Bulletin for the week of September 16, 2019

1. SCHEDULE This week, returning fencers of all ages and skill levels are invited to preseason practices on Monday and/or Tuesday (even if you missed the first one last week). Schedule:

Mon 9/16, 7-9 Middlebury, Mary Hogan School (Competitive Squad meeting 6:30-7)
Tues 9/17, 7-9, Charlotte Central School (Competitive Squad meeting 6:30-7)

Preseason practices include some physical conditioning (high intensity interval training - oh yeah), some footwork, some basic review drills, and some non-electric bouting.

Regular classes kick off with Level 3 this week, and then Level 1/2 next week. Regular classes start at 6:30. Here is a schedule:
Wednesdays, 6:30-9, starting 9/18, Middlebury: Level 3 class, followed by open fencing
Thursdays, 6:30-9, starting 9/19, Charlotte: Level 3 class, followed by open fencing

Mondays, 6:30-9, starting 9/23, Middlebury: Level 1/2 class plus Competitive Squad, followed by open fencing
Tuesdays, 6:30-9, starting 9/24, Charlotte: Level 1/2 class plus Competitive Squad, followed by open fencing

For our new Level 1 beginners, we look forward to welcoming you to your first class next week (Sept 23/24). Next week's bulletin will include lots of info on what to expect and what to bring (short answer: sneakers, sweatpants and water bottle). Speaking of new club members, we have 5 students signed up for the fall Level 1 class in Charlotte, but only only 2 new students signed up so far in Middlebury. This is really low compared to our past fall numbers, worryingly so in Middlebury (although the trend does seem to be for last minute sign ups). The VFA needs a regular influx of beginners to remain viable. Fencers, I need your help in spreading the word - tell your friends about our fall classes and tell them to get in touch with me soon for information/registration (802-759-2268 or vfox@gmavt.net). For every friend you bring into the club, you get $5 off your own class fees. Even better, put an ad on your Front Porch Forum. I can provide you with a blurb for FPF, just ask. I am looking for people who can place ads in FPFs other than Vergennes, Middlebury and Bristol (already done).

Returning for Level 2 classes and still need to rent equipment? Please let me know as soon as possible if you have not already done so.

Newly moving up to Level 3 this year? I recommend coming to the first few classes, even if your attendance may be more sporadic after that. We will be developing a series of decision-making drills (introduced to my foil classes at the summer clinic) that get increasingly more complex, so you will do best if you get the basics early on.

Class fees and dues are due at the first real class (preseason practice is free). Note that club dues have gone up for Level 3 fencers this season.

Classes/lessons-payment options
Pre-paid 10 week term (only option for Level 1 foil and anyone renting equipment): $100
10-class punch card (must have own equipment, good for Level 2 and 3 classes only): $120
5-class punch card (must have own equipment, good for Level 2 and 3 classes only): $65

Equipment rental
$20 per term

Club dues
Level 1 or 2 students: $10 per term, or $25 prepaid for the entire season (3 terms).
Level 3 students and Competitive Squad members: $20 per term, or $50 prepaid for the entire season (3 terms).

Some typical totals for the fall term:
Level 1 student: $140, all inclusive
Level 2 student, renting equipment: $130 (plus cost of renewing your own USFA membership-see #3 below)
Level 2 student, with own equipment: $110 per term, or $125 now and $100 in winter and spring (plus cost of renewing your own USFA membership-see #3 below)
Level 3 student (must have own equipment): $130 per term, or $150 now and $100 each in winter and spring (plus cost of renewing your own USFA membership-see #3 below)

Payment methods: check (payable to Viveka Fox please) or cash (exact change please)
Level 3 fencers: if you earned VFA credits by helping teach Level 1/2 classes last season, feel free to apply those to your fall class fees. Email me if not sure how much credit you have in the "VFA bank".

All fencers must have some sort of US Fencing membership to attend practice (insurance requirement). For Level 1 students, a noncompetitive membership is included in your total fee and you will register at your first class. ALL other fencers must renew their own membership prior to attending practice, unless you started fencing or upgraded to competitive status after April 1. You can do this on line at www.usfencing.org. Unfortunately, this is not the most user-friendly website, and if I registered you as a Level 1 student last year, you may not know your log-in i.d. The easiest way to renew for many people is with a phone call (in Colorado, 2 hr time difference). Call 719.866.4511. They will take your credit card over the phone, renew your membership, and reset your log in details so you can do it yourself on line next year.

According to the USFA website, the following fencers have renewed (or carried over from last season) and are good to go, as of this morning:
Middlebury: D Almodovar, G Ernstrom, A Glazer, B Greenwalt, T Hanna, W Hardy-Mittell, D Hogan, R Kite, S Langevin, M Mayo, S Nop, W Nop, H Weston, A Yaggy, J Yaggy
Charlotte: I Bailly-Hall, L Bendoski, J Birmingham, L Black, C Boyce, W Boyce, E Cook, C Crawford, K Cutler, R Davis, A Fairweather, A Gallagher, S Goldenbogen, L Hall, N Herzog, M Hoerner, G Kane, I Kaplan, E Levell, Z Levell, J Lussier, C May, B O'Neill, F O'Neill, T Parris, R Schuppe, D Selby, A Tuttle, F Yarbrough, R Zimmerman
Also: V Fox, G Butler

If your name is not on the above list and you think you renewed, check that you are affiliated with the correct division (Green Mt, NOT New England or Northeast). If in the wrong division, request a correction with a phone call or email (no fee for that). If you haven't renewed yet, please do it right away (today would be good....). Technically, you should not be at practice without a membership.

Membership types:
Noncompetitive: For fencers born 2007 or later who only plan to participate in local youth tournaments, or anyone else who does not plan to compete at all this season. $10
Competitive: Required to participate in all teen/adult tournaments (for fencers born 2006 or earlier) including local Champlain Cup events. $75. You can upgrade to competitive status at any time during the season by paying the $65 difference, but why wait, the first two tournaments of the season have events perfect for new competitors!

Don't miss the Green Mt Division's season kick-off, September 28 at UVM! Event schedule:
9:30 a.m Open (senior mixed) foil
10:30 a.m. Unrated epee (separate male and female events if we have 6+ of each)
12 p.m Open (senior mixed) saber
2 p.m Open (senior mixed) epee
2:30 p.m Unrated foil (separate male and female events if we have 6+ of each)

This tournament is open to fencers born 2006 or earlier (first event for younger children is in November). Unrated events are restricted to unrated fencers (generally beginning to intermediate competitors). They offer novice competitors, as well as those aging up from the youth ranks, a chance to fence each other with the help and support of experienced volunteer officials, and those with a little more experience a chance to try for their E rating. Seperate male and female unrated events will be held as long as their are at least 6 of each gender (if not, the event will be mixed). Loaner equipment is available for those who need it, as long as you sign up by September 23 (early sign up also gets you a discount!). The Green Mt Division is friendly and welcoming. We were all beginners once! I would love to see some new fencers signing up and getting involved in this season's Champlain Cup. Who knows, maybe one of you will be the 2020 Rookie of the Year (yes, we give an award for that)! The experienced fencers of the GMD (myself included) put a lot of effort and volunteer time into organizing and officiating Unrated events. We do it because we want you to have an enjoyable learning experience in your first few tournaments. The best (in fact only) way to thank us is to sign up and show up! It can be intimidating to try something new, especially if that something involves keeping score, but I have seen, many times over many years, newbie competitors who go out of their comfort zone to participate, end up having a blast even if they don't score many points, and go on to develop into skilled fencers. I hope that will be you! If you have never participated in a tournament before (including those who just started fencing last spring), or you were born in 2006 so that this is your first year of fencing in teen/adult (aka "senior") events, I'm talking to you. Sign up, ask all your questions (at practice, or email or call me), and become part of the Champlain Cup community!

Tournament entry fees: If you sign up 5+ days in advance $15 for your first event plus $5 per additional event. If you miss the deadline, it is $20 first event/$10 per additional event. USFA membership: Competitive level membership is required for all sanctioned teen and adult events, including the Fall Foliage. Competitive membership costs $75, and runs from Aug 1 to July 31 (so the earlier in the season you purchase it, the more use you can get out of it). If you are currently a noncompetitive member, you may upgrade at any time by paying the $65 difference in dues. Memberships and upgrades are done online at www.usafencing.org (click on membership).

To register, see who is coming, and get directions:

Tournament sign ups are done through a website called AskFRED (www.askfred.net). It can be confusing at first. Here is a guide to setting up an AskFRED account and using it:

Whether you are a newer fencer who wants to get more personal feedback and make faster progress, or a competitive fencer who wants help preparing for tournaments, I recommend taking some private lessons if you can. Lessons are currently available from Viveka Fox (foil, epee) or Geoff Butler (epee, saber, foil). All lessons are about 25 minutes long (doesn't sound like much, but a good lesson demands a lot of energy and a lot of focus!) and cost $20, payable directly to the coach at the time of the lesson.

I (Viveka) plan to offer lessons on Thurs afternoons in fall and winter, at Charlotte Congregational Church, as these were popular last season and I hope to fill them again. My first lesson availabilities will be Sept. 26. There will be a 2 week break while I travel to Veteran Worlds, but after that, I will hopefully be available every Thursday. In order to give lessons, I must have a minimum of 2 students signed up (otherwise it is not worth renting the space). In regards to Middlebury: I found the demand was too low most weeks (i.e. I didn't have 2-3 students signing up) last season to schedule anything regularly. If you are a Middlebury fencer and you would be interested in private lessons with me on Wednesday afternoons, please let me know. If I have enough folks that can coordinate to come on the same afternoon, I will schedule it (but not posting anything on Visibook just yet).

Geoff will offer lesson availabilities on Monday and Tuesday evenings, during the open fencing that follows his sessions with the Competitive Squad. He may also offer lessons in Vergennes as he did last season - stay tuned for more information.

For both Geoff and I, sign up for lessons is via the Visibook scheduling webiste. Here is the link:

About Visibook and lessons:
-If you don't see any thing labeled "availabilities", try toggling from "week" to "month", in case there isn't anything posted for this week or next. You can also toggle between seeing my availabilities, Geoff's, or both.

-You shouldn't have to create a Visibook account to sign up for a lesson, but you have the option of doing so if you want for ease of repeat appointments. I looked through the privacy policy, and it doesn't look like they are in the business of selling personal data (though these days, who can tell...) but if you are worried about it, check the privacy policy yourself before creating an account.

-I have not enabled on line payment. Please pay at each lesson.

-Please do not sign up for the same lesson slot every week. If you have a preferred time and want to use it regularly, start by signing up for every other week, to give others who may have the same time preferences a chance. As we figure out who wants lessons when, it may be possible to have weekly appointments, but let's wait and see how things shape up.

-Private lessons are optional. You can take them with me, with Geoff, with both or with neither, regularly or sporadically, it's your choice (and your wallet). We are on the same team, and we are both here to support your goals!

-My calendar is currently open through Thanksgiving. I will extend it later this fall. Waiting to hear back from Geoff, then will add his lesson slots to the calendar.

Those of you who came to Charlotte last week had a chance to meet Rachel and Cammie, the two actresses from Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake NY. They are starring in a 2-woman play about a friendship between teens in New York City, set largely in a fencing club as the girls train and try to qualify for Junior Olympics. Neither actress had ever fenced before, so I gave them a crash course and helped them with their action choreography. They did great and had a lot of fun. The play is called Athena, by Gracie Gardner. The show runs September 20 through October 27. If you happen to be in Saranac Lake (fall foliage hike!), tickets and info are at www.pendragontheatre.org.