Bulletin for the Week of September 17, 2018

1. SCHEDULE
This week, returning fencers of all ages and skill levels are invited to as many preseason practices as you want to attend. Schedule:

Mon 9/17, 7-9 Middlebury (Competitive Squad meeting 6:30-7)
Tues 9/18, 7-9, Charlotte (Competitive Squad meeting 6:30-7)
Wed 9/19, 7-9 Middlebury
Thurs 9/20, 7-9 Charlotte

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

For the growing list of new Level 1 beginners, we look forward to welcoming you to your first class next week (Sept 24/25). 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 7 students already signed up for the fall Level 1 class in Charlotte, with several more planning to watch a preseason practice this week and sign up if fencing looks like fun to them. However, we have only 3 new students signed up so far in Middlebury. Middlebury 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. Last spring, when a number of Addison County residents spread the word on the various town FPFs, we had a nice big class in Middlebury so I think it really works. I can provide you with a blurb for FPF, just ask.

2. PRIVATE LESSONS
Whether you are an intermediate level fencer who wants to get more personal feedback and make faster progress, or a competitive fencer who wants more intensive practice and help honing your fencing style, 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 20 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 have signed up for a free trial of an appointment booking site called Visibook, to handle private lesson sign ups for both Geoff and myself. I have set it up to offer lesson slots with me on Wednesday afternoons 4:30-6 (at MUMS in Middlebury) and Thursday afternoon 4:30-6 (at Charlotte Congregational Church-note, I need a minimum of 2 students each week to make renting this space worthwhile), and with Geoff from 8-9 on Monday and Tuesdays during regular club hours, all starting the week of September 24. I believe Geoff also plans to offer Friday evening lessons at Vintage Fitness, so keep checking back, those will be added soon.

We are ready to enlist your help in testing this out, so if you would like to take private lessons with either of us this fall, go ahead and start signing up. Here is the link:

https://visibook.com/vfafencinglessons

About Visibook and lessons:
-If you don't see any thing labeled "availabilities", try toggling from "week" to "month", as 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).

-The calendar is currently open through Thanksgiving. I will extend it later this fall. We may or may not stick with Visibook as our scheduling software, depending on how we like it.

By the way, Level 1 students, you will each get one complimentary private lesson with me after class during the last few weeks of the fall term!

3. FALL FOLIAGE CLASSIC-SIGN UP NOW. INCLUDES UNRATED EVENTS!
Don't miss the Green Mt Division's season kick-off, September 29 at UVM! Event schedule:
9:30 a.m Open (senior mixed) foil
10:30 a.m. Unrated epee
12 p.m Open (senior mixed) saber
2 p.m Open (senior mixed) epee
2:30 p.m Unrated foil

This tournament is open to fencers born 2005 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 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 24 (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 2019 Rookie of the Year (yes, we give an award for that)!

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:
https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=40666

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:
www.vtfencingalliance.org/old_posts/HowToUseFRED.htm .

4. OF SOCKS AND WEBSITES
At long last (after a saga involving one sock company merging with another), we have brand new club socks on order. These are knee-high sports socks (suitable for use with fencing pants), green with black accents and the VFA logo in gold on the front. Thank you to Jesse Lussier for pushing the ordering process forward, and to Adam Glazer for working on the design. When the socks come in (not sure, should be within the next few weeks, keep an eye on your weekly bulletin) I will bring them to sell at practice. They come in 4 sizes (I got a lot of M and L, and fewer S and XL) and cost $12 each. You do not need to sign up anywhere to buy them, just bring money once I announce they have arrived.

Also in the works: Patty Bliss (Lauren Halberg's mom) is a professional website designer. She has volunteered to give the club website a major overhaul, with a new look and enhanced functionality (such as a mobile version and link to lesson scheduling). I have seen her draft in progress and it looks great! It will go live when ready (no time line, but I'll let you know).