Bulletin for the week of February 10, 2020


As long as Mother Nature doesn't interfere, practices should be at the usual times in the usual places this week. Remember, if bad weather strikes, I will use this mailing list to notify you of any cancellations. There are some changes in our schedule over the next 2 weeks, for Addison and then Chittenden county school vacations.

Middlebury schedule: Feb 10 and 12, 6:30-9 pm Mary Hogan School
Monday Feb 17 (Level 1/2) and Wednesday Feb 19 (Level 3) - we will meet at the Bridge School (1469 Exchange St, Middlebury). Please wait quietly in the library until the dance class that precedes us ends. Do not enter any other parts of the school.
Monday Feb 24 - back at Mary Hogan (for the rest of the winter)

Charlotte schedule: This week (Feb 11 and 13) and next week (Feb 18 and 20), at Charlotte Central School
Tuesday Feb 25 (Level 1/2) and Thursday Feb 27 (Level 3) we will meet at the Shelburne town gym, 7-9 p.m both days
Tuesday March 3: NO fencing in Charlotte (both CCS and Shelburne are in use for town meetings)
Thurs March 5 (Level 3): back at CCS, 6:30-9 (basketball should be over by then)

Congratulations and good luck to Peter Wolosinski and Will Nop, who will be representing Vermont at the national Junior Olympics in Columbus, OH this Sunday! The Jr Olympics are also the Junior and Cadet National Championships and the final qualifying tournament for junior world team, so the competition will be fierce. This is an exciting opportunity for our young fencers to learn, grow and take on a real challenge. If you will be 13-19 years old next season, I encourage you to consider trying out for Jr Olympics at our annual qualifier in November. Perhaps you will be on next year's team! Want to follow our fencers in Columbus? Go here and select "Live Results" from the sidebar: www.usafencing.org/2020-junior-olympics-athlete-info

I will be traveling to Jr Olympics with Peter and Will, leaving on Friday. I am due to return on Monday morning, so if all goes well, I will be back in time to teach class on Monday Feb 17. But since we have a tight connection and it is winter: I am leaving lesson plans, equipment and the Bridge School key with Deb and Adam. If I do not make it back in time, they will teach the Level 1/2 classes, with help from the remaining Competitive Squad fencers.

Over the next few weeks, I am planning to give all the Level 1 students a chance to try electric fencing. Fencing with electric equipment is really fun, and gives you immediate feedback as to whether you are actually hitting or not. I will bring some club electric equipment, and show you how to use it during open fencing after our regular class. I am going to split the class up by age, and also skip the school vacation week in Middlebury as it is in a smaller gym and there may be some absentees. Here is my planned schedule:

Monday 2/10 (tonight!): Andy, Todd, Silas, Katina
Tuesday 2/11: Rodney, Alex, Samantha, Alan
Tuesday 2/18: Owen, Joe, Charlotte
Monday 2/24: Paras, Kenny, Maddox, Michael, Viktoria

I encourage you to plan on staying after class and participating!

As of today, here is what we have already raised.
Crowdfunding campaign: $812 ($865 pledged, minus GoFundMe's cut)
Off-line sponsorships and donations: $650
Total so far: $1462
Amount we need to raise before March 14 (the Middlebury Open): at least $2500

Last donation to the crowdfunding campaign: one 3 days ago, and before that, 6 days ago. As of today, our link has been shared 189 times, but only 14 people have donated to the campaign. Remember, there is more to successful crowdfunding than passively sharing a link. If this is going to work, you have to really pitch it to your friends with a personal note about why the VFA fund drive is a worthwhile cause, and follow up with several reminders (that the campaign ends March 14, that small donations are very welcome, etc).

Business sponsors to be listed on the t-shirt, so far, with fencer who got them: Redstone Research (L. Hall), Depot Farm Supply (D. Hogan), Middlebury Eye Associates (P. Wolosinski), National Bank of Middlebury (please let me know whose sponsor this was- they did not mention it when they mailed me a check). Also Forth n' Goal Sports (V. Fox) and Little Pressroom (A. Glazer) will be listed in return for giving us printing discounts. Number of business sponsors on last year's Middlebury Open t-shirt: 22. I know that it is getting harder to find businesses who will give to a club without charitable tax status, and harder for those outside of Addison County, but a drop from 22 to 6 businesses seems extreme. If you tried to get sponsors and came up empty-handed (and I know several of you have), thank you for trying (did you ask about raffle prize donation?). But for the rest of you, please please please, don't assume this is someone else's job. Especially if you live near Middlebury, where local small businesses have a history of supporting us - now is the time to get out there and ask! Deadline for printing names on t-shirt: listed as Feb 13 on the sponsor form, but I can extend it to Feb 18 since the Midd Open is later this year. After that, the shirts go out to the printer and it will be too late to get the names on them.

Thank you to Karen Cutler, Rob Zimmerman and Laura Fetterolf, who have volunteered to run the raffle this year! Hopefully, they will soon announce what the grand prize is. The drawing will be March 15, winners need not be present. They are looking for lots of fun raffle prizes to give out, so if you have something to donate, please give it to one of them (or to me to pass on to them). We typically have a wide range of prizes, some fencing-specific (which will go to fencers) and some that could be for anyone. Good prizes for this raffle should appeal to ages 9+, since that is the age range of our club (i.e. not stuff for babies or very young children). If you have artistic/handcraft skill, you could make something. Or put together a gift basket of foods that don't need to be refridgerated, or personal care items, or anything you think others might enjoy. Gift certificates from local businesses are also always nice (restaurants in particular are often happy to give them, as they know the recipient will bring their friends). The other part of raffle success is of course selling lots of tickets! It's not too early to start. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. Print as many as you want, cut them up, sell them to everyone, bring money plus filled-in tickets to any of the raffle organizers or to me.

Once again, here are the important links for the fund drive.
Crowdfunding Campaign

Sponsorship Form

Raffle Tickets

4. ANNOUNCING THE 6TH ANNUAL MIDDLEBURY SUMMER CLINIC I am excited that we are going to once again offer a weekend of training and fencing this summer. The last 5 have been a blast, with each guest coach bringing a fresh perspective.

Where: Mary Hogan School, Middlebury
When: July 24-26. 7-9 pm Friday, 9 am to 9 pm Saturday (with a 4 hour afternoon break for swimming and dinner), 9 am to 3 pm Sunday

Guest coach
Paul Sise, Master of Epee/Prevot of Foil, founder and head coach of Pioneer Valley Fencing Academy, Easthampton MA. Paul is the author of "A Basic Foil Companion" and "A Basic Fencing Companion" which are published by SKA Swordplay Press. In 2011 he was named to the Certification and Accreditation Board (CAB) of the United States Fencing Coaches Association and has served as the board's Chairman. Paul was also a member of the USFCA's 2017 and 2019 Coaches Academy staff.

Local coaches Viveka Fox and Geoff Butler
Teaching assistants TBA

For who: Teen and adult fencers of any skill level except rank beginner (if you are taking Level 1 now, you are good to go), and advanced youth fencers (ages 11-12 with 2+ seasons fencing and some competition experience), may register immediately. 11-12 year olds with less than 2 years experience need permission from Viveka (priority will go to older/more experienced fencers, but focussed and mature younger students may be admitted if there is space). Minimum age is 11. Note that, unlike many fencing clinics and camps, this one is very welcoming to adult and veteran fencers, and we anticipate having a good contingent of adult participants.

How many: We need a minimum of 20 registered by June 1 in order to run the clinic. Maximum is 20 fencers per weapon (so up to 40 total), to ensure plenty of personal feedback and coaching for all students.

Cost: $150 if 20-28 fencers attend, $125 if we get 28-40.

How to register:
1. Signing up on AskFRED does not guarantee you a place (deposit does), but lets me know quickly how many and who is planning to come, and lets you see who else is coming for the purpose of carpooling and hospitality, and lets me advertise the clinic beyond the VFA email list. So go ahead and put your name down!
2. Email Viveka at vfox@gmavt.net and request a registration form
3. Mail registration form and $100 NONREFUNDABLE deposit, checks payable to VFA, to Viveka Fox, 1379 Mountain Rd, Vergennes, VT 05491, or turn it in to me at practice. I must receive your check by June 1 to guarantee that the clinic will be held and to save your place in it. Balance will be due at the clinic itself. If clinic is cancelled due to under-enrollment, or if it is full and there is not room for you, I will return your deposit.
4. Places for teens, adults, and advanced youth ages 11-12 (those with 2+ years fencing and some competition experience) will be filled first come-first served. If all places are not filled by June 1, youth fencers (ages 11-12) with less than 2 years experience who have applied will be admitted if I feel they are ready for this type of intensive experience.