Update as of 3/23/22: Registration is now open for beginner classes starting in early April. If you are interested in joining this spring, please contact Viveka to get on our email list. Classes will be offered at Charlotte Central School and at a location in Middlebury tba (either Mary Hogan School or Bridge School). We are proud that we successfully returned to indoor fencing this winter with no known cases of covid transmission. Our club includes older fencers, parents of preschoolers, people with higher risk of severe covid or who live with those at risk. Fencing is a face-to-face sport where you are exercising for a prolonged period in the same limited space as your training partner. Therefore, we choose to err on the side of caution when it comes to covid safety measures. Please note up front that participation in the VFA requires full vaccination for covid for all ages (exemption for medical reasons considered with a doctor's note). At present, all fencers are required to wear face coverings, including under the fencing mask while fencing. While that requirement may change over the course of the spring if community transmission falls to low enough levels, you should for now expect to wear a mask and be willing to do so.

If you are going to reserve rental equipment and/or a space in a beginner (Level 1) class:
-Class is open to age 9 through adult.
-All club members age 12+ are required to be fully vaccinated against covid before the first class.
-All fencers regardless of vaccination status must wear a face covering over mouth and nose at all times, including under the fencing mask while fencing, except for brief socially-distanced breaks. If this is a problem for you, please wait until community transmission of covid drops to the level where all members of the club feel comfortable with being unmasked..
-Beginner classes are progressive (building on skills learned the previous week) so regular attendance is important. That said, you know the drill by now: stay home if you are sick, or if you suspect you were exposed to covid, and get tested before returning.

There are NO REFUNDS once a class session is under way, and no trial classes. If you are brand new to fencing, we normally recommend coming to observe a class (with an eye toward joining the next round of beginner classes), meet the instructors and club members, and make sure it is really something that you want to participate in. While incurable romantics and closet swashbucklers are very welcome in the VFA, you should be aware that modern sport fencing is quite different from the theatrical swordplay of the movies. Contact Viveka if you have any questions.

Will there be room for me in the class?
That is hard to predict. Class sizes are limited due to safety concerns, and I have a limited stock of rental equipment in a range of sizes. It is possible that I will run out of equipment in your size before I run out of room in the class, in which case, I may offer you the option to join by purchasing your own equipment, or to be added to a priority list for spring classes. I have had a lot of inquiries in recent months and that there seems to be a lot of pent up demand for beginner classes (I guess that's a good problem for the club to have!). It seems quite possible that the spring classes will fill up, so I recommend signing up early. Here is how I will handle registration:
-Through March 25: priority for rental equipment goes to new Level 1 students (Level 2 students may not reserve it and are encouraged to purchase their own). I will reserve equipment on a first-come first served basis by size. The sooner you register, the better your chances of getting in to the class.
-From March 25 until class starts, if there is any equipment and/or space left, I will add students as they sign up. Level 2 students may reserve rental equipment if there is any left. Once class is full, I will start a waiting list, in case anyone withdraws before the first class.
-Once the class is underway, I can not admit new students from a waiting list - the next opportunity will be in September. So please, be considerate and notify me as soon as possible if you signed up but decide not to participate. Someone may be waiting for your spot in the class.

Intrigued? Feel that even under the unusual pandemic circumstances, you are ready to try an awesome, fun sport that is also an excellent work out? Here is how to register for winter classes:

-Email and request a registration form
-Print and fill in page 3 of the form
-Scan and email the completed form back to me, or mail it to Viveka Fox, 1379 Mountain Rd, Vergennes, VT 05491 If you are returning the form by regular mail, please email to let me know it's on the way, and provide this info in your email: name, age, class location, height, weight, dominant hand. That way I can go ahead and reserve equipment for you right away rather than wait for the form to arrive. I do still need to get the full form before class starts for the waiver signatures.

Remember:
-Honor system: I am not collecting fees in advance, but I expect you to let me know right away if you decide not to join the class, as I may have a waiting list
-If you are certain you want to take fencing this spring, the sooner you sign up, the better your chances of there being space and equipment for you.
-All fees due at first class, NO refunds once classes start
-Note mask and vaccination requirements

To register for VFA classes or for more information about fencing in Middlebury and Charlotte, contact Viveka Fox at vfox@gmavt.net or 802-759-2268.

Fencing is sometimes available in other parts of Vermont. For contact information on other Vermont clubs, go to the Green Mt. Division website at gmdfencing.org