VFA-in-Exile
Bulletin for the Week of September 7, 2020

1. OUTDOOR CLASSES
It was great to see many of you this past Saturday at the first of our 8 outdoor practices! There is still room in all of the class groups if any other returning fencers would like to join, or if anyone would like to add a second class (for no extra charge). The punch card system for payment lets you pay as you go, so you don't pay if you miss some classes, or they are rained out. The classes are open to all continuing fencers (no rank beginners) ages 9 and up. Sign up here if you would like to join:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/12pLHpKCg-sIt26SKFIjy9Ff-pd59To36OGBt2_xgqFU

Don't forget, all active fencers need some kind of US Fencing membership in order to validate our insurance. Please renew your membership if you have not already done so.

This week's schedule will be the same as last week (but the following week, we will have Char Foil go first)
9:30-11 a.m Char Epee
11-12:30 Char Foil
2-3:30 Midd Epee
3:30-5 Midd Foil

Location for Middlebury will remain the E. Middlebury rec park. Charlotte fencers, I will update you at the end of the week. I have requested town rec to reserve us a tennis court (at the town beach park) and will let you know if we are moving there.

Private lessons at my house: Possibilities this week include any time Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon (although it will be hot), maybe Thurs morning (current forecast is for afternoon showers), or Friday (if forecast doesn't change later in the week). Contact me if you want to schedule a lesson.

2. PROPOSED OUTDOOR TOURNAMENT
I would like to propose an unsanctioned outdoor "scrimmage" tournament for this fall, to be held on Sunday Oct 11, with 2 possible rain dates being the next 2 Sundays, Oct 18 or Oct 25. This would mesh well with our fall outdoor classes, falling on week 6, 7 or 8 depending on weather (Sundays are also the rain dates for the Saturday classes, hence the need for a lot of flexibility). Being unsanctioned, you may participate with a noncompetitive USFA membership (no need to upgrade just for this, although if we are able to resume sanctioned indoor tournaments this season, you would need to upgrade before fencing in one of those).

I propose the E. Middlebury rec park as the location. There is a large and nice basketball court, plus 2 tennis courts. One of the tennis courts was in use part of the time we were there this past Saturday, otherwise we had the park to ourselves. We should be able to find adequate space. I propose half the day be for foil and half for epee (schedule tba). I would like to organize events by age group, maybe by skill level also. Still thinking about format (may not be a standard one), but events should be small (keep fencers in limited pods). Instead of entry fees, fencers would be encouraged to buy raffle tickets, and the day would end with the drawing postponed from the Middlebury Open That Wasn't.

This would give us something fun to look forward to and train for this fall, and a chance to fence with some different folks outside of our class groups. We might even get a few UVM or Upper Valley fencers to join us. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I have proposed this idea to the GMD officers, and if they approve, I will give more thought how to organize it, and post it for sign up on AskFRED. More details to come!

3. T SHIRTS AND RAFFLE
Glad to see nearly all the 2020 Champlain Cup t-shirts got snapped up in my "buy a shirt instead of paying club dues" special offer. All I have left (other than reserved ones I am holding for people I haven't seen yet) is 1 Youth L (i.e. adult XS) and 3 adult S. If anyone wants one of these last few, let me know. In addition, I received some donated used equipment which I sold off to newer fencers for the benefit of the club. On top of that, several fencers included bonus donations with their payments for class punch cards. The last bit of fundraising from the Middlebury Open That Wasn't is the raffle. Hopefully, we will complete the raffle at our fall outdoor tournament. I will give you a more complete picture when the latest proceeds are deposited, but my sense is that we are in solid financial shape, despite the Middlebury Open That Wasn't. We are financially ready to re-launch normal operations. We just need it to be safe to do so.

4. ELECTRIC EQUIPMENT REPAIR SERVICE
Usually, I hold an armory workshop at my house some time in the fall, to teach newer owners of electric equipment how to troubleshoot and repair their weapons and body cords. Unfortunately, the idea of packing a bunch of you in to my home office for a couple of hours seems kind of scary right now. However, I do want you to have usable equipment for electric fencing at the fall classes and possible outdoor tournament. Here are two ways I can help you if your electric weapon or body cords stops working:
a. Ask me to email you the free Armory Manuals I wrote years ago (enjoy the vintage clip art!). I have one for foil, one for epee, and one for body cords.
b. If you can't manage your own repair, during the pandemic only, I am offering a repair service. You may give me the broken item at practice or drop it off at my house.
$5 Quick diagnosis and simple repair (takes me less than 10 minutes)
$10 More complex diagnosis and repair (takes me up to 20 minutes), replace French grip with pistol grip (you supply the grip and pommel nut)
$15 (plus cost of small parts if you don't supply them): replacement of broken or missing tip, socket, body cord prong or plug, etc., mounting of a new wired blade (you supply the blade)
$25 (plus cost of wire and/or small parts if you don't supply them): rewire an electric foil or epee

If submitting an item to me for repair service, please attach a tag (or easily removed tape) with: your name, and what is wrong with it (i.e. intermittant white light, no lights, grounding issue, etc).

5. VFA TRICK OR TREAT STATION FOR MIDDLEBURY HALLOWEEN EVENT
The Better Middlebury Partnership is planning an event for the kids of Middlebury. As I understand it, families with young ones will drive around (not sure where? rec park? all over town?) and visit stations where organizations hand out candy and generally entertain the kids in a covid-safe manner. How fun would it be if a bunch of us dressed up (swords through the ages!) and put on a little show? I have several replica swords to share, if anyone wants to be a knight, a musketeer or Elizabethan, or an 18th century duelist (the dude on the 2020 Champlain Cup t-shirt!). For all you pirates out there, I don't have any cutlasses, but plenty of sports sabers to stand in. Henry Weston is going to dress as a Greek hoplite warrior (boy, is that going to cold on a Vermont October night....). We could also have people in modern gear doing some actual electric fencing. I think the kids would get a kick out of it, and it would promote the club for when we eventually return from exile. Who is in?

6. JOIN THE VFA DISCORD CHAT ROOM
We established a Discord channel (i.e. chat room) when we were shut down in March, as a way to keep in touch with fencing friends, stay informed, share ideas and help keep each other motivated. All fencers are welcome to join! Please use your real name when on the VFA channel (even if you have a nickname from other Discord use). Also, remember the channel is open to all ages, including kids, so keep it appropriate and family-friendly. Use the invitation link sent by email to join our online community