There are a lot of untrue stereotypes out there concerning cheer moms, so it’s time someone got to the bottom of things! Here my thoughts behind the three most popular cheer mom cliches. 1. You live vicariously though your cheerleader. [Source: Giphy] A horrible stereotype about cheer moms is that they are trying to relive the “glory days’ through their child. A lot of moms who cheered in the past push their children to join cheer because it was something they liked doing when they were growing up. I got my child into soccer because that was something I did. However, it is another thing to force your kid to play or stay in a sport when they hate it. Playing sports was one of the best times of my life; by being part of a team, I won championships and made lifelong friendships. I am not going to lie: every now and then, I get nostalgic about my time playing sports when I see my child playing. Playing a sport was a major part of my life, and I love that that is something I can share with my child now. BUT, nostalgia is one thing‚ forcing your child to participate because you miss cheering is another. When going to competitions, there are those parents out there who act like they are part of the team, or push their kid a little harder than what they are capable of. I take the parenting style of “if you want to play, play’: have fun with it, and if it stops being fun, then we should talk about it and see what you want to do from there. However, on the other side of the coin, my husband played semi-pro sports, and knows what it takes to compete at certain levels, as well as what it takes to get to that level. If your child shows potential and wants to cheer at a higher level, like trying out for a college, for a professional cheer team, or even make the Olympic team (cheer in the Olympics‚ can you even believe it?! FINALLY!) then you should be supportive of their ambitions. Cheering at that level does require a lot of hard work, and sometimes, it requires additional coaching and added conditioning time in the gym. But, there is a difference between doing this for yourself, and doing this for your kid. For the most part, parents are just trying their best to be there for their kids, having a good time on the sidelines watching their child have fun, and doing what they want to do. However, there are parents out there, like my husband, who devote that time and effort into training their kid to get to that higher level‚ which there is nothing wrong with, unless the parents are forcing their child to do it! Are there those types of parents out there? HECK YES! So, listen to your child and gauge how they feel. Bottom line, the vast majority of parents out there are just going along with their child’s passion and trying to make it to every cheer event. 2. You are rich. [Source: Giphy.com] Cheerleading can be expensive, but so are a lot of other sports! Really, any traveling team can get expensive. That does not mean you are rich. There are tons of fundraiser and scholarship options out there for cheer teams to help cut down on costs. Like many other parents, you make it work. Maybe you work an extra shift or take up a part time job during the “off-season’ to help pay for next season’s travel expenses. I know personally we don’t spend money of frivolous things, like new televisions or buying a brand new car because our money goes towards our kids. Also, not all cheerleaders are on competitive traveling teams. Sideline cheerleaders usually don’t take part in competitions, which is where most of the cost of cheer goes to. Now that cheerleading is classified as a sport in most schools, there is also a budget available that may have not been available before! Uniform cost is usually out-of-pocket, but depending on the type of team your cheerleader is on, the cost of cheering can vary. Again, the price tag is based on your child’s level of commitment and skill. If your child just wants to cheer and have fun, then devoting your time and money on an All Star competitive team is not worth the additional cost. However, if your child does show promise and they want to compete, there are ways to afford it. I have said this in other blogs, and will say it again, money should never hold you back from what you want to do! You may have to work harder and “shop around’ more to find a gym that offers scholarships, but if you look for it, you can find it! 3. Your life is like how “cool moms’ are portrayed in the movies. [Source: Giphy] If I were to close my eyes and think of a stereotypical cheer mom, I see a tall, skinny, blonde woman who is always put together, has that “Becky with the perfect hair’ hairstyle, does palates for three hours a day, and is always drinking green drinks. For some random reason, she has a southern accent, and of course, has that “it girl’ quality about her. If you have seen any cheer movie, this is the cheer mom. I do not know why cheer moms always have to be southern? Cheerleading is really big in Texas, but cheerleading is also really big in a lot of states‚ with or without the southern accent. Movies take that once-I-was-popular cheer mom character, and make her to be this perfect-looking villain most of the time. Women are already hard on themselves, and then you have this stereotypical “mean girl’ who transitioned into being the “mean mom’ who is now a cheer team bully. So, first off, let’s be real: some moms might be that tall, skinny, blonde woman with the perfect outfit, but other cheer moms might be curvy with brown hair, or like me‚ short with crazy red hair that does whatever it feels like. Cheer moms come in all different shapes and sizes, just like everyone else. Are there mom cliques? Sometimes. For the most part, it doesn’t matter your shape, ethnicity or personality. Cheer teams stick together for a long time, so cheer moms can become great friends or even family! Movies have these unrealistic stereotypes that women are so mean to each other, and have to be these stereotypical “perfect-looking’ people. I can tell you when waking up for a competition at 4 AM to travel three hours away to spend an entire day at a tournament, you are lucky to even run a brush through your hair. Because, ultimately, these events are not about you; they are about your kids and you supporting your kids. So, maybe we should not be so hard on ourselves, and the other moms. Reach out to the person who seems like the “perfect mean girl mom’, because might not be so mean, after all! Stereotypes suck, no matter what age you are. There are a lot of cheerleading stereotypes out there, and sadly, some affect cheer moms. Being a mom is hard enough, and people always have unsolicited advice on how you should be a parent. As parents and women, we need to give ourselves a break, and remember that we are just doing are best to raise our kids to be successful in this uncertain world! So, maybe just for today, try not to hold yourself to such high standards‚ you’ve got this! What are other stereotypes that you’ve been subjected to as a cheer mom? How have you overcome bias? Share your stories in the comments!
Homecoming is always an exciting time: the school year just started back up again, football has everyone excited to hangout on Friday nights, and camaraderie is at an all-time high. No matter if you’re a freshman awaiting your first few high school events, a senior cherishing your last year, or a grade in between, Homecoming marks a turning point in the fall semester, when everyone unites for the sake of school spirit! Between attending morning pep rallies, the big game, the halftime performances, and the dance, it’s easy to overlook the Homecoming parade‚ or how to be in it, for that matter! You’ve witnessed parades before, and even though it seems that all you’re doing is walking and waving, there’s a lot more to it than you think. The whole school (or at least most of it) will be at the game and watching the parade, so the last thing you want to do is turn a fun evening of memories into a mortifying experience you’ll never want to remember. Therefore, whether you’re nominated for Homecoming Court, walking with a school club, representing your class, or part of ASB, here are a few tips to keep in mind while on the track.
1. Keep your eye out for moving vehicles. It’s normal for clubs to build Homecoming floats and displays for the Homecoming parade at halftime. But, a lot of those are propelled around the track by a truck or car, usually driven by faculty members with students hanging off or out of it! There have been several instances at high schools and colleges of vehicles careening out of control and accidentally injuring people at football games. So, do your best to keep out of the way of the designated driving areas, and use the same safety precautions on the sidelines that you would crossing a street.
2. Don’t sulk. This one seems pretty obvious, but if you aren’t feeling the pep in your step, don’t go onto the track and attract attention to it. Everyone else is having a great time! Homecoming parades are supposed to get school supporters riled and riveted, not bummed out or confused about the one parade participant that looks like they’re hating life. And, this applies TENFOLD if you don’t win Homecoming King/Queen/Prince/Princess/honorary court title!! If your name isn’t called, clap for the winner, keep smiling, and be a humble loser. No sweat‚ you’ll accomplish many other things throughout your life, just you wait.
3. Get into the celebration. Now that you know to have a positive attitude, now’s the time to shine! Don’t worry if you show too much school pride, because that virtually doesn’t exist at Homecoming! Go above and beyond in school colors and themes. Wear costumes, and skip and dance down the track behind your club or class float! If you are worried that people are going to judge you for having a little more character than normal, Homecoming is the perfect time to be excused from the status quo of day-to-day life. Open up and let yourself get immersed in the fun, and if you do, you’ll have a Homecoming to reflect on forever.
What are other tips to have a great time in a Homecoming parade? Share your Homecoming moments with us in the comments!
The ubiquity of social media makes fundraising a lot easier than it used to be. You can spread the word about your fundraiser to an unlimited number of people with the click of a button. Like
word of mouth marketing, utilizing social media is an inexpensive way to boost your fundraising results.
Gone are the days of
door-to-door fundraising. Now, it’s all about technology! Here several ways you can use social media for your fundraiser and how to do it effectively.
1) Make social media a priority
Social media should never be a last resort, only used during the last week of a fundraiser. In order to make social media worth the effort, you’ve got to start early! As you
plan out your fundraiser, think of ways you can incorporate Facebook, Twitter, or a blog. Just as you would create a schedule for fundraising sales at school or a grocery store, social media requires its own schedule. Plan out who posts and at what time, how you’ll gain a following, and how and when you’ll share updates and information.
2) Don’t get too crazy.
Social media won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use it or
don’t have time. If you think you’ll only have time for Facebook, just create a Facebook page. Don’t create five different accounts on ten different platforms if you either don’t know how to use them or don’t have time. Starting out, the simplest to use is Facebook and Twitter. You can easily post information about your fundraiser or your squad can set up a separate account specifically for the fundraiser. Each member can take turns posting updates and information.
3) Blog about it.
If you’ve got a handle on social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, and want to really promote your fundraiser, create a blog! There are so many easy platforms now (Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr…) that you can quickly set up a blog in no time. If you decide to
work with a local business for your fundraiser, see if you can link your blog to their business’ website and vice versa.
If you can, create a dedicated area for reviews about your fundraiser. Positive reviews can really bolster your fundraiser and make it seem more legitimate. Once you receive a great review, respond or mention it on a social media site!
It may seem annoying, but always, always, always talk about
your fundraiser on social media. Within an hour, everything is old news so you can’t expect to publish one post and have a thousand people flock to your fundraiser. You have to talk about it often. Just as important as talking about it is talking
with someone about it. If anyone asks a question on your Facebook or your fundraiser’s Twitter, answer as quickly as possible. Efficient and enthusiastic responses make sales; silence does not.
5) Make a party out of it.
If your fundraiser is an event that takes place on specific dates, set up a Facebook event
to create a fun buzz! You can invite all your friends and ask them to invite theirs. A
Facebook event is easy to create. Make sure to include all of the essentials: what the fundraiser is for, how your squad benefits from funds raised, when and where the event takes place, and any other notes (e.g. cash only, bring your own snacks, etc.).
6) Keep your followers informed.
Whether your fundraiser is ongoing or a one-time event, keep your social media followers updated. Let them know how much money raised; upload a picture of the
cheer uniforms you bought with the fundraising money raised; thank everyone that helped out. By thanking your followers (and let’s face it: a lot of them will be friends and family), there’s a greater chance that they will help out during your next fundraiser (and you know there will be another one).
More resources for using social media for your fundraiser:
- Creating a buzz with Facebook events
- How to set up a Wordpress blog in 20 minutes
- Fundraising on Twitter
- Online fundraising tools for raising money and awareness
- Social media 101
Have you ever used social media for your fundraiser? How do you use social media for fundraising? Or, why don’t you use social media for fundraising?
A champion excels at her sport and pushes herself to be her best in every facet of life, from cheerleading to school and everything in between. Being a champion requires skill combined with hard work and determination. That takes a special kind of person.
Here are 10 descriptions of what it takes to be a champion:
- Nothing. Else. Matters. OK, you generally care about world peace and helping the less fortunate and even your homework, but while you’re in that gym, nothing else exists.
- You work hard. Sure you have some natural talent, but champions aren’t born. They are made, and you are sure to squeeze every ounce out of your potential.
- You are mentally tough. You go harder than should be humanly possible. Your body tells you to stop, your mind says keep going.
- You are a champion in multiple ways. You can’t just turn off your desire to succeed and give your all. It carries over into school, work, family game night, you name it.
- You take your position seriously. You know you are a role model for younger athletes, and you act accordingly.
- You recognize that your success is a group effort. You are good, but it’s your parents, your coach, your teammates, and your friends who make you great.
- You are competitive. On the outside, you are just your average cheerleader, but the second you step onto the floor for a competition, it’s win at all cost.
- You expect a lot out of yourself. When you lose (which even champions do), it’s not the losing that bothers you so much as knowing you can do better.
- You give your all. Even when you know you could do better, you can rest easy knowing you tried your absolute hardest. Everything may not have come together on this particular day, but it wasn’t for lack of effort.
- You don’t care about the trophies. Your mom displays them somewhere proudly, but for you, it’s all about the feeling. Knowing you’re the best and that your hard work paid off is worth all the time and effort it took to get there.
How do you define being a champion?
- Nothing. Else. Matters. OK, you generally care about world peace and helping the less fortunate and even your homework, but while you’re in that gym, nothing else exists.
Is School’s Decision Recognition or Punishment?
cheerleading competitions causing tension at your school? One school’s cheerleading squad faces what they believe are devastating consequences for their decision to skip some games to practice for competitions: the introduction of a separate team, the Spirit Squad, to
take their place at games. The cheerleaders will continue to participate in competitions, but if they want to cheer at games they will have to
try out for the Spirit Squad. If they make it, they could face scheduling conflicts when trying to fit in school, work and other sports. Not to mention the additional team fees and the cost of new uniforms.
So…is this a move in the right direction for getting
cheerleading recognized as a sport? Or is it a set back that proves the discrimination that cheer squads face compared to other athletic teams?
Read the full story from The Delaware County Daily Times below, then sound off in the comments section.
O’Hara’s decision draws jeers not cheers from cheerleaders
By LESLIE KROWCHENKO, Times Correspondent
MARPLE ” ” In her first year on the varsity cheerleading squad, Cardinal O’Hara High School senior Victoria Rossillio had been looking forward to performing flips and tumbles at the Lions’ stadium.
It appears she may not have the chance.
In a conclusion explained to the girls and their parents Tuesday night, the school’s administration has decided the newly formed Spirit Squad, rather than the cheerleaders, will ignite the crowd during football and boys and girls basketball games. The cheerleaders will continue to perform in competitions.
“The purpose of this meeting is to reiterate what was expressed in our emails,” said Principal Marie Rogai. “We want to explain the rationale in person.”
The change was based on a concern from the administration that the cheerleaders have not been performing the duties requested of them, “first and foremost to cheer at football and basketball games,” said Rogai. The time commitment required to prepare for the competitions is significant and conflicted with that needed to root for the teams.
Last winter, the 24 cheerleaders chose to split into groups of eight to perform at basketball games. The change was an attempt to offer support and spirit while accommodating their practice schedule for competition. The approach did not work, said Rogai, as the girls neither led cheers nor performed halftime routines.
“I attended every home basketball game, expecting to see some change, and saw none,” said Rogai. “I discussed with girls at two separate games why they were just sitting in the stands in their uniforms and they told me, “We just want to do competitions.'”
As a remedy, the administration proposed the formation of a Spirit Squad to cheer at football and basketball games and other sporting events at the request of the athletic department or administration. The process began in May to define the parameters of the squad and hire a coach. The cheerleading coach was notified at the same time, said Rogai, but the girls and their parents were apparently not contacted until mid-July, shortly before cheerleading tryouts. Some learned of the change from the school website.
“There was a disconnect,” said Rogai. “I agree with the fact it was not handled as well as it could have been.”
The meeting, which was not intended to be an open forum, did not live up to its billing.
Joined by Athletic Director Stephen Langley and Assistant Principal for Student Affairs Ed Allen, Rogai barely completed her prepared statement when mothers and fathers barraged the trio with questions.
The queries began with Kevin Colgan, who noted “all the girls want is a compromise.”
“The Spirit Squad is a good idea, but the cheerleaders are passionate about what they do,” he added. “Let them cheer at football.”
While the girls may try out for the Spirit Squad, the parents argued it was not an appropriate solution. In addition to their studies, some have part-time jobs, and involvement in an additional extracurricular activity would increase their responsibilities and after-school practice time.
They added that participation in another activity would also hike the “pay to play” fee and require the purchase of additional uniforms.
While one of the main concerns appeared to be lack of support for the basketball teams, Laura Pfeffinger questioned the backing, or lack thereof, for the cheerleaders.
“They are supposed to be there for the other sports,” she said. “Who comes to our competitions?”
The meeting, which ended abruptly, continued in the hallway, but without the resolution the parents and their daughters sought.
“I waited all this time to be on varsity and be out on the track during the football games,” said Rossillio. “We are the ones who will suffer.”
In my experience, decorating posters or banners for school locker rooms and around campus takes an entire practice‚ and then some! As all cheer squads,
practice is crucial and time is limited. Taking away practice time hurts squads, especially when there is a big rival game or Homecoming that week. Here are some tips so practice time remains practice time, and poster making is during a time that is not going to interfere with skill building.
1. Finish them during summer conditioning. This year, our upper-classmen will have summer conditioning. Every Wednesday, we plan to take an hour to plug away on posters and banners for the upcoming school year. If we don’t finish them on Wednesday, no stress‚ we don’t have a deadline! We make as many as we can until the end of summer. By the school season, we have a nice collection to choose from for every game. When we get short, we can
then fit in some time to make a few more, but we don’t have to stress about making so many. We may only need one or two to meet our quota!
2. Designate a banner night. If you still are not too keen on decorating during conditioning practice, designate a banner night. Set the time for a one-two hour slot where volunteer cheerleaders from your team can come to help. Chances are, you’ll get a good number considering there is no stretching, warm-up, or running that they’ll have to do. They get to enjoy just
a fun paint night with some friends! We always like to have music playing to add a little fun and bonding time, too
3. Assemble an after-practice banner team. If summer conditioning doesn’t work for you, hire a few artsy girls on the team to stay after practices to
make banners and posters. It is especially smart to rope in those that are always picked up late, anyways. Have a quota they need to fill and a time limit, so they stay on a steady schedule.
4. Use your booster team. Alright‚ so you worked your tail off trying to get that booster team in place, right? Put them to work! They’ll love to help out. Give them some ideas (may be from Pinterest?) to work with, and I’m sure you’ll get
some fun, creative posters as a result.
5. Give “em to the girls (or boys). Okay, so you don’t have a booster team, you do not like the idea of taking up practice time, and no one wants to stay after practice, including you‚ never fear! Give the girls the gear! Have some artistic (and responsible) leaders take home paint, posters, brushes, and whatever else their creative souls need. Have them work on a few banners at home over the next week, and make sure they bring them back in one piece!
6. SOS to the Student Council. Maybe, you’re not even into
the whole decorating thing‚ that’s fine, too! Give the responsibility to the Student Council (after asking them, of course). Our Student Council makes a ton of signs to hang around the school. Try working with the sponsor of Student Council, and ask for some help with the banners. I’m sure they would be eager to help out. Just remember to give them credit, considering they are doing the work.
By now, you probably have a good direction of when you want to work on banners and posters. Get creative, make it fun, and don’t stress! Remember: this is also about making the football and basketball teams happy. I know our boys are so grateful to see a big banner when they walk into the locker rooms! That is what it is really all about!
How else can cheer coaches fit in time to make banners? Share what worked well for your team in the comments!
Check out the Complete Guide to
Conflict Resolution Tips For Cheerleading Squads!
In cheerleading, “cheer’ is often given all the glory, but coaches and captains know how important it is that the “leader’ part isn’t overlooked. Being in a leadership position for a squad isn’t about popularity or just putting on a
cheerleading uniform; it is about responsibility, dedication and passion.
Anybody that is or has been in a leadership role on a cheerleading squad knows that the job requires much more than just running practice. A team is like a family, and like every family, someone sits in the head seat at the table. Being a leader isn’t about being a bully, it’s about being the type of person that people can and do look up to.
The cheerleading season is only going to continue to intensify. If you are new to the game, find yourself struggling mid season, or just need a refresher, here are some tips to help you take the lead and steer your squad toward success.
Efficiency. Coaches and captains should make practices as effective and efficient as possible by showing up early to make sure all equipment and music is ready to go when practice is supposed to start. By staying focused and on track during practices, coaches and captains will inspire their team to stay focused too.
Attitude. Coaches and captains are responsible for handling younger and older kids, as well as parents. They need to practice patience and negotiation and stay away from pride and tempers. Squad members and their parents need to feel comfortable coming to the leaders with their conflicts. Cheer squad leaders could benefit from some introductory training into psychology.
Respect. You have to give it to get it. Being bossy, rude or demanding is not going to motivate anyone to do what you say, or inspire them to want to make you proud. A leader should not only think about
what words they use, but also about
how they say them.
Communication. How can you lead, coach or teach if you can’t communicate? The key to successful communication is to recognize that it is about evolving. Learn what words and tones your squad responds to and use those to reach them. How you
want to say things isn’t as important as them hearing what they need to, so adjust your strategy and learn at every opportunity. Make sure each squad member, including all people in a leadership role, are clear on what is and isn’t expected of them during the season.
Knowledge. A cheer squad leader has a lot of rules to keep straight. They should know the
ins and outs of each game they will cheer for. They should understand their school or organization’s handbook and know how to enforce those rules. And they should study and adjust for the rules of any competitions that they enter. In addition, they need to have a working knowledge of basic first aid and CPR procedures. If you don’t all know all of these things already, learn them ASAP.
Organization. Trying to keep all of the rules straight, as well as managing practice and game schedules, team member records, competition deadlines and
game and competition choreography can get overwhelming. That is why the coach, captain and, if needed, co-captain all need to work together using the same organizational system. It is great if everyone is organized on their own, but using multiple systems to organize the same or similar information will only lead to confusion. Figure out the best approach for your team and give anyone that has a leadership role a quick training session.
Accountability. A leader needs to be accountable for their actions, but they also need to give their squad the tools to be accountable for their own actions. By clearly communicating the goals and requirements for being a part of the squad, you will have an easier time managing the squad, keeping everyone eligible to participate and motivating your squad members.
Energy. Keep your energy high and positive. Instead of a demerit system, focus on rewarding the good work that your squad members complete. This positive reinforcement will motivate the team and help remind everyone what cheerleading is all about – fun!
Remember, the key to being a great leader is to know what your responsibilities are and to perform them to the best of your ability. The way that you lead will teach your squad or teammates something about the world. You are not only teaching them cheer and dance moves, you are teaching them life skills and defining all the action words above: efficiency, attitude, respect, communication, knowledge, organization, accountability and energy. Set a great example for your squad, and they will give you back loyalty, hard work and dedication.
Come back next week to get coach and captain tips for managing team conflicts!