.