VFA-in-Exile Bulletin
September 10, 2021

I am especially excited to welcome 22 new beginners (13 in Charlotte, 9 in Middlebury), for our first Level 1 class since the pandemic started. I am now out of rental equipment and declare both classes full! I am also looking forward to seeing returning club members - whether you just started (via private lessons) in the spring, have been fencing for years, have been away from fencing for a while, whatever - you are welcome in the Level 2/3 class. I will put out this weekly bulletin every Friday, with news and updates as we go along.

Here is the schedule for Saturdays when Mother Nature cooperates (and this coming Saturday looks great - you might need your sunglasses).
Central School outdoor basketball court, park in lot on east side of school
10-11:30 a.m Level 2/3 class
11:30 am - 1 p.m Level 1 class, with concurrant open fencing for Level 2/3 students
Downtown rec park, tennis court nearest the ice rink, closest parking is at the swimming pool
2:30-4 p.m Level 2/3 class
4-5:30 p.m Level 1 class, with concurrant open fencing for Level 2/3 students

Of course, there are always weather issues and other complications, so make sure to check your weekly bulletin and look for updates about schedule changes. The ability to hit a moving target is a fencing skill, right? So I'll start off by testing the Middlebury crew. On Sat. 9/18 there is a tennis tournament. So we will either meet that Saturday in the paved play area next to Mary Hogan School, or if the weather is bad Saturday and we postpone to Sunday, then we can be on our usual tennis court. But for this week, everything will be at the intended time in the intended place!

Important stuff to bring to every practice
-All of your equipment (owned or rented). I do not carry any extras of anything (in fact with so many newbies, I don't have many extras of anything!). If you forget something you will have to go home and get it.
-Filled water bottles. There is no drinking water available at either of our practice locations.
-Your face cloak (because "Squire, bring forth my face cloak, I am seeking provisions" sounds so much cooler than "Where is my mask, I'm going shopping"). I recommend bringing two, in case one gets sweaty. It takes a little practice to get a fencing mask on and off while keeping your face mask firmly over your shnozz and pie hole, but it can be done!

Level 1 students, I will enroll all of you as US Fencing members. Because I do this by uploading a spreadsheet, I need those registration forms from all of you before I can enroll any of you. You can either print it out and bring it Saturday, or scan/email it to me in advance (pdf format only please).

Upon arrival each week, please sign in on my clipboard (usually on a lawn chair) as a record of who was there for contact tracing purposes (just in case).

Lost: I seem to be missing VFA jacket 20 and mask 19 (both are large male sizes, would fit an adult man or larger teen) and have lost track of who has them. If you have one or both of these items, please return them to me ASAP.

All fencers are required to be members for our insurance to be valid. If you are coming to class tomorrow and have not renewed, please do it today.

The following have already renewed (thank you): Karen C, Rick D, Viveka F, Adam G, Torrey H, Jacob H, Will N, Michele W
The following joined after April 1 and don't have to worry about it for another year: Suzanne A, Mani B, Alan C, Cricket C, Juneau G, Leila G, Axel M, Molly Q, Dmitri Y

If your name is not on this list (except for Level 1 students), you MUST renew your membership. Any level of membership meets the insurance requirements, including noncompetitive ($10) and access ($25, allows you to fence in local tournaments). To renew, go to www.usafencing.org, click on "Membership" and select "join or renew". If you are unable to log in (forgot password or lost log in i.d.), call the national office (in Colorado) at 719.866.4511. They will be able to renew your membership over the phone and help you reset your password. In fact, because it's not the most user-friendly website, some people prefer to renew by phone. When joining, list your club as "Vermont Fencing Alliance" and your division as "Green Mountain". If you don't know what a rating is or whether you have one, list yourself as unrated in all weapons.

If you are:
-A Level 1 student who is renting equipment: $100 ($60 punch card+$10 fall club dues+$10 USFA annual membership+$20 fall equipment rental), plus a plus a separate deposit check postdated 11/25/21 which will be returned when you turn in the equipment
-A Level 1 student with your own equipment: $80 ($60 punch card+$10 fall club dues+$10 annual USFA membership)

-A Level 2/3 student who still has punches left on a punch card from last spring, and own your own equipment, just $10 (fall club dues)
-A Level 2/3 student who is renting equipment and still has a punch card: $10 club dues, $20 fall equipment rental (plus a separate deposit check postdated 11/25/21 which will be returned when you turn in the equipment)

-Anyone who needs a new punch card at any time: $60 for a 5 class card
-Someone who still has punches on a red private lesson card from the spring: you are welcome to exchange the value of the private lessons for equivalent value on a blue group class card. Just bring the private lesson card showing what you have used and what you have left and trade it.

How the punch card system works:
Put your name on your card and don't lose it. Each week you take a class, punch or cross out one of the squares until it is used up. It's an honor system: I rely on each of you to keep track of the classes you attend and to buy a new card right away when you need a new one (no IOUs please...your friendly neighborhood fencing coach needs to make a living). If you ever would like to attend both the Charlotte and the Middlebury class on the same day (for a double dose of practice!) you only need punch your card once.
Competitive Squad fencers: If you attend a Level 2/3 class on Saturday (or Sunday) and CS practice on following Thursday (or Wednesday), you only need to punch your card once for the week. However, if you miss the weekend class but do come to CS, please punch the card.

Forms of payment: Check payable to Viveka Fox, or cash in exact change please.
I will have one envelope for payments, and another one for postdated equipment deposit checks. If paying cash, please write on the envelope how much/who (since all cash looks the same). If writing a check for someone with a different name than yours, please note on the check who it is for.

And once more, for the last time, just to avoid any misunderstandings: All fees are nonrefundable, except for the $100 equipment rental deposit. Class cards never expire, and if we are forced to curtail our classes by bad weather and/or covid, I may credit your club dues and equipment rental fees for when you return.

The VFA Competitive Squad is a group of motivated, enthusiastic fencers with a strong interest in bouting and competition. It is open to all adults in the Level 2/3 group, and to teens (born 2008 or before) with at least one year of fencing training and the maturity to focus and work hard. We did not have enough fencers sign up to hold a separate Squad practice in Middlebury, so for the fall outdoor season, the Squad will be practicing in Charlotte only (of course, Middlebury Squaddies are warmly welcome to come up to Charlotte). Practices will be Thursdays, 5-7 p.m, with Wednesday as the rain date (I'll announce by Tuesday which day we will meet). It is okay for those coming from work or school activities to arrive late if you have to - get there when you can and jump in. It is also okay to just come when you can (i.e. come only when it's on Thursday if you can't make Wednesday, or vice versa).

We will be doing a lot of electric fencing, so get your electric equipment tuned up and ready (or buy some if you don't have any yet). I don't know yet what tournaments the Green Mt Division will be having this season (we are meeting soon, and of course, it largely depends on covid and access to venues). But let's sharpen our skills and be prepared for when competitions resume!