VFA Bulletin

March 7, 2022

1. REGISTER THIS WEEK FOR THE MAPLE MADNESS TOURNAMENT
Hey teen and adult fencers (born 2008 or earlier), don't miss the Maple Madness tournament on March 19 in Middlebury! E-under events are perfect for newer competitors, but newbies are also very welcome in open events. If you sign up by March 14, you get the discounted entry fee ($15 for one event or $20 for two). Price goes up to $20/$30 for late registration. The sooner you sign up the better - early sign up is extremely helpful to me in planning the event. You may participate in one morning and one afternoon event, but not two events that start at the same time.

Register here:
https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=49980

Loaner electric equipment will be available to those who need it who register by March 14. Payment is at the door, and there is no penalty if you need to cancel (we want you to stay home if you are sick or were recently exposed to covid). All competitors must have Access US fencing membership or better. If you are still a noncompetitive member, you will need to upgrade on line or with a phone call (719-866-4511) at least several days prior to the tournament. The cost to upgrade from noncompetitive to access status is $15, and is good through July 31.

2. TOURNAMENT VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
It takes a big team of volunteers to run a successful tournament. For the Maple Madness tournament I am looking for the following:
a. Meet managers (collect entry fees, run tournament software). Several of our experienced meet managers who were so helpful at the last tournament can not make this one. Time for some new volunteers to step up and help! This is a great task for a parent or partner of a competitor to do. I am looking for a couple of people for the morning events and possibly a different couple of people for afternoon events.
b. Foil refs - I am looking for several rated foilists who are not fencing in open epee or E-under foil to help me ref E-under foil (in other words, stay after your open event is finished and ref).

Competitive Squad fencers (and anyone else willing to help) - count on coming early to set up if you are fencing in open foil, or staying until the end to clean up if you are fencing in open epee. Part of the reason the CS program exists is to create a core group of enthusiastic competitors who are ready to help out with hosting our local tournaments.

Looking ahead to the Middlebury Open on April 9-10, we'll need an even bigger team of volunteers. In addition to meet managers and refs, we need the following:
Cafe King or Queen: organize refreshments for sale over the weekend
Raffle Coordinator: organize the raffle drawing

I anticipate both the food sales and raffle will be smaller and lower key than in the Before Times, as we learn to flex our fundraising muscles again.

We will need donations of:
a. Food to sell - baked goods, snacks (not sure if we want to do hot dishes as we have done in the past - I'll leave that up to the people running it to decide)
b. Raffle prizes - handcrafts, gift certificates or baskets, fencing specific prizes, or just general nice stuff anyone might want (no white elephants please). I have already put my pandemic-aquired crafting skills to use and woven a scarf in VFA-inspired green and gold colors! If you have something to donate, give it to the raffle coordinator (once we have one) or to me to pass on to that person.

Our in-house artist Adam Glazer is currently working on a fabulous t-shirt design to comemmorate the return of the Middlebury Open. It will feature a plague doctor wielding an epee in one hand and a vaccination syringe in the other.

So, what will you volunteer to do? Please let me know, especially if willing to be a meet manager or foil ref for Maple Madness.

3. MUSINGS ON MASKS
With the Omicron outbreak receding and hospitalizations in Vermont going down, we are all wondering when it will be okay to fence without a face mask. This is not an easy question to answer for several reasons:
-The rise of at-home testing means that actual case numbers are under-reported on the Vt Department of Health website.
-We have club members who are over 65, or have underlying health issues, or who live with children too young to be vaccinated or with elders. We need to consider our most at-risk club members in any decision we make about masking.
So the answer is not quite as clear as "when our host schools stop mandating masks, we can take ours off". Nor is it "never, we will always have to wear masks". I suspect that at some point, we will reach a consensus that it's safe to make mask-wearing optional, and that, as covid surges seasonally or with new variants, we may move in and out of requiring masks over the course of the next few years. I am interested in how you feel about this, and especially in feedback from those of you with a medical or scientific background - what metrics should we use to determine when it's time to take off our face cloaks?