VFA Bulletin
February 14, 2022

1. Schedule and other general announcements
Happy Valentine's Day, fencing lovers!

Charlotte schedule notes: Town rec basketball has ended, so our practices will be 7-9 p.m from now on (7-8:15 class, 8:15-9 open fencing). We do not stop for the school vacation week (instead, we take a break in late March between our winter and spring sessions), however, we will be meeting at Vermont Commons School (75 Green Mt Drive, S. Burlington) on February 22 and 24, while CCS is closed.

Middlebury schedule notes: We do not stop for the school vacation week (instead, we take a break in late March between our winter and spring sessions). We will meet as usual at the Bridge School every week in February.

Competitive Squad notes: In honor of the upcoming Charlotte Open, I thought we would have a mock tournament during practice this Tuesday. We will fence a pool round, possibly some DE bouts if there is time, using scoresheets, timers, and reffing for eachother. No pressure and no prizes, but hopefully a good warm up for Saturday. It would be helpful for everyone to arrive on time so we can make pools (probably just one big pool in each weapon, but if there are more than 9 in a weapon, we'll make 2 pools).

Punch card reminder: I rely on you and the honor system to make a living as your friendly neighborhood fencing coach. When your punch card is used up, please remember to purchase a new one. Each card is good for 5 weeks worth of classes - if you come more than once in the same week, you only have to punch it once. This week will be the 5th Level 1 class in Charlotte, the 6th Level 1 class in Middlebury, the 5th Competitive Squad practice, and the 6th Level 2/3 class of the winter. So if you bought a punch card the first week of winter and have come regularly, you probably need a new one soon. They are $60 each, good for all VFA classes, and never expire.

Do you have friends who might be interested in fencing this spring? Now is a great time to tell them about the VFA, and to invite them to come watch a practice or a tournament to learn more about the sport. I encourage you to share my email (vfox@gmavt.net) and the club's web address (vtfencingalliance.org) with prospective fencers. We grow mainly by word of mouth! Spring classes start in early April, and as we rebuild from the pandemic, we definitely want lots of new club members.

2. Charlotte Open
Three cheers for all of you who have signed up for the Charlotte Open, especially those coming out for their first tournament or first official sanctioned tournament! If you haven't signed up yet, you still can (but please don't wait much longer, I really need to know who is coming for planning purposes). Despite some families being away due to the school vacation, it looks like we will have good turn out for most of the events. The one event that does not yet have enough to run is Unrated Epee (5 are signed up, at least 6 are needed). Are you an unrated or new epee fencer? You could be the hero who signs up to be the 6th unrated epee fencer! (or 7th or 8th...the more the merrier).

Later this week, I will use the AskFRED registration list to email all of the competitors with detailed information about participating in the tournament. Please be on the lookout for that (check your spam box, whitelist askfred)

Click here to sign up, see who else is coming, and receive emails with any updates regarding this tournament:
https://askfred.net/Events/moreInfo.php?tournament_id=49863

New to using the AskFRED website? Instructions are here
http://www.vtfencingalliance.org/old_posts/HowToUseFRED.htm

Don't forget, teen and adult fencers (those in unrated or open events) must have at least Access membership with US Fencing. I notice that a number of you have already successfully upgraded. The fee to upgrade from noncompetitive to Access status is $15, and you can do it on the usfencing.org website, or over the phone at 719-866-4511. The important thing is to do it soon and not wait until Friday to try it, as the website is not always reliable or easy to navigate and the small central office does not always have someone present to answer the phone. Once you have upgraded, you are all set to compete in local tournaments through July. Youth fencers (born 2009 or later) do not need to do this step, you can participate in local youth events with a noncompetitive membership.

3. Upcoming tournaments - mark your calendars!
Middlebury Union Middle School is finally willing to open their doors to weekend gym rentals again. I have tentatively requested March 19 for a maple-themed tournament (looking for name suggestions!) for teens and adults, and April 9-10 for the long delayed 27th Middlebury Open (youth, veteran, unrated and open events - a complete festival of fencing!). I am still awaiting confirmation from the school for the dates as a well as updated rental fees, but for now, you might want to leave your calendars open for those dates. Also planning on another Ticonderoga Challenge outdoor epee tournament the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend at Fort Ti.