Week of March 13, 2017

1. SCHEDULE ETC
The plan is for this to be the last full week of fencing for the winter session. However, it looks like old man winter may not be done with us yet. Therefore, please be on the look-out for email from me tomorrow and/or Wednesday in case there are school closings. Here is the contingency plan:
If fencing must be cancelled Tuesday, it will not be possible for me to schedule an additional make-up due to my surgery. Therefore, all current Charlotte Level 1 and 2 students who prepaid for 10 winter classes and will only get 9 are entitled to take $10 off their spring class fees.
If the Middlebury Level 3 class must be cancelled on Wednesday, I will try to schedule a make up on March 22, to be taught by Geoff and/or my various assistants if they are willing and available. The final Level 3 class consists of bouting games, so it's a fun and easy one for a substitute coach to lead. I will keep you posted on this.
Note that the last Level 1/2 classes of the session are scheduled for next Monday and Tuesday (March 20 and 21).

Current Level 1 students and any other equipment renters: please let me know this week whether you plan to continue renting equipment for the spring term, will be getting your own equipment, or do not plan to fence this spring. I still have a complete set of used equipment for a small child (average 9-10 year old) available for sale for $50 (and I'll throw in a free bag if you take it!). It would be perfect for one of the younger Level 1 students. Please let me know if you would like me to bring it for your child to try on.

Don't forget: please spread the word to all your friends about our upcoming spring classes! Our website has a glitch that has prevented me from updating it for months (our noble webmaster can't figure out what is going on). Eventually I will try changing ftp program and/or server, but that probably will not happen before spring session starts. Therefore, please tell your friends to get in touch with me directly for the latest info on spring classes. For every friend who joins a Level 1 class, you get $5 off your spring class fees (and a big thank you from me!).

2. 2017 FUND DRIVE FINAL REPORT
Here is the breakdown on our Middlebury Open fundraising effort.
Sponsorships: $2915
T-shirt sales (profit after cost of shirts) $365
Raffle: $590
Cafe: $443
(Note: raffle and cafe numbers are approximate as lots of people paid in combination so it's hard to know exactly which payments are for which)
Entry fees collected minus actual tournament costs -$243 (this is negative because many people got free entry for their fundraising efforts, so some of the cost of holding the tournament comes out of the sponsorships)

Total: $4070
Current balance in the club account: approximately $7500. This should be plenty to carry us through to the next Middlebury Open. Thank you again to everyone who contributed in any way to the 2017 fund drive!

For comparison, the 2016 fund drive raised $4500 and it was $4236 in 2015. So we were down a little over the past couple of years (although we still have plenty and I'm not worried about it as long as it's not a long term trend). Attendance this year was down (except for the ever popular open epee event) - perhaps a combination of the event falling over the Chittenden County school vacation and a conflicting collegiate event at UVM on the same weekend. Most disappointing to me is that there seems to be a downward trend over the past few seasons in turn out for all GMD youth and unrated events (not just the Middlebury Open) - I would love to hear ideas from youth and unrated fencers on what would make these events more attractive to you (a good topic of discussion for our annual meeting in June). I also see a trend over the last few years in the way sponsorships are collected, as we are relying an fewer donations from larger donors (mostly club member and families) rather than a broader range of smaller donations from local businesses (with some exceptions - a few of you did indeed canvas a broad range of potential sponsors). This has not only brought down our sponsorship total, but could become a problem if we lose just a few of those $100+ donors (as is inevitable as kids graduate, people move or stop fencing, etc). I also think the broader involvement of local businesses raises our profile in the community and makes more people aware of our existence, so while I'm very grateful to our generous large donors, I would like to see a bigger effort next year to get a broader range of advertisers from outside the fencing circle. But like I said, I am not worried about our financial standing, we are in good solid shape for the year to come.

3. NEXT TOURNAMENT-APRIL 1 AND 2 IN CHARLOTTE
This is really two tournaments in one. First, there are qualifying events for summer nationals (in Salt Lake City in July). The vast majority of GMD fencers have no plans to travel to Salt Lake, so please just treat this as yet another fun GMD tournament. The more the merrier! Because these events are qualfiers, we are not allowed to hold mixed-gender events. So for those who enjoy single gender events, this is an opportunity. When you go to sign up for these events, you may notice that they are all marked to start at the same time. This is just a place-holder. Once registration for these events closes on March 27, any event with fewer than 4 people signed up will be canceled, and an actual schedule for the day will be announced. Therefore, go ahead and sign up for as many of these events as you would like to participate in! All foil events will be on Saturday and all epee and saber events will be on Sunday. Here are the types of events:
Div2: Open to all GMD fencers rated C or lower, born 2003 or before
Y14: Open to all GMD fencers born 2002-05

Second, there is a D-Under (also called Div3) tournament the same weekend (again, foil on Saturday, epee and saber on Sunday). These events are open to all fencers (from any division) rated D or lower, born 2003 or earlier, and will be mixed gender. Our goal is (at least for foil and epee) to hold C2 events. In a C2 event, there must be 25 or more competitors, including at least 4 Ds and 4 Es. If 4 (or more) Ds finish in the top 8, the winner earns a C, 2nd and the two 3rds a D, and places 5-8 an E rating. We have enough fencers in the GMD alone to pull this off, but it means that every one of you has to sign up and show up, including lots of unrated fencers. The more who sign up early (like today!) the closer we come to the magic 25, and the more alluring this is for other fencers (including those considering traveling from out of state). So you are helping create a really exciting event just by adding your name to the AskFRED list!

The qualifier events have their own AskFRED page (allows the meet managers to automatically produce a qualifier report for the national office afterward), even though they will be intermingled with D-under events (see below). You sign up for Div2 and/or Y14 on one AskFRED page and for D-Under on another.
Sign up here for Div2 and Y14: https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=36181
Sign up here for D-Under events: https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=36392

All events on April 1-2 require competitive USFA membership. The good news for first-time competitors: if you upgrade your membership to competitive on or after April 1, it is good for all of next season (in other words, you get the spring months as a bonus, and don't have to worry about USFA membership in the fall). The bad news: you can not count on going on the usfencing.org website the morning of April 1 and being able to seamlessly make the upgrade. When I registered you as a noncompetitive member, the USFA assigned you a user name and password (but didn't do anything as convenient as telling you what it is). If you try to log in as a new user, you will create a duplicate record and the system will lock you out. Therefore, I highly recommend that you call the USFA at 719.866.4511 (in CO, 2 hours earlier time zone) a few days before April 1 and explain that you would like to make your upgrade on April 1 in order to get the free membership extension, but that you need to know (or reset) your user id and password. That allows you to try logging in in advance and make sure you can access the site (call them back if it doesn't work). Once you can do that, making your upgrade the morning of April 1 before competing should be easy (you will need to do it yourself at home and print out your receipt to bring to the tournament). Sorry it's so complicated!

I will not be present at this tournament (Dan Crocket is in charge). Therefore, all competitors must have their own jacket, mask, glove and underarm protector. I will arrange to send the club electric equipment for those who need to borrow it.

4. AND FINALLY, A COMPLETELY SELF SERVING ANNOUNCEMENT
Some of you have asked where you can hear my bands play locally. On Sunday April 2, Frost and Fire is giving a concert at the home of Jeannie Van Order on South Street in Middlebury, 7-9 p.m., with a potluck dinner before. Songs, Celtic and original tunes on a multitude of intruments (including Scottish border pipes!), and even a few spoken word pieces, in a cozy accoustic setting. Suggested donation is $20, but please pay what you are comfortable with (no-one should stay home because they can't afford full price). To make a reservation, get the exact address and for more info, contact Jeannie at jeansvan(at)gmail.com or (802) 388-2142.

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