As the new season starts, cheerleaders look forward to reuniting with their squads. Even if it’s only been a few months since last season ended, tryouts are the kickoff for summer practices, learning a new competition routine, and seeing your cheer friends all the time again. Tryouts also involve new members seeking to join the team. Before the season’s squad is formed, it can be hard to imagine your team without the friends who have graduated, let alone with new members in their place. Trying out for cheerleading can be intimidating for future members, though, so it’s the responsibility of returning cheerleaders to make them feel as comfortable and welcome as possible. Squad hopefuls may be completely new to your turf‚ for example, incoming freshmen‚ or friends and classmates who want to try something new. They might have a lot of experience or none at all. No matter who shows up at tryouts, everyone should be welcome to take a chance on cheer. What can you do to help? Greet everyone who comes into the room. Introduce yourself to newcomers and ask them about themselves‚ where they’re from, if they’ve ever cheered before, etc. If you spy a familiar face or friend, be sure to say hi. Share your favorite things about the squad‚ “We’re like a family, ” or “Coach is so awesome “‚ to alleviate common fears. Be sure to tell people how excited you are to have them at tryouts. Depending on how your tryouts are run, your coach or captains may want you to mentor new members, helping them learn a tryout cheer or answering their questions. Let them know they can ask you anything; we all have questions getting started! Sometimes it’s hard to see new cheerleaders coming in when you’re missing graduated members. Don’t forget that you were the new member once upon a time, too, and look at how awesome the squad became with you as a part of it (not that you’re biased or anything)! Every year, cheerleaders with different strengths and talents make the squad. Everyone brings something new and exciting to the mat. Tryouts may make members new and old nervous, but after that, the squad comes together for another season of teamwork. The squad is like a second family, so start off on the best foot. Today’s tryouts are tomorrow’s all-stars‚ and your teammates. Good luck to everyone trying out for the cheer squad this season!