Bulletin for the week of September 9, 2019

Attention Charlotte fencers: I just found out that the school is having an open house and picnic this Thursday and do not want us there due to a lack of parking. However, the Charlotte Congregational Church vestry is available. It may be crowded, but we will make it work (by being very careful of each other and of church property). Although small, the church hall does have high ceilings and a nice wooden floor (clean indoor shoes only please). The church is a half mile from the school, at 403 Church Hill Rd. Parking is behind the church, and the vestry is the white building connected to the brick church by a portico. New/prospective Charlotte club members - if you were planning to visit for this Thursday's preseason practice, you are still welcome to come by the church (and sorry about the confusion - CCS is a busy place and changes are not unusual).

Here is the updated preseason schedule for returning fencers:
Wed 9/11, 7-9 pm Middlebury (Mary Hogan School)
Thurs 9/12: 7-9 p.m Charlotte (AT CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH)
Mon 9/16, 7-9 Middlebury (Competitive Squad meeting 6:30-7)
Tues 9/17, 7-9, Charlotte Central School (Competitive Squad meeting 6:30-7)

Preseason practices are free to all returning fencers, from those who just started fencing last spring to the battle-hardened members of the Competitive Squad. We will be doing some high-intensity interval circuits (oh yeah....), some footwork, some basic technique drills, and some bouting games or challenges (non-electric, so that the whole club works together, before dividing into levels). Come brush the rust off and start getting back into shape for fencing!

Level 3 classes begin Wed 9/18 in Middlebury/Thurs 9/19 in Charlotte, 6:30-9 p.m Level 1/2 classes start the week of September 23.

Returning fencers, please remember that you need to renew your USFA membership before your first practice of the season (including preseason!). The only exception is those who started fencing in April, or who upgraded to competitive status for the first time after April 1. Noncompetitive membership ($10 per year) is sufficient to meet insurance requirements, and for youth fencers (born 2007 or later) who only want to compete locally. For adults and teens (born 2006 or earlier) who want to participate in tournaments, a competitive membership ($75 per year) is needed. You may upgrade from noncompetitive to competitive status at any time during the season. New club members will be joining the USFA at their first class, so don't need to do anything about this.

Returning fencers who still wish to rent equipment, please make sure to let me know, as I am in the process of registering new students. So far, I have reserved equipment for Walter and Samantha in Middlebury, and for Amelie, Simon, Merren and Rob in Charlotte.

Keep spreading the word about fall classes! So far, I have 5 new Level 1 students signed up in Charlotte, and 1 in Middlebury, with a few planning to visit preseason practices before deciding whether to commit. I am still looking for someone in the Brandon area to post to Front Porch Forum (have Middlebury, Vergennes and Bristol now covered), plus anyone who is a member of the Charlotte, Shelburne, Hinesburg or S. Burlington forums. Let me know if you can post an announcement, and I'll send you a blurb.

Most of the fall tournaments are now posted and available for sign up on AskFRED. Remember, if you sign up 5+ days in advance, you get a discount on your entry fee ($15 for your first event plus $5 per additional event, as opposed to $20 first event/$10 per additional event for late sign up). You also really really help the tournament organizers with planning ahead to keep everything running smoothly.

Sept 28, UVM: 2019 Fall Foliage Classic. Our traditional season kick off, with open (senior mixed) foil, epee and saber events, plus unrated foil and epee. There will be separate mens and womens unrated events if we have 6 or more of each gender. Unrated events are perfect for first time competitors! I would love to see a lot more unrated fencers signing up for this.

Oct 26, UVM: Burlington Brawl. Open foil, epee and saber, plus E-Under foil and epee (just for E and unrated fencers, again, great for newbie competitors!).

Nov 16, Middlebury: Junior Olympic Qualifiers plus Age Group Fencerama! We are trying something a little different this year, to avoid losing money on under-attended qualifiers. On AskFRED, you will see two different tournaments listed for the same day.
Sign up for Junior Olympic Qualifiers (https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=44896) if you are a teen (born 2000-2006) and you are interested in trying out for the national Junior Olympics in Columbus, OH in February. I definitely encourage all teen Competitive Squad members, and any other rated or serious teen competitors to sign up for this. We will only hold events with 4 or more fencers signed up (3 or fewer, all who sign up qualify automatically). I anticipate only mens foil and mens epee events will need to be held. Do not sign up here if you just want to fence for fun, and would definitely not go to Ohio if you qualified - see below for TEEN events!
Age Group Fencerama (https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=44897) will consist of mixed (male and female together) foil and epee events for 3 age groups:
ADULT: a round robin event (no elimination matches) for fencers born 1999 or earlier, a fun, informal annual tradition. If you are energetic, you may sign up for both foil and epee, even though they will run simultaneously (the round robin format allows for some weapon switching)
TEEN: for fencers born 2000-2006, a chance for all teen fencers to get together and fence
YOUTH: for kids born 2007 or later, the first of our 4 annual GMD youth series events, to give our youngest fencers and intro to tournament fencing in a supportive manner.

Dec 14 (probably, awaiting confirmation and posting): Upper Valley Holiday Open

A couple of winter tournaments are also posted.

The Champlain Cup is the Green Mt Division's fun, friendly fencing league. Think of it as joining a local tennis or softball league. Would you just go to practices and never play in any games? Tournaments are our games. You don't have to be a cut throat competitor or an expert fencer to participate. All fencers of all levels are welcome, no one sits on the bench, and everyone gets to use electric equipment (club loaners available), meet fencers from other clubs, and learn by trying to apply your skills to actual bouts. We even give a Rookie of the Year award at the end of each season!

Some GMD events are especially good for beginning competitors. In particular look for:
-Youth Events. These are just for kids born 2007 or later (fencing age groups are by birth year, not birthday, so you stay in the same age group all season). They are supportive and age appropriate. There are 4 of them over the course of each season, with the first one in November this year. Youth fencers may not participate in events for older age groups (U, E, open, etc). Noncompetitive membership is acceptable for local youth events.
-Unrated and E-Under events. Teen and adult fencers earn ratings based on competitive success, ranging from E (modest success at a local tournament) up to A (very high finish in a national or strong regional tournament). All new competitors start out as Unrated. An Unrated event is limited to unrated fencers only, while an E-Under is for E and Unrated fencers. Both are a great opportunity for newer competitors to enjoy fencing eachother without the big guns, supported by experienced volunteers who will ref and show you the ropes (remember these people....you will be one of them one day!). There are U and E events at the first two tournaments of the season, to help new competitors get off to a fun start!

You do not need to own your own equipment for your first few local tournaments. If I see your name on the sign up list 5+ days in advance, I will bring everything you need.
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 (basically all of them except the Adult Round Robin). 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). For Youth events (and the Adult Round Robin), noncompetitive membership ($10 per season) is sufficient. 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).

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:

As a coach, it makes me happy to see new people getting involved in the Champlain Cup league, learning and growing as fencers, and having fun. I am always happy to answer newbie questions!

Our own national-level ref and refereee trainer, Anne Crocket, is generously volunteering her time to teach the official USFA ref course. This is an 8-hour, one day intensive, and helps prepare you to take the national ref exam on line. As a bonus, when you pass the exam and become a certified fencing ref, the Green Mt Division will reimburse you the $35 cost of the test. I very strongly recommend this for all Competitive Squad fencers, and all teen and adult fencers who have at least a few tournaments under their belts and an interest in better understanding the rules of fencing. Remember, when you fenced your first few local tournaments, more experienced fencers reffed your bouts. All we ask is that you pay it forward, by learning to ref yourself, and volunteering to ref local youth, U and E events. The GMD badly needs new refs! Sign up here for the clinic: