Bulletin for the Week of February 25, 2019

1. SCHEDULE
2. THE MIDDLEBURY OPEN IS THIS WEEKEND!! DON'T MISS THE VFA'S BIGGEST EVENT OF THE YEAR!.
3. MIDDLEBURY OPEN HELP NEEDED - ALL HANDS ON DECK!

1. SCHEDULE
Barring any weather interruptions, here is the schedule for the rest of the winter session.

Middlebury:
Practices as normally scheduled, 6:30-9 Mondays (level 1/2) and Wednesdays (Level 3) at Mary Hogan School, for the next 3 weeks (Feb 25 and 27, March 4 and 6, March 11 and 13).
The final Level 1/2 class of the winter session is scheduled for March 11. Both make up days (March 18 and March 20) will be used to make up two of the 3 Level 3 classes that have been cancelled this winter. In addition, there will be a bonus Level 3 make up on a Monday in April (tba).

Charlotte:
Tues Feb 26, Level 1/2 class plus competitive squad/open fencing, 7-9 pm at Shelburne town gym. The gym is in the old school building which also houses the town offices and police department. Park in the lot for the town rec park/library/fire house. Gym is on the ground floor of the old school - enter, go past police department on your left, turn right down hallway. Only clean dry, indoor shoes are permitted in the gym.
Thurs Feb 28, Level 3 class plus open fencing, 7-9 p.m at Shelburne town gym.
Tues March 5: NO fencing (CCS is in use for town meeting, as is Shelburne facility)
Thurs March 7: Level 3 class at CCS, 6:30-9 (basketball is now over, so we will be starting at 6:30 for the rest of the winter)
March 12 and 14: Level 1/2 and Level 3 classes as regularly scheduled. March 14 will be the final Level 3 class for the winter.
Tues March 19 and Thurs March 21: Make up Level 1/2 classes (plus open fencing and CS), to make up the 2/12 snow day plus town meeting cancellation.

Private lessons: I will not offer lessons at the Charlotte Church this Thursday (too few signed up due to school vacation week) but have 2 slots available on Wed afternoon at MUMS if anyone wants them. Lessons are available in the evenings with Geoff as usual (maybe fewer slots on Tues because of shorter gym time - contact Geoff for info).

Do you have friends who might be interested in fencing? Invite them to come check out the Middlebury Open this weekend (see below). It is the most spectator-friendly tournament of the season, and a great chance to meet the coaches and fencers and to see some great fencing. Spring classes start in early April.

2. THE MIDDLEBURY OPEN IS THIS WEEKEND!! DON'T MISS THE VFA'S BIGGEST EVENT OF THE YEAR!.
The Middlebury Open is a huge festival of fencing, with something for everyone. We will be throwing open our doors and welcoming fencers from all of the Green Mt Division clubs, as well as NH, MA, NY, CT, and Quebec. The Middlebury Open is many things: a chance to show off what the VFA is all about, a celebration of our growth and success over the years, the culmination of our annual fund drive.....but most of all it's a party, so don't miss it!

COMPETING IN THE MIDDLEBURY OPEN
First of all, please note, it's at the Middlebury Union Middle School (48 Deerfield Lane), not Mary Hogan School.

If you would like to compete, sign up by midnight tonight (February 25) and you will save $5 or more on your entry fees. Youth and Unrated fencers especially….please please please sign up sooner rather than later. I need to know how many of you are coming, as far as possible in advance, in order to plan for referees and equipment. I really would like to see more youth and unrated fencers taking advantage of the effort we are making to organize events for you - you are the future of the Green Mt Division, but only if you come out and play!

To sign up, and to see who else is coming: https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=41587
New to using AskFRED? Look here for directions: www.vtfencingalliance.org/old_posts/HowToUseFRED.htm

Event start times (make sure you are present at least 30 minutes before the posted time).
Saturday March 2
9 a.m Youth foil, Veteran foil
11:30 Unrated mens and womens foil (separate events if we have at least 6 fencers of each gender, otherwise combined)
1:30 pm Open foil

Sunday March 3
9 a.m Youth epee, Veteran epee
11:30 Unrated mens and womens epee (separate events if we have at least 6 fencers of each gender, otherwise combined)
11:30 a.m Open saber
1:30 pm Open epee

Experienced competitors, please use this week to test and repair your personal weapons and body cords. If you are a rated competitor, you should not rely on club equipment this weekend (it will be needed for youth and U fencers). Please bring at least 2 working body cords and 2 (more are better!) working weapons to the tournament.

Foil events are on Saturday, epee and sabre on Sunday. There are 4 types of events:
-OPEN (i.e. Senior Mixed): These are the marquis events of the weekend. They are open to all teen and adult competitors.
-UNRATED events are for unrated fencers only, so they are perfect for rookie and first-time competitors, including current Level 1 students. As long as we have at least 6 of each gender, we will hold seperate mens and womens unrated foil and epee events so that both a man and a woman can earn an E rating. Loaner equipment is available for all club members who preregister. At present, we have 11 foilists and 8 epeeists signed up for U events. In 2018, we had 15 foilists and 20 epeeists in the unrated events, in 2017 we had 16 foilists and 19 epeeists, and in 2016 we had 18 foilists and 21 epeeists. I would love to see lots more newbie competitors showing their appreciation for the refs and organizers who volunteer their time to put on U events, by showing up and enjoying them!
-VETERANS events are for "mature" athletes, born 1979 or earlier (i.e. approximately age 40+, although it goes by birth year, not your age on the tournament date). These are some of the most fun events of the weekend, if you're old enough to play with us! Veterans events welcome both seasoned competitors and adult newbies (you may enter both the veterans and U event on the same day). Currently we have a large epee event (25 signed up as of today), but it would be nice to see a few more veteran foilists too (6 signed up so far - mostly unrated, so this will be a friendly event for older newbies).
-YOUTH (i.e. Y12) events are for kids born 2006 or later (i.e. approximately age 12-, although it goes by birth year, not your age on the tournament date). These events do not require USFA membership, and loaner equipment is available. These are open to all kids, even those who just started fencing this winter. This is a great chance for kids to try electric fencing, meet kids from other clubs, and experience competition in a fun and supportive atmosphere. At present, we have 3 signed up for youth epee and 6 for youth foil, which is down over previous years despite having as many kids as ever in the club (in 2018 we had 6 epee and 10 foil, in 2017 we had 8 epee and 10 foil competitors, in 2016 we had 10 epeeists and 12 foilists). I would love to see more kids come out and participate in these.

You may not fence in two events that start at the same time (i.e. unrated epee and open sabre). If you are an unrated veteran fencer, you could conceivably fence in as many as 3 events per day (veteran, unrated and open) if you have the energy for it!

Entry fees if registered on AskFRED by midnight tonight (Feb 25): $15 for your first event of the weekend, $5 per additional event. If you wait until tomorrow or later to register, the fee goes up to $20 for 1st event/$10 per additional event. Please pay by exact change, or check payable to VFA. Entry fees are free (zero zilch nada!) for anyone who raised $50+ in sponsorships or who turns in $50+ in raffle ticket sales by Thursday. Good reason to print and sell raffle tickets! (see below)

Note that all events except Youth do require competitive USFA membership. You can upgrade from your noncompetitive membership on-line in advance (at www.usfencing.org, click on "membership") by paying the $65 additional dues. If you don't know/remember your usfencing log in, I think you will find it quicker and easier to make the upgrade over the phone (the website is not terribly user friendly and has a habit of locking people out). Call the national office (in Colorado, 2 hours earlier there) at 719-866-4511. They can take your credit card over the phone and make the change immediately. If asked, your division is Green Mountain, and your club is Vermont Fencing Alliance. All memberships expire on July 31, but there will be several more GMD tournaments to enjoy this season after the Middlebury Open (and as many out of state tournaments as you want to go to), so take the plunge and get involved!

COMING TO THE MIDDLEBURY OPEN AS A SPECTATOR
Spectators are welcome at the Middlebury Open, free of charge. We try to make this the most spectator-friendly event of the year. There will be bleacher seating and a free program booklet explaining the rules and how to watch fencing. If you don't feel quite ready to compete this year, you can still come check it out. If you are a competitor, by all means invite your friends to come watch! The most exciting bouts (finals of the open events) will take place around 4:30-6 p.m. Saturday (foil), 1-2 p.m. Sunday (sabre) and 5-6:30 p.m. Sunday (epee).

3. MIDDLEBURY OPEN HELP NEEDED - ALL HANDS ON DECK!
The Middlebury Open is a huge team effort. We need all hands on board for a smoothly run tournament and a successful fundraiser. Some wonderful folks have already stepped forward, but we can't rely on the same people to do these tasks year after year. We always need new fencers (and parents of junior fencers) to come on board and learn the ropes, so that you can take a turn running things in future years. Some of these tasks (referees, armorer) require specific skills, while others (meet managers, raffle, cafe) are easily learned by nonfencing parents, spouses or friends. Here are the volunteer tasks that need to be done:

PROGRAM PRINTING
Do you have a decent printer in your office? Would you be willing to donate the task of printing, collating and stapling the program booklet to save the VFA the cost of having to get it done commercially? The booklet will be 10-12 pages, black and white, printed double-sided (so 5 or 6 sheets of paper per booklet) on ordinary copier paper. We will need about 40 copies made and delivered by 9 a.m Saturday morning (or handed over to me on Wed or Thurs night). It will be ready by Wednesday and I can send you a pdf file for printing. Please let me know if you can do this.

CAFE VFA
Huzzah and thank you to Vicky Skidd and Barbara Greenewalt for stepping forward to be this year's Cafe Queens! They need lots of volunteers to bring food and to help sell food, t shirts and raffle tickets. They have set up two sign up sheets. Use one to list what food you plan to donate (so we can have a good range of offerings on both Saturday and Sunday), and the other to sign up for a shift at the concession stand (great job for parents, partners and siblings of fencers). Please sign up as soon as possible, so that Vicky and Barbara are not left hanging, wondering whether we will have enough food and helpers.

Bring/Make Something for the Concession:
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F4FA4A729A3F58-vfacafe1

Volunteers to run the concession:
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F4FA4A729A3F58-vfacafe

RAFFLE AND T SHIRTS
-Raffle. Thank you to Karen Cutler for organizing the raffle. The grand prize will be a FitBit Charge fitness tracker. How cool is that? We have a range of other great prizes as well, some fencing-related and some for anyone. But we can always use more prizes, so if you have something to donate, please bring it to Karen or I this week. The drawing will be Sunday afternoon, winners need not be present. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. Here again is the raffle ticket page to download, print, cut up and sell (or buy):
Raffle Tickets
The more we sell in advance of the tournament, the better we will do. If you turn in $50+ worth of raffle tickets before Thursday, your Middlebury Open entry fees are free.

-T shirt. Jessica Hill (graphic designer by day, fencing mom by night) has lent her talents to design a fun, colorful shirt featuring the Lake Champlain monster. We will have a range of sizes from Youth L to adult XL. They will be available for $15 each at the Middlebury Open, and when they are gone, they're gone. I can not reserve shirts for anyone, so if you are not going to be there and you want one, your best bet is to have a friend pick one up for you.

TOURNAMENT STAFFING
-Set up. 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. All Competitive Squad foil fencers, plus anyone willing to help out (I would especially like to to see more youth fencers learning this task, as you will soon be moving up the ranks).

-Referees. The Open and Veterans events will self-ref. The Youth and U events will be reffed by Competitive Squad fencers. I will email provisional reffing assignments later this week.

-Armorers. Don Selby, Chris Bagley. To be on duty on and off through the weekend when available, mainly to deal with broken floor cords, reels and club equipment. The armorer is not expected to fix fencers' gear for them, but may give advice if in a good mood. Are you a tinkerer? How about helping Don and Chris, and learning about the care and feeding of our electric equipment?

-Meet managers. These folks run the registration table, collect entry fees, use the Fencing Time software (easy to learn) to set up and run events, and keep all the competitions running efficiently. Our experienced management team will include Michele Wheeler, Leslyn Hall and Susan Nop, among others. I would love to see some other Competitive Squad parents or partners, and parents of current youth fencers step up and get trained in this job, so that you can help as your child moves up into the older age groups and perhaps onto the Competitive Squad. If you can help, please let me know which day.

-Clean up (approximately 6:30 Sunday): All Competitive Squad epee fencers, plus anyone around at the very end (and you want to be, as the epee gold medal bout is often the most exciting of the weekend), please help out.