High schoolers learn how to fence – from a safe distance.
En Garde! The new Souderton Area High School Fencing Club kicked off its inaugural season recently with their first fencing lesson.
Thirteen high-schoolers and their club advisor socially distanced and wearing face masks and fencing masks, paid close attention to fencing coach Nate Hoffmann, of the Bucks County Academy of Fencing, as he explained the basics.
The new fencing club is the culmination of a year of work by Skye Scarlett, an 11th grader who has been fencing for three years at BCAF.
“I love fencing and…wanted to find a way for more kids to try the sport,” says Skye. “When I talked to Maestro Mark Holbrow, owner of the Bucks County Academy of Fencing, he was on board immediately.”
Once the club was approved, Skye had one last problem to solve: how to fund a typically expensive sport.
“I decided to start a not-for-profit organization, called ‘En Garde! Souderton’ [which] raises the funds needed to pay for a fencing space, gear to use, and the fencing instructors.”
With the help of adult volunteers, En Garde! was formed and received official status as a 501(c)(3) in March, when Covid hit.
By September, En Garde! raised the money needed for the first year of the club.
The club will meet weekly at Bucks County Academy of Fencing-West in Hatfield.
Owner Mark Holbrow, a nationally recognized fencer and fencing coach opened BCAF-West in 2010 as a second location.
It has 12 Olympic-size fencing strips and a large area that easily accommodates the high school club even with social distancing measures in effect.
BCAF’s original location in Lambertville, NJ is one of the largest in the country and 2021 marks the 40-year anniversary of BCAF’s founding.
Opened in 1981, it was located in the basement of an old stone building in New Hope until it moved across the river to a larger space in Lambertville, NJ in 2003.
Maestro Holbrow is happy to see the Souderton club take off.
He notes that fencing teaches focus, self-respect, respect of others, paying attention to detail, and the importance of hard work and perseverance, all skills kids will use for a lifetime.
For more information about the club or the not-for-profit organization that supports it, contact Skye at 215-721-0365 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to learn more about fencing, visit BCAF at www.bcaf.com.
PHOTO CAP: En Garde! The new Souderton Area High School Fencing Club at their first practice.