VFA-in-Exile
Bulletin for the Week of August 31

1. OUTDOOR CLASSES START THIS SATURDAY! NOT TOO LATE TO SIGN UP
Outdoor fencing is better than no fencing. In fact, I'm hoping it will be downright fun. For the next 8 Saturdays (rain date Sunday, cancelled if it rains both days), I am planning a series of outdoor classes open to all continuing fencers (but no rank beginners). Here is how it works:
-You must sign up to be part of these classes. There are 16 slots available for each group (Middlebury Epee, Middlebury Foil, Charlotte Epee, Charlotte Foil). Go ahead and grab one if you think you will be able to make 4 or more of the classes. It's okay to sign up knowing that you can't make them all.
-Start by signing up to for only one of the 4 groups. Check back this Thursday 9/3. If there is space, and you would like to join a second group, you may add your name. If a group becomes oversubscribed later on, I may ask those in 2 groups to pick one, but I think in most cases it will be fine to join two.
-Make sure you have renewed your USFA membership before coming (see #4 below) and have at least a basic set of equipment (mask, jacket, glove, practice weapon). If you are lacking the basic equipment, arrange with me to bring some for you to sign out.
-Each class will be 90 minutes long (roughly 15 minutes warm up and footwork, 30 minutes drills, and 45 minutes of bouting games and/or open fencing). Scoring machines will be available for those who have their own electric equipment (but please be willing to rotate and fence with those who don't have it some of the time).
-Arrive early! Before class starts, I will ask you to sign in for contact tracing purposes, so allow time for that (bring your own pen if you don't want to share). Also, we may have to move location (for example, if we are on a tennis court and someone shows up wanting to play tennis). The only way to know where we have gone is to be there when we move. Parents, stick around a little rather than just drop off your child, just in case a move is required.

As of today, Charlotte Foil is leading the sign-up charge with 9 slots filled. Middlebury Epee is in second place with 7 slots filled. There is still plenty of room in all 4 groups, but I would especially like to see more fencers sign up for Middlebury Foil and Charlotte Epee! You must sign yourself up using the link below (not just tell me that you are interested). Sign up here, the sooner the better (don't leave me hanging!):
https://docs.google.com/document/d/12pLHpKCg-sIt26SKFIjy9Ff-pd59To36OGBt2_xgqFU

What to bring to the outdoor classes:
All of your fencing equipment (including electric if you have it - most of our machines can be battery operated)
Fencing pants and long socks, or sweatpants (no shorts please)
Water bottle - or more than one. Bring all the water you will need, there may be nowhere to refill (and even if there is, the fewer things touched by multiple people, the safer).
Face cloak (i.e. mask) - you might want 2, in case the first gets sweaty. If you are new to the mask-under-the-mask thing, you might want to practice taking your fencing mask on and off with the face cloak in place (it's a little tricky).
Hand sanitizer (keep a small bottle in your fencing bag)
Shoe choice: most likely we will be fencing on concrete, maybe occasionally on grass. Your nice indoor fencing shoes are not the best choice. Concrete will wear them out quickly, and they will be slippery on grass. I use an old pair of volleyball shoes (formerly used as fencing shoes, but now I don't care if I wear them out). Tennis shoes would work pretty well too (they play on concrete courts). If you have a choice of sneakers, maybe try them out on your driveway and lawn, and see what works best for you.

And finally, of course, the question that is on everyone's minds: when and where will these classes take place?
First of all, I have already scrapped the rotating schedule I proposed in last week's bulletin. Can you tell I'm building this plane while flying it? It's all a big experiment and an exercise in flexibility and improvisation!
I am not sure yet whether we will stick to one schedule or have a rotating schedule. I am waiting to see how this week's class works and how you all feel about it. For this week at least, this is the schedule:
9:30-11 am Char Epee
11 am-12:30 pm Char Foil
2-3:30 pm Midd Epee
3:30-5 pm Midd Foil (if this group does not add a few people, we may do a combined epee/foil class in Middlebury in the future, but will do them separate this week).

Locations:
Middlebury groups: Tentatively planning on East Middlebury rec park (behind the Sarah Partridge Library, corner of E. Main and Schoolhouse Hill Rd). NOT to be confused with the Middlebury rec park in the center of town. I do not have official permission or any way to reserve the basketball court (I do have an email in to the rec dept, no answer yet). E. Middlebury rec park is my first choice because it has an very nice paved basketball court, and a portalet. Parking is limited-there is room for about 6 cars in the rec park lot itself. However, there are several spaces on E. Main in front of the library, and I think parking is also legal on Schoolhouse Hill.
Charlotte groups: Will be scouting locations (by way of a bike ride with Leslyn) on Monday. Will announce the location in my Active Fencer email on Friday.

IMPORTANT-NEW ACTIVE FENCER EMAIL LIST: I am creating an email list for those who are actively fencing this fall. If your name is on the Saturday outdoor class sign ups as of this Friday morning, I will automatically add you to the new list. If you haven't signed up for a Saturday class but want to be on the "Active Fencer" email list with the thought of joining later this fall, please let me know. I will use this Active Fencer list to confirm every Friday the schedule and locations of Saturday classes (which may change between Mon and Fri...remember, building plane while flying it...), any weather-related adjustments, and any last minute messages. These emails will come via Mail Chimp (like this bulletin). Make sure they are not going into your spam folder.

2.PRIVATE LESSONS
Available by appointment at my house, Monday through Friday (and sometimes Sunday, if it's not needed as a raindate for a Sat class), weather depending. I am no longer going to e-mail lesson students separately every week like I did over the summer. I will try to mention which days look the best in the weekly bulletin (now that they are back). This week, Tuesday and Thursday are looking the best in terms of weather - a bit cooler on Tuesday if that matters to you. Contact me if you want to schedule a lesson.

3. PAYING FOR CLASSES OR LESSONS
It's all about the punch cards this fall (probably all season, maybe forever if we like it). If it rains, or if you develop suspicious symptoms (or I do) or need to quarantine because of travel or covid exposure (your own or a household member's), you will not be paying for classes you miss. I have two colors of punch cards - red ones for private lessons ($100 for 5 lessons, or you can pay "a la carte" at $25 a pop), and blue ones for group classes ($60 for 5 classes. Bonus: if you attend more than one class on the same day, you only need to punch it once!). Unlike in the past, I will not be holding on to or punching cards for you. I will issue you a card when you purchase it, and it's your responsibility to do your own punching (or crossing out), keep track yourself of how many times you use it (honor system!), don't lose it, and buy a new one when you need a top-up. It's okay for family members to share a card, just punch it for each person.

Payment methods:
a. Check payable to Viveka Fox (not VFA please)
b. Paypal to vfox@gmavt.net. Note: this is a person-to-person transfer, not a payment to a business account. If you transfer directly from your bank account to my Paypal, there are no charges. If you use a credit card, one or the other of us may get charged (still haven't figured out exactly what Paypal's rules are....).
c. Good old American cash, exact change only.

Club dues: $15 for the fall term, but wait!..... special this fall, club dues are waived if you buy a beautiful Champlain Cup 2020 t-shirt (or have already bought one). I want those shirts out of my attic and on your backs advertising our awesome sport. If you have a t-shirt reserved, I will bring them to the first class, or just hold it until I see you. Still plenty of shirts left in all sizes except L. Reserve yours here (and see a photo of one):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VdEcujAQ70rLiBm2kacgxoAoPy_e-pgQOIPT6yZeHG8/edit#gid=0

Names in italics on the reservation form are those who (I believe) have already paid for and received their shirt. Please correct me if you see an error in that regard.

4. RENEW YOUR USFA MEMBERSHIP NOW
In order for our club insurance to be valid, every one who participates in any kind of practice (classes, lessons, open fencing) must have some kind of US Fencing membership. Unless you are a life member, or joined for the first time after April 1 this year, your membership expired on July 31. What some fencers are doing this year, with sanctioned tournaments up in the air until our venues re-open for use, is to renew as noncompetitive members for $10. When (hopefully when, not if...) tournaments resume, you may upgrade to competitive status at any time. Competitive membership fee has gone up to $85 this season (after Oct 1, I think - do it now and get the old price).

2 ways to join or renew your membership:
1. On line at www.usafencing.org. Click on "membership" and "join or renew". You will then be prompted to log in to the membership database. If you have forgotten your user i.d. or password, you will need to call to renew, and ask them to reset your log in details.
2. Call the national office at 719.866.4511. It's in Colorado, so 2 hours earlier there. Tell them what kind of membership you want (noncompetitive is fine for insurance purposes), and specify that you are a member of the Vermont Fencing Alliance and the Green Mt Division. They will take your credit card over the phone and get you set up.

Remember, this needs to be done before you attend your first practice this season. Thank you to those who have already renewed.