Every parent wants to capture the memories that their children make, it’s part of being a parent! But what to keep and what to get rid of can be a big challenge, especially for fencing parents who follow their children from season to season. Organizing your child’s fencing career into a scrapbook or a series of scrapbooks is easy and it takes the guesswork out of the whole thing. Not only that, it’s something the kids can get involved with and make their own!
Here are few tips for creating a fencing scrapbook to help preserve the memories of your young fencer.
Tip 1 – Don’t get overwhelmed
The first thing to remember is that this doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the task of preserving your children’s memories, but it’s better to get something together that’s not perfect than to stress about it.
It’s not about spending money on cool stickers or scrapbooking paper. How you put your fencing scrapbook together is completely personal, but the important thing is to gather the bits and pieces that are important and put them all in one place.
The trick here is to keep it simple and to stay organized! That’s what scrapbooking is about.
Tip 2 – Organize your fencing memories
Figure out how you want to organize your child’s fencing memorabilia. You can choose to do several smaller books with one for each season that your child fences, or to get one big binder to hold several seasons of fencing. Whichever one works for your child.
One big recommendation here is to be flexible! If your child’s fencing career grows, you can always add space by moving things to a bigger binder. If you end up with blank space in the back, that’s ok too. There’s no way to predict how things will go, so organize for flexibility.
Another major organizational consideration is siblings. It’s honestly best to make a separate scrapbook for each child, even if they’re fencing with the same weapon and are in the same competitions. Later down the line your children will have separate houses and separate lives. The hope is that they’ll want to keep these and show them to their children one day!
Tip 3 – Print fencing pictures
Yes, we definitely live in the digital age. Gone are the days when you had to take pictures with a camera and wait for them to be developed. However there is simply nothing like holding a picture in your hand and looking at it in the context of the material pieces of life. Suddenly that picture becomes part of a bigger story.
Print out a shot of your child standing on the podium at a fencing competition or warming up at the training session, then slide it in next to the medal that they won in the pages of a scrapbook. Put it next to a note from their fencing coach and you’ve got something that you can hold on to in the decades to come.
The wide access that we have to digital images, thousands of them, is a wonderful thing. Video is even better as it lets us relive the moments in a fantastic way. Printing out physical pictures is a dimension that many of us don’t even think about anymore, but it’s a powerful way to keep those memories. It’s also inexpensive and simple as you can generally upload your pictures to a site and pick them up close by.
Tip 4 – Think outside the box
Did you fly to an SYC? Put the ticket stub in your scrapbook! Did you drive many hours to get to that RYC? Put a gas receipt in your scrapbook! That might seem silly now, but when your fencer is an adult they’ll marvel at the gas prices, or perhaps even at the fact that you put gas into a car.
Here are some ideas for small things to add to your child’s fencing scrapbook.
- Hotel keys
- Fliers from vendors at competitions
- Competition ticket stubs
- Bits of confetti from the graduation party
- Fencing scoresheets
- Pressed flowers from bouquets if given after a win
- Goal sheets
- Notes from coaches
- Notes from parents
- Fliers from your fencing club
- Fencing training schedules
The small things can often bring back the biggest memories later. Remember, it’s not just about what you’re looking at, it’s about how that makes you feel. This is why museums feel different than watching documentaries, being near a real thing that has real resonance is important.
Keep thinking outside the box when you’re adding to your child’s fencing scrapbook. A first fencing glove can flatten down nicely and fit into a scrapbook. Many fencing schools hold international potlucks with food from families all over the world, so ask for a recipe of a favorite dish and put it in the scrapbook!
Whatever is important to your child, that’s what you should add to the book. Remember, it’s about them and their unique view of the world.
Tip 5 – Make notes about fencing
Write notes about what these items mean. Ten years from now it might not pop into your mind exactly why that competition had an impact. When you make your scrapbook, include notes to explain what things mean.
Here are some examples:
- “Alex earned his first national points at this fencing competition.” Written next to a medal included in the scrapbook.
- “Napkin from the restaurant we went to after Sam made the podium at the RYC in Arizona”
- “Lizzy lost in the first three pool bouts but came back to make the DE.” Next to a picture of her fencing.
- “Coach Jonathan was Lori’s favorite, he always made her feel like a winner.” Next to a picture of Lori with her coach.
Even though you think that you’ll remember these things later down the line, part of the point of scrapbooking is to make sure that the next generation will know what happened without you being there to tell them.
Tip 6 – Make a start of season/end of season form
A super fun and easy way to add a window into your young fencer’s scrapbook is to add a list of questions from the start of the season, the end of the season, or both. Just sit down with your child and ask them some questions, ideally the same questions every year so you can see how their answers change. Have them write their answers and you’ll get to see how their handwriting and thinking grows through the years!
Here are some ideas for questions that you can ask your child fencer:
- What is your favorite thing about fencing?
- What is your biggest goal for the coming fencing season?
- What are you most excited about this season?
- Why did you choose to fence again this season?
- How do you think fencing helps you in other parts of your life?
- What was your toughest match this season?
- What are you most proud of having accomplished this season?
- What was your toughest challenge as a fencer this season?
- What is your favorite memory from this season?
- Who was your closest fencing friend this year?
This kind of little things is a piece that you’ll be glad you have when they grow up. It gives major insight into how your child understands their fencing journey!
Tip 7 – Get started with your fencing scrapbook!
Making a scrapbook of your child’s athletics is one of those things that can easily fall by the wayside. Our final tip is to just get started, to go out there and do it.
Drop by your local big box store and pick up the following supplies to get going if you’re unsure of where to start. This is for a very simple fencing scrapbook, one made with things that you can get anywhere. Just look in the office supply section!
- Three ring binder (try one or one and a half inch)
- Plastic sheet protectors
- 8.5” x 11” cardstock
- Double-sided tape
That’s it! That’s all you need to make a basic scrapbook. You can get as simple or as fancy as you want to from here.
Use the double-sided tape to attach your memorabilia to the cardstock, slip the pages into the sheet protectors, and clip them into the binder. Even bulky items like fencing medals will attach and slide down into the sheet protectors to keep them organized and safe.
One more note: include digital memories. At the end of the season, load video and pictures onto an SD card or USB flash drive and add them to a page of the fencing scrapbook. While part of the point of this is to hold on to the physical memories, it’s still a good idea to capture that video in the same place. Let’s just hope that in the future there will be technology that could read these media files.
Voila! Your child’s fencing memories are simply organized and kept together. Many years from now you’ll be so glad that you put the effort into creating a place for your child’s fencing memories.