VFA Bulletin
September 26, 2022

I am looking forward to meeting our 24 new club members in Level 1 classes this week! We have 12 new fencers in Charlotte and 12 in Middlebury, our biggest "freshman class" in years. Later today, I will send a separate email to all the newbies with full info on what to bring to class and what to expect, so be on the look out for that. As of this week, we are in to our full fall schedule:

Tuesday, Charlotte (Central School)
7-8:15 pm Level 1 class, Self-directed practice for Competitive Squad
8:15-9 pm Open fencing time for Level 1, Competitive squad continues with me

Wednesday, Middlebury (Mary Hogan School)
6-7:15 pm Level 1 class (with gym available for open fencing for Level 2/3 fencers)
7:15-7:45 Organized bouting time for everyone (Level 1 and Level 2/3)
7:45-9 pm Level 2/3 class (with gym available for open fencing for Level 1 students who wish to stay)

Thursday, Charlotte
7-8:15 pm Level 2/3 class
8:15-9 pm open fencing

Charlotte fencers note: On Tues Oct 11, CCS is not available. We will be meeting at Vt Commons School in S. Burlington. VCS has a brand new gym in the building next door to their classroom building, which means there will be room for both Level 1 class and CS practice!

Yet another reminder to all Level 2/3 students: You US Fencing membership must be up to date for insurance purposes. Unless you are a life member or you joined/upgraded for the first time after April 1, you need to renew it for this season if you have not already done so. Please take care of this right away and don't make me have to nag you. A noncompetitive membership is sufficient for insurance purposes, although if you know you want to compete in senior (teen and adult) events this season, you will need an Access or Competitive membership for that. Renewal is done on line at usfencing.org, or over the phone at 719-866-4511 (office is in CO, allow 2 hour time difference). Level 1 students, I will register you for your first noncompetitive membership (it's part of the payment you make at your first class). If you were a fall or winter Level 1 student last season, you need to take care of your own renewals now and from here on out. (If you were a spring newbie, you get the extended membership through this season and will have to do your own renewal next fall).

Advance sign up is critical to organizing a good tournament, so do me a big favor and sign up sooner rather than later. In addition, the more names on the AskFRED list, the more attractive the tournament is to out of state visitors, leading to a more exciting and fun day for everyone. There is a $15 penalty for signing up less than 5 days in advance, but really, don't wait until then, sign up today. There is no penalty for signing up and withdrawing if you find you can't make it.

Fall Foliage Open and Veteran Tournament
Saturday Oct 15, Mary Hogan School, Middlebury
Event schedule:
10 a.m Open (aka Senior Mixed) Epee
10 a.m Veterans Foil
12 p.m Open Saber
1:30 pm Open (aka Senior Mixed) Foil
1:30 pm Veterans Epee

Open events are open to all fencers born 2009 or before.
Veterans events are open to fencers born 1983 or before (in the fencing world "veterans" are older athletes, equivalent to "masters" in other sports)
All events require Access or Competitive USFA membership. If you are currently a noncompetitive member, you may upgrade in advance of the tournament by paying the difference in price. You must do your own upgrade on line or over the phone, at least several days before the tournament - we can not do it for you the day of. Once you have done it, you will be all set through July.

Sign up is via a website called AskFRED (FRED is the Fencing Results and Events Database). New to using it? Instructions for creating an account are here:

Entry fees are $20 for your first event of the tournament, plus $10 per additional event, with a $15 late fee if you sign up less than 5 days in advance. Please do not sign up for two events that start at the same time. Payment is at the door (so we don't have to return money if you are sick or have to withdraw).

To register, get directions and see who else is coming: https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=51548

I encourage new and unrated competitors to go ahead and participate in this tournament! No need to wait until November for an E-Under event. All local tournaments are welcoming to newbies (we were all beginners once!). You might not be able to beat the more experienced competitors (then again, you might....), but you will find them friendly and supportive. Fencing in open events where you can watch and learn from more skilled fencers is a great way to improve your own skills. Loaner electric equipment will be available to new competitors who sign up by Monday Oct 10. This is a great chance to try electric fencing.

Hey foil fencers, where are you? There are 20 epee fencers signed up so far, and only 7 foil fencers. We need you to sign up!

Do you like the idea of having a thriving local tournament scene? It takes a large team of volunteers to keep it going. Please read #3 below and consider how you can get involved.

IMPORTANT!: Needed immediately for this tournament: Ray Schuppe will be out of town. We need someone to collect the GMD computer and printer from Ray (at practice in Charlotte or from his house in S. Burlington) in the next week or so before he leaves, sign themselves up for "Bout Committee" membership on AskFRED so as to get meet management access to both FRED and Fencing Time (it's free, anyone can do it, you don't need to be a competitive fencer, but takes several days to clear so needs to be done ASAP), set up the tournament events in Fencing Time (if you have never done this, it's not rocket surgery, and you might be able to make an appointment to sit down with Ray and learn how), import the preregistration list from AskFRED to Fencing Time a couple of days before the tournament and bring the computer to the venue by 9 a.m on Oct 15. After the tournament, we need you to take the computer home (so you will need to be among the first to arrive and last to leave, or split the pre- and post- tournament tasks between two volunteers), upload the results to AskFRED, and generate the ratings change report for the national office (a function of Fencing Time). Does this sound like a big job? Ray has been doing it for years. Best way to thank him? Volunteer now, learn to do it, and help us all out so we can run a tournament when Ray is not available. Please let me know right away if you can do it. Note: I will not volunteer for this task because a. my car will be too full of equipment to bring the computer, b. I have enough on my plate with all of the other tournament organization tasks. If you have volunteered previously as a meet manager and are familiar with Fencing Time, you would be ideal, but even if you haven't, please let me know and we'll see if Ray or someone else can train you. If no-one volunteers to fill in for Ray, we may have to cancel the tournament.

Also needed on Oct 15: Meet managers (at least one experienced person for the morning events and one for the afternoon, as well as any much-appreciated new trainees) to collect fees and run Fencing Time. Please let me know if you can help.

Since its founding in 1999, much of the work of running the Green Mt Division (the Vermont branch of US Fencing, responsible for putting on all local tournaments) has been done by a generation of leaders who are now well into their veteran years. Some have moved out of state (Anne Crocket), others have been sidelined by injury or other commitments (Don Selby, Michele Wheeler, Leslyn Hall, Deb Hogan etc - many of whom still help out even though not actively competing at this time). Last season, as we re-booted after the covid shut down, much of the heavy lifting was done by myself and Ray Schuppe. Between Ray and I, we liased with the venues, posted the tournaments on AskFRED, communicated with competitors as needed, organized all the equipment and supplies, lined up refs and did much of the foil reffing ourselves, lined up volunteers to run the registration table on tournament days, kept the division computer up to date, set up the tournaments in Fencing Time several days before, downloaded the preregistration lists from AskFRED (a website) to Fencing Time (software on our computer), uploaded the results back into AskFRED, generated the ratings change reports for the national office, and (prior to covid/returning this year) kept track of Champlain Cup points. This is a lot of work for 2 people, and we are feeling a little burned out after many years of service to the GMD. Ray and I are ready to train the next generation of division leaders, and then step aside and enjoy our "golden" veteran years!

Lest it sound like I am just complaining, I want to thank all the wonderful volunteers who serve as meet managers and refs. What we really need this season are folks who are willing and able to start learning the "behind the scenes" pre- and post-tournament organizational tasks that Ray and I currently take care of. You could be an active competitor (as both Ray and I are), or a family member (many of our meet managers are parents of junior fencers). I welcome all volunteers, but would especially be excited to get younger adult fencers (ie age 18-50) or parents of youth fencers (as opposed to high schoolers who will graduate in a year or two)- folks who are likely to stick around for years to come and have a long-term stake in the GMD's success. Time for the next generation to step up! (And join our division chair Birk Rivait, who is the only GMD board member under 50 years old at the moment).

So....please, please, please - volunteer to fill in for Ray for the Fall Foliage tournament (see #2 above). This is not only a critical need for one particular tournament, but will also go a long way toward developing some new leadership for our division.

We also have a critical need to develop new certified referees. US Fencing has become much fussier about demanding we list rated refs for each tournament, and I read somewhere that they are moving toward demanding that all refs at all local-level tournaments be rated (even if it is a self reffed event). You can expect a future post about why and how to become a rated ref as we move toward a self-sustaining division with a much broader base of leadership.