Annual Meeting & Election
June 17, 2023 @RFC and Virtually via Microsoft Teams
The Michigan Division Board is elected by members at the Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with the Michigan Division Senior Championship-Foil/Saber tournament in June. Elected board members serve a one-season term from August 1st through July 31st. According to the bylaws, "Written notice of the date, time, and place of the annual meeting shall be given to all members not less than fifteen (15) days in advance of such meeting. The notice shall contain a statement of offices to be filled at such a meeting and any proposed amendments to the By-laws to be voted upon." This year, we have a full agenda and a membership vote to adopt new Bylaws and an Operating Guide received from USA Fencing.
Microsoft Teams meeting
Join on your computer, mobile app or room device
Meeting ID: 221 638 200 013
Iron Man/Woman/Youth Awards
New Bylaws (see info below)
Elections (see candidates below)
New and Old Business
All Michigan Division Members in good standing, 18 years old or older by election day, with an Access Membership or greater, are allowed to vote in person or by proxy ballot, assigning power of attorney to another member in good standing. If you are unable to attend the meeting in person to vote, you may submit the PROXY VOTE below. This proxy must be returned to Evelyn Gerson email@example.com at least 72 hours before the meeting; midnight of June 14th
To date, we have a couple of new folks throwing their hats into the ring for the next season. Should you want to run or nominate someone, please contact Lauren Hirsch, Nominating Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Chair presides over all meetings. It is their responsibility to file annual reports with US Fencing and file all sanctioned events with new ratings earned to US Fencing.
In the absence of the Chair, shall perform the duties of the Chair. The Vice Chair runs all Division events and posts these events on Askfred. Responsibilities also include finding refs for all Division events, getting medals, etc.
The Treasurer keeps the accounts of the Division, receives money, dues, and fees of the Division, and pays all bills. At the annual meeting, the Treasurer shall submit a financial report.
The Secretary shall conduct all official correspondence, keep records of the meetings of the Division, and issue notices of the members of the meetings. Responsibilities also include sending out the newsletter and posting events on social media.
Meet The 2023-24 Candidates
Beth Vance (she/her)
Beth Vance has been active in MI Division fencing for over 20 years, serving as Chair in 2004-2005, 2021-2022 and Vice Chair in the 2022-2023 season. Beth was on the 2013 Veteran World Women's Saber Team, and has taken first place in a Veteran Combined Saber NAC, and consistently finishes in the top 8 at Veteran NAC's and Summer Nationals. Beth trains at the Renaissance Fencing Club where she also serves as an assistant coach for the beginner, adult, and competitive youth saber program.
Laurie Lapp (she/her)
Laurie has been the Division Treasurer from 2019-2023, and sees fencing as a sport that can benefit the young and more mature in a multitude of ways. Laurie started fencing mid-life in 2012. Since this time she has obtained a rating in all three weapons, certification to referee in all three weapons, and has obtained Moniteur coaching status. You will find her at Traverse City Fencing Club in Traverse City, Michigan. Laurie works as a professional human resources consultant for small businesses and charter schools across the state of Michigan.
Gretchen Payne (she/her)
Gretchen is a proud fencing parent of two young, competitive foilists and an advocate for the power of sport in developing confidence, responsibility and team work. She is a parent-volunteer at Grand Rapids Fencing Academy (GRAFA), where she has experience organizing and running local club meets and regional tournaments. She also volunteers as a club manager at PASS FC soccer club, which has reinforced her belief in the power of coaching and competition in developing skills needed in any future path. When not at the fencing club or on the soccer field, Gretchen serves as Vice President of HR at Amway Corporation. She hopes to bring her passion for fencing and her ability to drive strategy and organization in complex situations to this role, serving as a parent advocate for fair play and competition.
Ceili Widmann (they/them)
Ceili is the President-elect and women's epee Captain for Michigan State University Club Fencing, where they have fenced for the last 8 years. Prior to moving to Michigan for college, they lived in Ashland, OR and fenced for SOFC/Rogue Fencing. They hold two bachelor's degrees from MSU and are a candidate for the M.A. in Arts & Cultural Management, focusing on sports rhetorics, fencing history, and nonprofit management. They hope to continue to build the division's communication strategy, online presence, and overall accessibility practices.
New Bylaws & Operating Guide
After the Division Election, the membership will be voting to adopt new bylaws and a division operating guide given to us by the National Office. The Division’s Executive Committee unanimously endorses adopting the proposed articles of incorporation as the current MIDIV Bylaws, originally adopted in 1973, and last updated in January 2004, and the forty-year old operating guide, have numerous errors, inconsistencies, and do not reflect the best practices of a 21st-century Division (e.g. Zoom meetings, website/social media management, etc.). Here is some background from the National Office in addition to what has already been sent to all USFA members:
"In 2020, the Board of Directors charged the Division Resource Team with the task of assuring that all Divisions operate in compliance with USA Fencing’s Bylaws and policies and the requirements imposed by law. To this end, the Board later authorized and approved a set of documents for the governance of all Divisions. These consist of a uniform set of Division Bylaws, a Division Operating Guide, and a set of Division Operating Guide Instructions. These documents may be accessed here. All Divisions will need to transition to the new Bylaws and adopt the Division Operating Guide by August 1, 2023, and to report having done so when they file their officer reports no later than September 1, 2023."
The Executive Committee embraces these updates as a long-overdue, streamlined, modernized, and professionalized path to responsible Division governance. We encourage all division members to read the proposed bylaws/operating guide and email us with any questions/concerns at email@example.com.
According to “Article XI- Amendments” of our current bylaws, we will be voting on these proposed articles at our Annual Meeting, and with a “two-thirds (⅔) majority vote of all votes cast by members voting either in person or by valid, written proxy” we hope they will be adopted. If you are unable to attend the Annual Meeting in person on June 17th, we encourage you to fill out the proxy vote below and appoint a member who will be in attendance.
Any member of the Division meeting the qualifications above may submit their vote for the election of officers and any other business contained in the written notice of the meeting, by assigning a proxy before midnight, June 14, 2023.