Forge is dedicated to building leaders, creating an interconnected sport network in Durham, and providing educational opportunities and advancements. Forge seeks to foster across-the-board equity in non-revenue generating sports with a current focus on fencing. We build equity across gender, ethnicity, socio-economic, and religions. The interconnected sport network assists in breaking down barriers and promoting a category-blind culture of leadership and confidence.
In February 2022, Forge Teams established an 8,000 sq. ft. Regional Training Center in downtown Durham, NC. The facility can host local and regional fencing tournaments, adaptive sport programming, summer camps, and a variety of social and physical activities promoting physical and mental health for all ages and ability levels.
Donations collected in 2021 and 2022 went directly to the state-of-the-art flooring system installed in the facility. That flooring system is used in connection to Forge Teams mission by hosting USA Fencing Region 6 events, local USA Fencing sanctioned events, and tournaments that foster the development of teens and young adults as leaders through referee, coaching, and armory development. The building of a facility due to the impact of the pandemic connected directly to our mission of supporting basic needs for sport participation in the sport of fencing. The flooring system is movable and is a substantial investment in building a vibrant community through sport participation.
Tournaments Held in 2022
132 Total Participants
89 Male/ 43 Female
13 Different Clubs
4 Different States ( NC/SC/GA/VA)
2 Teen leader refs from 2 different clubs.
Bull City RYC:
54 male/36 female
18 different clubs
7 different states (NC, SC, GA, VA, TN, MD, DC)
3 Teen Leader referees from 2 different clubs.
Ryder CUP 22
32 different clubs
9 different states ( DC,GA,FL, MD, NC, N Jersey, TX, SC, VA
3 Teen leaders form one club.
1 identified non binary
all from NC
7 different clubs
1 identified non binary
All NC fencers
Bi-Annual Fencing Equipment SWAP Meet (spring and fall) opened up equipment donated by Mid-South Fencers’ Club and from the greater fencing community to sell and “swap” during the season. A “community swap” zone was also established for community fencers to borrow, trade, and use at their care and discretion. Donations are solicited during this event, but not required to use and participate in community gear exchanges. These events support the mission by providing equipment for teen-led afterschool programs and fencing students across North Carolina in need of equipment. Ease of access to equipment helps reduce barriers to participation by eliminating the stigma of money to have your own fencing gear, increasing feelings of social inclusiveness as well as a basic need for participation.
The Kamali Thompson inspirational and educational event was attended by 19 teen and youth fencers with an additional 20 fencers and parents for the lecture. Kamali modeled self-actualization processes through sport and education. Ms. Thompson, a former U.S. National Team member, spoke of the parallels between becoming a doctor and lessons learned from sport participation. Ms. Thompson described how the strengths learned in fencing carried over into her medical education.
Forge also supported the launch of Parafencing in North Carolina. The facility makes participation easy and accessible with the creation of a mobile seating fencing area. Two events were hosted and one parafencer athlete was supported as an ongoing Academy participant. Athletes use the station regularly when injured or in need of additional support due to medical limitations. Forge Teams has committed to providing equipment for parafencers. In partnership with Forge Fencing Academy and Club, the Academy has committed to integrating para-athletes in all levels of participation.
Epee and Foil Armory Clinics were open educational events on how to maintain fencing sporting equipment. Participants join the training with four full scholarships awarded to teen leaders. Four Teen Leaders were sponsored. One Teen Leader was hired to assist in a Region 6 qualifying event.
WEASK Enrollment (What Every Athlete Should Know) opened in late 2022 to create access to training and athletic-specific care easily available and affordable. This allows access to information about athlete development typically reserved for those will a high level of skill. Donations were selected for this service that provided online consulting, athlete monitoring, and a Fit for Fencing training program being implemented by Forge Fencing Academy and Club to all community members regardless of membership status and open to all athletes in North Carolina training and competition in local clubs or collegiate programs.
The Teen Leadership Program is a year-round program that meets quarterly to help integrate teens with opportunities to lead. Leadership paths include creating and developing outreach programs, developing as referees, team leadership and participation in their own schools, and working during summer camps to provide instruction and guidance for youth. The quarterly meetings include a fun event, food, educational enrichment on equity and inclusion, support for local high school clubs, and team building. Number of individuals reached was over 20 athletes in high school and college. Fencers in the Teen Leadership Program teens represented schools from East Chapel Hill High, Chapel Hill High, Riverside High, North Carolina School of Science and Math, Kinston Forrest (VA), Home School, Durham Academy, J. C. Clements Early College High School, Jordan High, Reedy Creek Magnet Middle School, Northwood High, Durham School of the Arts, UNC-Greensboro, NC State University, Colorado State and UNC-Chapel Hill.
The Durham Sports United initiative took action in 2022 in order to build partnerships with other Durham sport organizations. In order to expand the vision of the Teen Leadership Program to other sports programs we need collaborative help. Forge Teams leaders have met with leaders of the Durham Sports Commission, Durham Chamber of Commerce, the NC State Games, and Durham Youth Works. We are seeking additional partnerships.
Educational opportunities have extended with national organizations like Global Fencing Masters, WFencing, and the United States Fencing Coaches Association. WFencing hosted its first colloquium in the summer of 2022 in the Forge Teams facility. Currently, Coach Jeff Kallio is leading a group of Region 6 coaches and helping them work to obtain coaching credentials through the USFCA. This initiative began in 2022.
USA Fencing Region 6 Sanctioned events and Priority On Youth tournament series for Teen Leaders all have included training, education, certification, and education on diversity, inclusion, and athlete well-being in addition to traditional training for professional fencing activities.
Additional Community Collaborators and Members for 2022:
- Durham Sports Commission
- Durham Chamber of Commerce
- School Days at Duke
- John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program
- Bridge II Sports
- School for Creative Studies
- StrongHER TogetHER
- Carrboro High School
Forge Teams collaborated in 2022 with sport entities working in alignment with our mission. These entities included:
- United States national organizing body for Fencing (USA Fencing)
- United States Fencing Coaching Association (USFCA)
- Global Fencing Masters
- NC USA Fencing Division
- Forge Fencing Academy and Club
- Mid-South Fencers’ Club
- StrongHER TogetHER
- Bridge II Sports
Forge Fencing Academy and Club offers the exciting, dynamic Olympic, historical and Paralympic sport of fencing for people ages 7 and up in the heart of North Carolina.
The work within our community motivated us to find a way forward out of this pandemic during its peak while we were located temporarily at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park practices.
During this time, the club leadership took time to revise how it can better support all of Durham in having access to our great sport.
Whether you are looking to learn some sport basics or to train for a competitive goal, we are here to challenge, inspire, and support you in a fun and dynamic sport.
Bridge II Sports
Bridge II Sports creates opportunities for youth, adults, and Veterans with physical disabilities to ‘Find The Player Within’ through the power of adapted sports.
We believe sport empowers and changes lives on and off the court and challenges perceptions of disability in our community.
This organization is proud to provide year-round adapted sports programming and special events bringing together our athletes and the community at the new Forge facility in Downtown Durham, NC.
We recognize the value and potential of all lives.
Disability does not define people or outcomes.
Durham Sport Outreach Programs
Partnerships are in development! Collaboration is happening with Operation Elevate whose vision is to impact thousands of youth across the South East through sports and leadership development. We would also like to elevate Swing Pals whose mission is to build a foundation of health and strong character in children facing adversity. If you would like us to come visit your program and collaborate! Please email email@example.com.
Thank you and We Need You!
It takes a community to thread together our collaborators, fencing initiatives, and leadership training.