Highschool Fencing

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Corbin, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. Corbin

    Corbin Rookie

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    I want to start fencing up at my highschool, and I know a guy that has been doing it for years if I would need a coach of sorts. I was wondering if there's any kind of sponsorship available. It would be more like a society or club I guess. If anyone knows any information I would be eternally grateful.

    Thanks!
    Corbin
     
  2. fencerbill

    fencerbill Podium

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    Where are you, it makes a big difference?
     
  3. Corbin

    Corbin Rookie

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    My bad!

    Spearfish, South Dakota
     
  4. fencerbill

    fencerbill Podium

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    Some Divisions are more likely to have money to sponsor equipment purchase. I believe the USFA national office has had, at least in the past, money to help fencing programs get started. I know New England division has been able to help close to home.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Phaeton

    Phaeton Rookie

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    I've had some experience with high school fencing clubs, and depending on your state or district things can be made very hard or very easy for you in terms of what you are allowed to do, and getting things approved.

    The first thing to do in the formation of a club is maybe the most obvious: Fill the associated paperwork and give it to ASB. The school has no grounds for not accepting your club and it may even help provide a venue or funding for your club. Being an official club comes with bonuses quite often. It'd be best to leave out any discussion of actually "fencing" in the club constitution unless you know if you'll bring blades on campus. Using a school club status you may be entitled to money raised by ASB, to raise money yourselves, and/or charge club dues.

    Next, I'd recommend talking to your principal about finding space on campus with storage for equipment. Finding an adequate place to fence is very difficult no matter what you location. You'll probably need electrical outlets. The roof must be high enough, and the room long and wide enough to fit a few fencing strips, and have flooring that won't kill people's legs (IE concrete, repeated lunging on concrete is anything but good for you) . Fencing equipment takes up space and has to be relatively well cared for. Keep that in mind. It may be against the law to even bring fencing blades on campus depending on the state and district (I'm not sure about North Dakota) if so you'll need to make the school board see the light.

    Even if you get space you'll have other expenses to fill. To register with the USFA is a $50 fee per weapon. There's always fencing equipment and armory.

    If you have any local clubs associating yourself with them may be able to get you a borrowed set of fencing equipment, and a coach. Fencing equipment for even 10-15 people, a moderate sized club difficult.

    You could always work on footwork with one group as a small set of equipment rotates. Another requirement could be people buying their own equipment, and you may be able to negotiate a local vendor discount for being a high school club.

    The maintenance is another issue. You'll soon have a mass of broken body cords and tips. You can't expect everyone to fix things for themselves so keep in mind the labor you're stuck doing.

    Another great resource as aforementioned is the sections and divisions of the USFA. They may individually have funds, aid, contact with coaches, and tournament schedules for you. Once again they may not have some of these resources. The USFA can't help every school, but you may be in luck.

    Also, you can always look to parents and community leaders. Even local community centers may want to lend to a hand. Ask and press the issue with people who have and are willing to give the resources you need.

    You've got a lot of work ahead of you, and it can be daunting, but don't let that get the best of you. You can make a great club. It may be a platitude, one of the most clich├ęd, but it's a true one, "When there's a will there's a way". If one door closes another opens.

    Good Luck,
    Phaeton :jawa:
    Useless Forum Troller
     
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  6. KD5MDK

    KD5MDK Moderator

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    Amazingly enough, when I sent in my USFA membership, I got all 3 weapons for the price of one.
     
  7. fencerbill

    fencerbill Podium

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    Not only individuals but, I believe, clubs get all 3 weapons for one price.
     
  8. Mitchell

    Mitchell hi Staff Member

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    $50 in total, flat fee, not per weapon.
     
  9. OkraMonk

    OkraMonk Rookie

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    I'm attempting to start a club in my high school as well, but we have somewhat lower standards. Right now we're broke, have crummy hand-me-down equipment (I even had to mend some of our jackets myself so we would have enough, as well as clean up the weapons and check them and all the masks. some had rust spots.), and are scheduled to have meetings in the high school amphiteater- an uneven concrete surface. Once we've raised money, we're going to spend it on new equipment.

    Does anyone know a good way to get club equipment discount? It'd be really great, but I'm leery of buying cheap stuff because of quality issues, and it's not like we'll ever have more than enough money.

    anyways, I guess what I'm saying is that everyone is way to *&^$&^#-ing ignorant of fencing in this country and they all need to wise up.
     
  10. Mr Epee

    Mr Epee Rookie

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    That's the spirit. :cool2:
     
  11. Mitchell

    Mitchell hi Staff Member

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    cheap stuff is fine and will be your best bet. just make sure that everyone practices the standard safety precautions. absolute fencing gear has a nice discount policy. i'm unsure about other places, but you can try triplette or BG for inexpensive beginner's gear, as well. all have websites.
     
  12. The Chaotic Wind

    The Chaotic Wind Rookie

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    ah man trying to start fencing in higshcool. i've bene trying to do it for about a year, last time i checked they said "they're weapons you could get expelled" i corrected them of course and said "weapons? it's sporting equipment!"
    anyways, my psych teacher said i could try. i need to find a teacher to back me on it. i'm pretty sure once you have a teacher you';re set.

    as far as equipment you could always post flyer sin your local sporting goods store asking for donations or maybe get a fundrasier going. i havent been able to get that far just yet, so if you figure out a way, please post on it.
     
  13. devine intervention

    devine intervention Rookie

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    most schools will have some sort of sports budget to get you started, the usfa could get you an insurance policy i think, you just need to show your school that there is enough intrest in fencing
     
  14. die Fechterin

    die Fechterin Rookie

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    I know that I get a 20% coach's discount with Blue Gauntlet. I give them a lot of business and it helps to have the discount. BG stuff is 20% off and Uhlman is 15% for coaches...I think.
     
  15. die Fechterin

    die Fechterin Rookie

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    Just remind them that fencing, if done properly, is about as safe a sport as golf. Also remind them about the "riffles" and "sabres" used by the colorguard/flag corps...if you have one.
     
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  16. Phaeton

    Phaeton Rookie

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    Guess who the USFA owes $100 then?
     
  17. Greg

    Greg Rookie

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    First, see what the school says about forming student

    clubs. There is usually some written policy. It is also highly likely that all clubs will need some faculty advisor or coordinator for oversight. That may be a challenge to get one willing to be a part of a fencing club. They are often afraid of liability issues from accidents even though fencing is very safe.

    Then find a practice facility and set a practice schedule.

    You will also need a coach or someone that knows how to properly teach fencing. Not all fencers are good teachers. Set up a formal training schedule or class.

    Next find out about equipment. If you are really lucky, your HS will give you some money. Otherwise you will have to charge dues and buy the stuff. You will need to have equipment for new fencers so they can see if they like the sport. Most people will not buy gear until they have a chance to try it out. If you have no equipment to get people started, your club will not last long. If you get ten new members, you will need enough stuff for at least ten full starter sets which is over $1100. You can buy used stuff that other clubs are disposing of but be careful. There is still a lot of old junk around dating back to the 1970s that clubs are pawning off on others. Its dangerous.

    Once you have this, recruit student members for the club. Charge dues used to offset the cost of equipment. Don't go cheap on the dues. People (student's parents) are willing to pay for quality experiences.

    Finally, the club can be registered with the USFA for $40 without insurance or $250 with insurance. Get the insurance to protect yourself and the school.

    Its a lot to do and the first year is usually pretty shakey. But once the club is established and gets a good reputation around campus, it will grow very fast. You can start to train people to act as student instructors as they progress.

    A key thing is that the club must be well run and provide members with quality training, competitions, social activities, etc. If not it won't last very long.
     
  18. labelle

    labelle Rookie

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    Hope this helps

    As a junior in high school, I started a school club last January. I would expect the policies in Sout Dakota to be fairly similar to the rules down here in Iowa.

    There wasn't too much trouble convincing the principal that our flexible, non-sharp swords are not weapons, but sporting equipment. (If you have a parent/student handbook, the school's weapon policy should be in there)

    As far as safety goes, I kept hearing phrases like "fencing is safer than golf," but had a hard time finding any concrete statistics on it. Perhaps the best resources I found were a study from 1992 (www.exra.org/FENCINGarticle.htm) and 1996 (www.exra.org/FencingChptr.htm). Unfortunately they're at least 10 years old, and the '96 one's pretty detailed. You can find some pretty alarming statistics for sports schools do allow, for example football and cheerleading.

    The biggest problem I encountered was liability/insurance. As previous posters said, it is offered through USFA. But that costs $, the second-biggest problem. The way our school club works is that we're an extenstion of the local club - a coach from the local club coaches us, we were using their gear, among other reasons we're closely tied with them. So we fall under their insurance. If you don't have the cooperation of a local club, you're going to have to do something different. In order for us to break off from the local club, we'd have to have 1) a Board of Directors, 2) a charter (rules/guidelines/by-laws), and 3) insurance.

    About money:

    Fencing cannot be like other mainstream sports like volleyball and basketball because it is not a sanctioned (by the Iowa high school athletic association and girls' union or whatever those organizations are called) sport. I think most if not all of the money for the other sports programs is allocated to them because they are sanctioned. Fencing is not going to get sanctioned in the near future. I suspect it's similar in S.D.

    Our school has a miniscule budget for clubs (like a few hundred dollars maybe) which has to be shared among all the clubs (although chess club doesn't really use that much). So we have absolutely no financial support from the school. Find out if the situation is the same at your school.

    That means that you're going to have to charge dues. You'll have to get some fundraisers going, too. We didn't have to buy gear because we borrowed from the local club. Is there a club in your area that will help you out?


    Lastly, you're going to have to have some sort of adult supervision. You didn't sound like you had a coach lined up, but I hope you do. A "teacher sponsor" is also a great asset, but we didn't get one until several weeks into our season. The teacher sponsor doesn't have to have any prior fencing experience. Their job is to supervise, be a liaison to administration, and hopefully provide some congruency as new members come in and people graduate. As I learned last year, it's not a good idea to have a student handling money/dues if you can help it. Duties of treasurer would be part of the teacher sponsor's job.

    Good luck with it!
     

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