Bulletin for the Week of September 4, 2018

1. WELCOME BACK RETURNING FENCERS
I have so much news, I am starting weekly bulletins a week early. This bulletin will be full of info for returning club members. There will be lots of info for new students coming up in a couple of weeks.

Reminder, all of you returning fencers, from battle-hardened veterans to those who took Level 1 in the spring, are invited to participate in our free preseason practices starting next Wednesday and Thursday.
Middlebury: Sept 12, 17 and 19, 7-9 pm, Mary Hogan School
Charlotte: Sept 13, 18 and 20, 7-9 p.m, Charlotte Central School

If you need to rent equipment for Level 2 classes this fall, please let me know as soon as possible as I am currently registering new students. If coming to preseason practices and planning to rent, I need to know that by Monday.

Speaking of equipment: got any outgrown but still usable equipment to sell? I know of one family looking for a basic set for a small child.

2. REFEREE CLINIC AT UVM SEPTEMBER 15
Why learn to ref?
-It makes you a more observant and better fencer, with a better understanding of the game and of your rights under the rules.
-It allows you to give back to your club and division. When you first started fencing, experienced fencers volunteered their time to ref your bouts and help you have a good experience. Now your club and your division need you to pay it forward. Without a constant supply of new refs coming in, we can not continue to hold tournaments.

We are fortunate to have an international ref and referee trainer in the Green Mt Division, in the person of UVM coach Anne Crocket. So unlike in other divisions, you don't have to travel hours to take the clinic. Also, the GMD covers the cost of the clinic for division members, so it's free (can't beat that deal). And to top it all off, if you take and pass the national ref exam, the GMD will reimburse you the $35 exam fee. All that is required is 8 hours of your time and a bit of effort to study for the exam.

Clinic date: 9/15, 9 am to 5 p.m (bring a bag lunch)
Location: UVM, room tba

Sign up here: https://askfred.net/Clinics/moreInfo.php?clinic_id=41251

I strongly recommend this for ALL members of the Competitive Squad, and encourage all teen and adult fencers who will be in Level 3 classes this fall to consider it. The ref course is typically offered locally only once per season, so don't miss the opportunity.

3. RENEW YOUR USFA MEMBERSHIP PLEASE
If you are a returning fencer, it is your responsibility to renew your membership on line at www.usafencing.org, before attending your first practice of the season (including preseason).

Note: if you took the Level 1 class in the spring (starting in April), your membership is good through this season and you do not have to do anything. Ditto if you upgraded from noncompetitive to competitive status after April 1. I noticed recently that the USFA database is actually missing all of these people, and contacted membership services to get it corrected. I was able to supply them with a list of spring newbies so if you are one of those, you should be all set. However, I am not sure who upgraded to competitive status after April 1. If this applies to you, please let me know, and I will make sure you are put back on the master list.

4. HELP SPREAD THE WORD AND GROW THE VFA
Registration is now open for Level 1 classes starting September 24 and 25. For every friend you recruit to the club, you get $5 off your own class fees this fall (yes, if you recruit more than 20 people, I will owe you money...and gladly pay!). If you have friends who might be interested in fencing, please share our web address (www.vtfencingalliance.org, NOT .com which was taken over rather embarrassingly by a Russian porn site) and/or pass on my email. Prospective club members are very welcome to drop in for a visit during preseason if they wish to meet me and learn more.

Experience has shown the Front Porch Forum is a very effective free advertising tool. I will be posting the notice below to the Vergennes FPF. I would love help from members of other FPFs to post in your neighborhood (especially Addison County folks, but others also great). You may share this notice as is, or add a personal note of your own if you wish. Please let me know which FPF you are posting to, to avoid duplication.

"Vermont Fencing Alliance Fall Beginner Classes
Fencing is an exciting Olympic sport which develops strength, agility, fitness and mental focus. The Vermont Fencing Alliance offers an active program of recreational fencing and competitive training for people age 9 through adult, in Middlebury and Charlotte. Our activities include foil and epee classes at all levels, open fencing, a regional league for friendly competition, and travel to meets throughout New England and beyond. Whether you want to go for the gold, or just try a little swordplay for fun and exercise, the VFA warmly welcomes beginners.

We are now registering students for beginner classes in two locations:
Mondays 6:30 p.m, Mary Hogan School (Middlebury), Sept 24-Dec. 3
Tuesdays 6:30 p.m., Charlotte Central School, Sept 25-Dec. 4

Cost for the 10-week Level 1 class is $140, which includes instruction, equipment rental, club and association dues. Partial financial assistance is available for those who could not otherwise participate. Advance registration is required to reserve equipment and a place in the Level 1 foil class (no walk-ins please!). To register, contact Viveka with the following information: name, age, address, phone, e-mail, height and weight (for equipment sizing), whether you are right or left handed, and which class (Middlebury or Charlotte) you would like to join.

To register for VFA classes or for more information about fencing in Middlebury and Charlotte, contact Viveka Fox (vfox@gmavt.net or 802-759-2268). More information can also be found on our website at www.vtfencingalliance.org"

5. UPDATE: COMPETITIVE SQUAD AND PRIVATE LESSONS
My proposal for replacing the old Junior Team program with a new teen/adult Competitive Squad has been met with a lot of interest. It looks like we will start with a roster of 13-16 Squaddies in Charlotte, and 5-10 in Middlebury (still waiting to hear from some fencers). Membership in the CS is by invitation from the coaches, for teen and adult fencers in Level 3 classes who have shown motivation and enthusiasm for tournament fencing. CS is not a "level 4" class (Squaddies will still do their weekly group Level 3 drills with me on Wednesdays and Thursdays). Instead of drilling with the Level 2 groups on Monday and Tuesday evenings, Squaddies will focus on bouting and competitive skills. Coach Geoff will lead the Squad for the first hour, in warm ups, conditioning, and setting goals, challenges or games to focus on for that evening's practice. He will then be available for private lessons, while the Squaddies will continue to bout on their own. Jack Brisson has volunteered to serve as squad captain in Middlebury. I am hoping one or more of the most experienced fencers in Charlotte will serve the same role there, and help keep everyone on track for the whole evening.

In addition to training purposefully and pushing themselves to become better fencers, the Squaddies will serve as leaders within the club, to help newer fencers develop the skills needed to join the CS program. Several have already volunteered to rotate in to help me teach Level 1/2 classes, or to help with armory work on club equipment.

Attention Squaddies: There will be a preseason Competitive Squad meeting with Geoff and myself at 6:30 p.m (prior to 7 pm practice) on Monday 9/17 in Middlebury and Tuesday 9/20 in Charlotte. Please try to attend one of these meetings so we can discuss some important things, get your input and answer your questions before the season fully kicks off.

One goal of the new club structure is to allow more fencers more opportunities to take private lessons. In the next few weeks, I am going to be setting up an on-line lesson sign up system for both Geoff and myself. You will be able to see what time slots are available and sign yourself up for lessons with either of us (and you will get an automated reminder when your lesson is coming up). The cost of a 20 minute private lesson is $20, payable directly to the coach at the time of the lesson. Here is my anticipated availability:
Wednesdays, 4:30-6 p.m, Middlebury (at the Middle School through early November, then location tba-I am looking into a couple of good options)
Thursdays, 4:30-6 pm, Charlotte Congregational Church (just around the corner from CCS)
Geoff's anticipated availability (confirm this directly with him): Monday through Thursday evenings 7:30-9 p.m (during regular club practices), Friday evenings in Vergennes
More specifics coming soon!