Bulletin for the Week of September 28, 2020

We're getting some rain this week, but the long term forecast for Saturday looks good. Let's hope our luck holds!

This week's schedule (note, epee first in Charlotte):
9:30-11 a.m Char Epee
11-12:30 Char Foil
2-3:30 Midd Epee
3:30-5 Midd Foil

Locations: Charlotte town beach tennis courts (now officially reserved for us by town rec!), E. Middlebury rec park

As always, I will send an update to the Active Fencer list later this week with confirmation of Saturday's when, where and weather.

Private lessons this week: Tuesday and Wednesday look like a wash out. Looks like there may be a window of opportunity Thursday afternoon in to Friday. Let me know if you are interested in a lesson at my house one of those days, and we'll keep an eye on the weather forecast as it evolves.

Outdoor classes are scheduled for Saturdays (weather permitting) through Oct 24. Then what? I don't have an answer for you. A few thoughts:
-If we get some unseasonably warm weekends in November, I'm up for additional outdoor practices on a "pop-up" basis. Sooner or later, it will get too cold.

-Addison County schools are planning to bring K-6 kids back 5 days a week starting some time in October. According to CCS's website, they plan to increase K-4 to 4 days a week over the course of October (but CCS is K-8 school, so some kids will still just attend 2 days per week). I have no way to predict when our host schools will re-open to community indoor sports groups. Maybe in the New Year? Maybe not at all this school year. The ultimate plan is to return to normal operation in our normal gyms, but I have no time scale for that or control over it.

-For the Middlebury group, I have found out that Cornwall town hall is available for rent at an affordable rate, and they seem willing to let us fence there. It is a small space (where we held our Silver Anniversary Banquet a few years ago), but has a nice floor and high ceilings. It may be possible to offer some small group classes there. I will try to find out more specifics.
-For the Charlotte group, I have no leads on alternatives to CCS. I made contact with Shelburne Field House (thanks to the Cooks for putting me in touch) but it was too expensive. Also tried the E. Charlotte grange, but it will be closed for renovations this winter. Charlotte fencers, if you want to continue some kind of training indoors this winter, to tide us over until either CCS re-opens to us, or the weather warms up enough to move back outside in the spring, I need your help. If you have a personal connection to a possible space anywhere between S. Burlington and Charlotte (i.e. your town hall, your church, etc), I would love it if you reached out on behalf of the club.
-Alternatively, we could consolidate our practices in a location between Middlebury and Charlotte (Vergennes would be ideal, or Bristol, New Haven, Ferrisburg). If anyone has a connection to a hall in one of these towns, again, please reach out on behalf of the club.

If we do not find alternative indoor space, or we are not ready for indoor group exercise due to the covid situation (especially in a small space), we may have no choice but to shut down until spring, and resume our outdoor classes as soon as it gets warm enough and dry enough again (April?).

Date: Target date is October 11, weather permitting. If weather is bad on Oct 10 (causing the VFA Saturday classes to move to Sunday) or Oct 11, we will postpone to Oct 18 or 25. We will just need to be flexible and deal with Mother Nature.

Foil starts at 10:30 a.m, Epee starts at 1:30 p.m

Location: East Middlebury rec park outdoor tennis courts. Located behind the Sarah Partridge Library, near the corner of School House Hill Rd and E. Main St (Route 125).

Early sign up is very very helpful in organizing the tournament, so if you think you might participate (even if not 100% sure yet) go ahead and sign up. You can always withdraw if you can't make it. Remember, this tournament is for everyone, including youth fencers and relative newbies!

Age groups: Fencing age groups are based on your birth year, not your age the day of the tournament. I am planning 2 age groups for foil:
Youth (essentially 14-), birth year 2006 or later
Teen/adult (essentially 15+), birth year 2005 or before

I am planning 3 age groups for epee:
Youth (essentially 14-), birth year 2006 or later
Teen/young adult (essentially 15-39), birth year 1982-2005
Veteran (essentially 40+), birth year 1981 or before

Age groups are provisional - if not enough fencers sign up to hold them separately, we may combine them. Final decision will be made the day of, but it is really really helpful to see who intends to come, so please please sign up sooner rather than later. Please make sure to sign up for the right event, according to your birth year.

Entry fee: Instead of entry fees, the VFA will be holding our annual raffle. Not coming to the tournament, but want to buy raffle tickets? You can either ask me to bring you some at practice, or if not participating in the fall outdoor classes, you can order them from me (send a check or Paypal, and I will print out tickets, put your name on them, and enter them in the drawing). Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. As a guideline, entry fee to our tournaments is normally $15.

All fencing will be electric. VFA members who do not own their own electric equipment should arrange with Viveka in advance to borrow what you need. Equipment will be "yours" for the day, no sharing. Since we can not share masks, the mask bib is optional for novice foil fencers (experienced foilists are expected to bring and use their regulation electric foil masks).

Sign ups for tournament are done using a website called AskFRED (the Fencing Results and Events Database). The first time you use it, you have to create an account. After that FRED remembers you and it's easy to sign up for future events. Using AskFRED for the first time? Instructions are here:

Ready to sign up for the October Surprise? Here is the link: