Starting a New College Fencing Club

Discussion in 'New to Fencing' started by kgjerde, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. kgjerde

    kgjerde Rookie

    Feb 1, 2006
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    Hello! My name is Kristen Gjerde and I am trying to start a Fencing Club at Illinois State University. There seems to be a lot of interest in the club and I am looking forward to seeing where I can go with it. I have been trying to print out the insurance forms from off of the USFA website, but it has recently been down. Is it always like this? Anyway, I was wondering if you guys could give me tips on registering with the USFA as well as promoting the club in general. Thank you so much and have a great day!
  2. RITFencing

    RITFencing Rookie

    Sep 30, 2005
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    Hi Kristen,

    I went through the same thing you're dealing with now a few years ago at RIT. I've found that the USFA stuff isn't as bad as dealing with the college administration. In fact, I wouldn't worry about the USFA right now; I'm sure the University of Illinois has insurance for all sancitoned clubs.

    As far as getting the ball rolling, try to get a proffessor interested, preferably one with fencing experience. That will smooth things out a great deal and will also provide you with someone capable of sharing the coaching. To get people to join the club, put up fliers where students congregate and cajole/bully your friends into coming. You can also see about putting on a public demonstration; they tend to be great ways to raise awareness.

    Is there a fencing class offered at your school? If so, you can ask to use their equipment and you can probably get some club members from it. If not, or if they won't let you borrow the equipment, make up a list of what equipment you will need (jackets, masks, gloves, weapons, underarms and chest protectors; don't worry about eletric gear yet), raise each number by about 50%, and ask student government or whomever is in charge of such things for the funds needed. Absolute Fencing is a great place to look for stuff like this; their gear is cheap, reliable and they give a 20% discount on it to clubs.

    When you have a room reserved and you're ready to hold your first practice, don't be surprised if you get more people than you planned for. College students are dilletants; they like to dabble in many different activities and then stick with one or two. Keep the practices fun and try to keep everyone busy. If you can have a general plan of how practice should run going in, that can be helpful. I've found that playing warm up games goes over really well, even if it's a simple game of tag it can put people in a very good frame of mind.

    I know this probably seems like a whole lot to take in, but don't let it overwhelm you. Just like when you're on the strip, the most important thing is to stay relaxed and keep a good attitude. Hope all this was helpful. :)

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