Bulletin for the week of March 2, 2020

1. SCHEDULE FOR REST OF WINTER 2. MIDDLEBURY OPEN - FOOD DONATIONS AND HELPERS NEEDED 3. SIGN UP NOW FOR THE MIDDLEBURY OPEN-ESPECIALLY UNRATED FENCERS AND YOUTH 1. SCHEDULE FOR REST OF WINTER Below is the schedule for the remainder of the winter term. All remaining practices in both towns will be 6:30-9 p.m, including Thursdays.

Mon 3/2 Level 1/2 class #9 (of 10)
Wed 3/4 Level 3 class #9 (of 10)
Mon 3/9 AT BRIDGE SCHOOL, Level 1/2 class #10 (on bout observation and reffing skills)
Wed 3/11 At Mary Hogan School, Level 3 class #10 (Bouting games)
Mon 3/16, Wed 3/18 and Mon 3/23: As of now, these are unused make up days (we have had no snow days in Middlebury this winter). If not needed, we will have some special bonus events TBA
Wed 3/25 NO fencing, unless there are a heck of a lot of snow days between now and then.

Tues 3/3 NO fencing (elections/town meeting)
Thurs 3/5 Level 3 class #8 (of 10)
Tues 3/10 Level 1/2 class # 9 (of 10)
Thurs 3/12 Level 3 class #9 (of 10)
Tues 3/17 Level 1/2 class #10 (on bout observation and reffing skills)
Thurs 3/19 At Charlotte Congregational Church. Barring any more snow days, this is an unused make-up date, and can be used for a special bonus event TBA (a smaller event, as it is at the church)
Tues 3/24 At CCS but in the main gym (across the hall from our usual room), Level 3 class #10 (Bouting games). NOTE: Last Level 3 class is on a Tuesday, because there is not room at the church on 3/19 for bouting games.
Thurs 3/26 NO fencing (CCS not available due to school play)

Spring break, no fencing March 25 through April 6
In the spring, we drop down to one night per week in each town (Tuesdays in Charlotte, Wednesdays in Middlebury). I offer only Level 1 and 2 classes. If you are currently in Level 1, you are invited to continue on to Level 2 this spring. If you are currently in Level 2, please come back for more - the Level 2 classes run on a 20 week cycle (more or less) so that the spring classes will not be exactly the same as the winter ones. Experienced Level 3 students and Squaddies: I encourage you to come for open fencing, do a lot of visiting back and forth between Middlebury and Charlotte, and to participate in Level 2 classes on a free, drop-in basis whenever you want to (free, because I expect you to help coach the less experienced students you partner with!).

Spring classes start April 7 in Charlotte, April 8 in Middlebury. Now is the time to spread the word to your family and friends! Invite your friends who might be interested in trying fencing to drop in to one of the last classes to observe (note: lesson #9 is much better to watch than lesson #10), and to come to the spectator-friendly Middlebury Open. For every friend you bring in to the spring Level 1 class, you get $5 off your own class fees.

The 27th annual Middlebury Open is coming up on March 14-15 at the middle school. As the final part of our fundraiser, we would like to offer lots of delicious lunches and snacks to hungry fencers and their fans. The following are always big sellers: baked goods, soups or hot dishes (bring in a crockpot to keep them warm-we do not have kitchen access), sandwiches or wraps.

Thank you to Barbara Greenwalt, our Cafe Queen for the second year in a row. She can't do this alone - she needs lots of volunteers to bring food and to help sell food, t shirts and raffle tickets. She has set up an on-line sign up sheet, which you can (make that should...) use to list what food you plan to donate (so we can have a good range of offerings on both Saturday and Sunday), and to sign up for a shift at the concession stand (great job for parents, partners, siblings of fencers or if you are only fencing on one of the days you could do this on the other). Please sign up as soon as possible, so that Barbara is not left hanging, wondering whether we will have enough food and helpers.

Cafe VFA sign up sheet (for food donations and/or to volunteer):

Also, have you been selling raffle tickets? The more we sell before the tournament, the better the raffle will do. Grand prize is a pair of good quality wireless earbuds, with lots of other fun prizes, winners need not be present. Here again is the link to print raffle tickets:

For those keeping score at home, here are the latest numbers on the fund drive so far:
Sponsorships $1775 ($1225 in business sponsorships, $550 in individual or family off-line donations)
Crowdfunding Campaign $970 ($1005 pledged, minus GoFundMe's cut)
Total: $2745 (doing better, thanks to a flurry of late donations!)

A reminder of our goals: $4000+ for the entire drive.
Rough guess at additional income:
T-shirt profit (after printing costs, assuming 70 shirts sold at $15 each): $325
Raffle - depends a lot on how many tickets you all sell in the next couple of weeks! In a good year, the raffle typically brings in about $700
Cafe - depends on you all donating good food items, and also on good attendance at the tournament. Typically, brings in about $200

Among the many goals of the Middlebury Open (celebrating all things fencing in Vermont, raising money, throwing a fun party, offering a spectator-friendly event with exciting high-quality open event finals) perhaps the most important goal is to welcome new fencers into the Green Mt Division tournament community. Without new competitors joining our league, it will wither and die. The Middlebury Open is the best opportunity you will have for the rest of the season to get involved. While there is one more E-under and one more Youth event after this one, plus some other fun stuff (a D-under, Foil-Epee Doubles and the Ticonderoga Challenge), no other tournament is designed to support and welcome newcomers quite the way the Middlebury Open is. Also, for teens and adults, this is the last strictly Unrated event of this season (E-under is also good for newbies, but Unrated is even better and includes womens events). It is also the only tournament this season that includes veterans events for fencers over 40 (you are very welcome to participate in both Veteran and Unrated events).

Thus far, only one first-time teen or adult competitor from the VFA has signed up (yay Rodney Yeh!), and 2 first-time youth (hurrah Cullen and Paras!). I and my large team of volunteers work very hard to put on the Middlebury Open every year. We do it because we really want new fencers in our Champlain Cup league and we want to give you a comforable way to learn about and enjoy tournament fencing. If you appreciate the work we put into organizing tournaments and you want entry-level events for youth and unrated fencers to continue to be offered locally, please demonstrate that by signing up and participating.

I know it can be intimidating to try something challenging for the first time, especially as our culture has trended toward valueing "success" (whatever that is) over enjoyment of the journey and the learning process. I have noticed with every year that passes that it gets harder to convince new students to try competition for the first time - could it be that people have started to think that they don't deserve to participate unless they are "winners" (whatever those are)? That would make me sad. Years of experience have shown me that those who get involved tend to become more enthusiastic about fencing and have more clear goals, while those who never try tournament fencing tend to drift away. I respect you more for setting your feet on a life-long learning path (hey, I'm still on that path after 40+ years of fencing) than I do for achieving any kind of instant success. End of philosophical rant...here is how to sign up:

Teen and Adult fencers (born 2006 or earlier)
-If you are not already a competitive USFA member, you need to make an upgrade. This costs $65 and is good for the rest of the season (all memberships expire July 31). You can do this on line (www.usafencing.org, click on "membership" and log in). If you do not know your membership number or password (often true for first timers), the easiest way to upgrade is to phone the national office at 719.866.4511 (it's in Colorado, 2 hour time difference). Tell them you wish to upgrade from noncompetitive to competitive membership, and that your club is Vt Fencing Alliance and your division is Green Mt. They will do it for you instantly over the phone, and also help you reset your password so you can manage your membership on line in the future.
-Sign up for the events you wish to participate in on AskFRED (link below). Definitely Unrated (choose mens or womens foil or epee - or do both weapons, they are on different days). You may also want to get more fencing in by signing up for open (senior mixed) events (as long as you don't mind fencing more experienced competitors), or for veteran events if you are old enough (I definitely recommend that - vet events are fun and friendly, and it's great to play with kids your own age!).

Youth fencers (born 2007 or later)
-You do not need a competitive membership for these. Just sign up and come!
-Sign up for the events you wish to participate in on AskFRED (link below). Youth events are labeled "Y10Y12". You may do foil, epee or both (they are on different days).

Loaner equipment is available for all newbies who need it, and who sign up in time.

Please, please, please....sign up sooner rather than later. I use the AskFRED lists to plan for equipment and refs. Please don't leave me scrambling because you waited until the last minute to sign up. Also, you get a discount for signing up by Monday March 10. Not sure whether you can make it? Sign up now, and take your name off the list if you change your mind.

Entry fees for the Middlebury Open:
-Anyone who raises $50 or more in sponsorships and/or raffle ticket sales before the tournament - free!
-Those who sign up by midnight Monday 3/10: $15 for your first event of the weekend, plus $5 per additional event
-Late registration (after 3/10): $20 for your first event of the weekend, plus $10 per additional event

To register, get directions, see the event times, see who else is coming:

New to using AskFRED? Get directions here: