Bulletin for the week of March 9, 2020

1. SCHEDULE
2. THE MIDDLEBURY OPEN IS THIS WEEKEND!! DON'T MISS THE VFA'S BIGGEST EVENT OF THE YEAR!.
3. MIDDLEBURY OPEN HELP NEEDED - ALL HANDS ON DECK!

1. SCHEDULE
All remaining practices will be 6:30-9 p.m. There are a bunch of special end-of-term events, and invitations to attend practices you normally don't, so read through this carefully to see what applies to you.

This week:
Mon 3/10, BRIDGE SCHOOL, Middlebury Level 1/2 class #10
Tues 3/11, Charlotte Level 1/2 class #9
Wed 3/12, Mary Hogan School. Middlebury Bouting Games Night. While this is technically Level 3 class #10, I would like to invite ALL teen and adult fencers (including Level 1) from both the Middlebury and Charlotte class to attend, as well as youth fencers who are already in Level 3 (Charlotte fencers, please let me know you are coming if you use rental equipment, if you have your own you can just show up). We will play a series of bouting games, giving you special challenges, handicaps if unevenly matched, and things to focus on. This is a great warm up for the Middlebury Open!
Thur 3/13, Charlotte Level 3 class #9

Rest of the winter:
Mon 3/16, Mary Hogan School, Middlebury. Special Event: In-house Foil Bash. Who is invited? Everyone, from Level 1 through Competitive Squad, youth through veteran age groups, who would like to fence foil in a fun, informal round robin of some sort (exact format and rules tba once I see who is coming). As we have no unused make-up dates in Charlotte, this and the epee In-house bash will both be held in Middlebury. Charlotte fencers are very much encouraged to come! Just let me know if you rent equipment so I can be sure to have enough for everyone (if you have your own, just show up).

Tues 3/17, Charlotte Level 1/2 class #10

Wed 3/18 (Mary Hogan School) and Thurs 3/19 (Charlotte Congregational Church): Special competitive squad teen events, by invitation (I will email those involved, with more details)

Mon 3/23, Mary Hogan School, Middlebury. Special Event: In-house Epee Bash. Who is invited? Everyone, from Level 1 through Competitive Squad, youth through veteran age groups, who would like to fence epee in a fun, informal round robin of some sort (exact format and rules tba once I see who is coming). Never fenced epee before? No problem, I'll do a little teaching as needed. Charlotte fencers are very much encouraged to come! Just let me know if you rent equipment so I can be sure to have enough for everyone (if you have your own, just show up).

Tues 3/24 Charlotte Bouting Games Night. While this is technically Level 3 class #10, I would like to invite ALL teen and adult fencers (including Level 1) from both the Middlebury and Charlotte class to attend, as well as youth fencers who are already in Level 3 (Middlebury fencers, please let me know you are coming if you use rental equipment, if you have your own you can just show up). We will play a series of bouting games, giving you special challenges, handicaps if unevenly matched, and things to focus on. Yes, please do come to both Bouting Games nights. Last chance to fence before our spring break!

March 26 through April 6, spring break, no fencing. Spring classes start April 7 in Charlotte, April 8 in Middlebury. Note: Middlebury Level 1/2 classes shift to Wednesday nights in the spring. There are no Level 3 classes in the spring, but the club is open for Level 3 and Competitive Squad fencers to come in and fence with each other.

Now, read on for all the details on the season's big event, the 27th annual Middlebury Open, this weekend!

2. THE MIDDLEBURY OPEN IS THIS WEEKEND!! DON'T MISS THE VFA'S BIGGEST EVENT OF THE YEAR!.
The Middlebury Open is a huge festival of fencing, with something for everyone. We will be throwing open our doors and welcoming fencers from all of the Green Mt Division clubs, as well as NH, MA, NY, CT, and Quebec. The Middlebury Open is many things: a chance to show off what the VFA is all about, a celebration of our growth and success over the years, the culmination of our annual fund drive.....but most of all it's a party, so don't miss it!

COMPETING IN THE MIDDLEBURY OPEN
First of all, please note, it's at the Middlebury Union Middle School (48 Deerfield Lane), not Mary Hogan School.

If you would like to compete, sign up by midnight tonight (March 9) and you will save $5 or more on your entry fees. Youth and Unrated fencers especially….please please please sign up sooner rather than later. I need to know how many of you are coming, as far as possible in advance, in order to plan for referees and equipment. I really would like to see more youth and unrated fencers taking advantage of the effort we are making to organize events for you - you are the future of the Green Mt Division, but only if you come out and play!

To sign up, and to see who else is coming: https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=45053 New to using AskFRED? Look here for directions: www.vtfencingalliance.org/old_posts/HowToUseFRED.htm

Event start times (make sure you are present at least 30 minutes before the posted time).
Saturday March 14
9 a.m Youth foil, Veteran foil
11:30 Unrated mens and womens foil (separate events if we have at least 6 fencers of each gender, otherwise combined)
1:30 pm Open foil

Sunday March 15
9 a.m Youth epee, Veteran epee
11:30 Unrated mens and womens epee (separate events if we have at least 6 fencers of each gender, otherwise combined)
11:30 a.m Open saber
1:30 pm Open epee

Experienced competitors, please use this week to test and repair your personal weapons and body cords. If you are a rated competitor, you should not rely on club equipment this weekend (it will be needed for youth and U fencers). Please bring at least 2 working body cords and 2 (more are better!) working weapons to the tournament.

Foil events are on Saturday, epee and sabre on Sunday. There are 4 types of events:
-OPEN (i.e. Senior Mixed): These are the marquis events of the weekend. They are open to all teen and adult competitors. The Open Epee event is almost full, so sign up right away if you haven't already done so.
-UNRATED events are for unrated fencers only, so they are perfect for rookie and first-time competitors, including current Level 1 students. As long as we have at least 6 of each gender, we will hold seperate mens and womens unrated foil and epee events so that both a man and a woman can earn an E rating. Loaner equipment is available for all club members who preregister. At present, we have 12 foilists and 15 epeeists signed up for U events. I would love to see lots more newbie competitors showing their appreciation for the refs and organizers who volunteer their time to put on U events, by showing up and enjoying them!
-VETERANS events are for "mature" athletes, born 1980 or earlier (i.e. approximately age 40+, although it goes by birth year, not your age on the tournament date). These are some of the most fun events of the weekend, if you're old enough to play with us! Veterans events welcome both seasoned competitors and adult newbies (you may enter both the veterans and U event on the same day). Currently we have a large epee event (26 signed up as of today), but it would be nice to see a few more veteran foilists too (8 signed up so far).
-YOUTH (i.e. Y10Y12) events are for kids born 2007 or later (i.e. approximately age 12-, although it goes by birth year, not your age on the tournament date). These events do not require competitive USFA membership, and loaner equipment is available. These are open to all kids, even those who just started fencing this winter. This is a great chance for kids to try electric fencing, meet kids from other clubs, and experience competition in a fun and supportive atmosphere. At present, we have 6 signed up for youth epee and 9 for youth foil. I would love to see more kids come out and participate in these.

You may not fence in two events that start at the same time (i.e. unrated epee and open sabre). If you are an unrated veteran fencer, you could conceivably fence in as many as 3 events per day (veteran, unrated and open) if you have the energy for it!

Entry fees if registered on AskFRED by midnight tonight (March 9): $15 for your first event of the weekend, $5 per additional event. If you wait until tomorrow or later to register, the fee goes up to $20 for 1st event/$10 per additional event. Please pay by exact change, or check payable to VFA. Entry fees are free (zero zilch nada!) for anyone who raised $50+ in sponsorships or who turns in $50+ in raffle ticket sales by Thursday. Good reason to print and sell raffle tickets! (see below)

Note that all events except Youth do require competitive USFA membership. You can upgrade from your noncompetitive membership on-line in advance (at www.usfencing.org, click on "membership") by paying the $65 additional dues. If you don't know/remember your usfencing log in, I think you will find it quicker and easier to make the upgrade over the phone (the website is not terribly user friendly and has a habit of locking people out). Call the national office (in Colorado, 2 hours earlier there) at 719-866-4511. They can take your credit card over the phone and make the change immediately. If asked, your division is Green Mountain, and your club is Vermont Fencing Alliance. All memberships expire on July 31, but there will be several more GMD tournaments to enjoy this season after the Middlebury Open (and as many out of state tournaments as you want to go to), so take the plunge and get involved!

COMING TO THE MIDDLEBURY OPEN AS A SPECTATOR
Spectators are welcome at the Middlebury Open, free of charge. We try to make this the most spectator-friendly event of the year. There will be bleacher seating and a free program booklet explaining the rules and how to watch fencing. If you don't feel quite ready to compete this year, you can still come check it out. If you are a competitor, by all means invite your friends to come watch! The most exciting bouts (finals of the open events) will take place around 4:30-6 p.m. Saturday (foil), 1-2 p.m. Sunday (sabre) and 5-6:30 p.m. Sunday (epee).

3. MIDDLEBURY OPEN HELP NEEDED - ALL HANDS ON DECK!
The Middlebury Open is a huge team effort. We need all hands on board for a smoothly run tournament and a successful fundraiser. Some wonderful folks have already stepped forward, but we can't rely on the same people to do these tasks year after year. We always need new fencers (and parents of junior fencers) to come on board and learn the ropes, so that you can take a turn running things in future years. Some of these tasks (referees, armorer) require specific skills, while others (meet managers, raffle, cafe) are easily learned by nonfencing parents, spouses or friends. Here are the volunteer tasks that need to be done:

CAFE VFA
Huzzah and thank you to Barbara Greenewalt for stepping forward to be this year's Cafe Queen! She needs lots of volunteers to bring food and to help sell food, t shirts and raffle tickets. As of today, not one single person has signed up to bring food or to help with the concessions (is there an issue with permissions for the Google Doc?). Now, I know you will do it, and you won't say no if Barbara looks you in the eye and says "I need help with the concession stand now!", but really, why do that to your poor Cafe Queen? Sign up today - use the link to the sign up sheet below. Please don't leave Barbara hanging, wondering whether we will have enough food and helpers.

Cafe VFA sign up sheet (for food donations and/or to volunteer):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cswkBvZLDIrUJEhiNvUjWElvZywWqXIi8WY1p64u3Ps/edit#gid=0

RAFFLE AND T SHIRTS
-Raffle. Thank you to Karen Cutler, Rob Zimmerman and Laura Fetterolf for organizing the raffle. The grand prize will be a pair of Jabra wireless earbuds. How cool is that? We have a range of other great prizes as well, some fencing-related and some for anyone. But we can always use more prizes, so if you have something to donate, please bring it to one of the raffle czars or to me this week. The drawing will be Sunday afternoon, winners need not be present. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. Here again is the raffle ticket page to download, print, cut up and sell (or buy):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1863gk7tdm5d9TAZGxQLD8oe3W-CTf0GQ/view?usp=sharing
The more we sell in advance of the tournament, the better we will do. If you turn in $50+ worth of raffle tickets before Thursday, your Middlebury Open entry fees are free.

-T shirt. Our in-house one man Art Department, Adam Glazer, has once again created a fantastic t-shirt design, featuring two modern fencers, with an 18th century duelist as a shadow on the wall behind them. We will have a range of sizes from Youth L to adult XL. They will be available for $15 each at the Middlebury Open, and when they are gone, they're gone. I can not reserve shirts for anyone, so if you are not going to be there and you want one, your best bet is to have a friend pick one up for you.

TOURNAMENT STAFFING
-Set up. 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. All Competitive Squad foil fencers, plus anyone willing to help out (I would especially like to to see more youth fencers learning this task, as you will soon be moving up the ranks).

-Referees. The Open and Veterans events will self-ref. The Youth and U events will be reffed by Competitive Squad fencers. I will email provisional reffing assignments later this week.

-Armorers. Don Selby, John Colt. To be on duty on and off through the weekend when available, mainly to deal with broken floor cords, reels and club equipment. The armorer is not expected to fix fencers' gear for them, but may give advice if in a good mood. Are you a tinkerer? How about helping Don and John, and learning about the care and feeding of our electric equipment?

-Meet managers. These folks run the registration table, collect entry fees, use the Fencing Time software (easy to learn) to set up and run events, and keep all the competitions running efficiently. Our experienced management team will include Michele Wheeler, Leslyn Hall, Susan Nop, Genevieve Gallagher and Deb Hogan among others. I would love to see some other Competitive Squad parents or partners, and parents of current youth fencers step up and get trained in this job, so that you can help as your child moves up into the older age groups and perhaps onto the Competitive Squad. If you can help, please let me know which day.

-Clean up (approximately 6:30 Sunday): All Competitive Squad epee fencers, plus anyone around at the very end (and you want to be, as the epee gold medal bout is often the most exciting of the weekend), please help out.