Competition for 2022-2023 cheer season

2ndOctober2022ICEDance FusionThe john Bunyan centre NK429TSBedfor­­­d ­
5th – 6thNovember2022Cheer CityAutumn AdventureFenton ManorStoke­- on Trent
6th DANCENovember2022ICEDance FeverThe hub collegeWest Midlands
 20thNovember2022Future CheerJungle FeverBolton ArenaBolton
20thNovember2022SoarGlasgow
26th Summit bids available: up to 5 Dance and up to 5 Cheer bidsNovember2022Future CheerFC Brings it On: FestiveDisneyland ParisParis
27thNovember2022ICEDance FuryEbbw Vale Sport centre NP236GLEbbw Vale
3rd – 4thDecember2022Future CheerWinter WonderlandEssex UniversityColchester
10th – 11thDecember2022ICEChristmas ICE BreakerFenton ManorStoke on Trent
10th – 11thDecember2022Cheer CityFrost FestivalKettering ArenaKettering
10th – 11thDecember2022BCAWinter WeekenderWinter Gardens BlackpoolBlackpool
14th Levels 1-3 only, all dance divisionsJanuary2023Future CheerFC EssentialsK2 Leisure CentreCrawley
21st – 22ndJanuary2023DC12NeonEikon Exhibition CentreNorthern Ireland
28th – 29thJanuary2023ICCNorthen ChampionshipsBECManchester
28th – 29thJanuary2023BCASuper ClassicUniversity Arena, WorcesterWorcester
4th – 5thFebruary2023LegacyStand StrongNorthumbria University Sports Central, NE1 8STNewcastle Upon Tyne
4th – 5thFebruary2023ICCSouthern ChampionshipsGuilford SpectrumGuildford
4th – 5thFebruary2023Cheer CityWinter SpectacularWarwick UniversityWarwick
5thFebruary2023Cheer CityUniversity ShowdownWarwick UniversityWarwick
11th –February2023ICCWestern Cheer & DanceBath & West Show groundShepton
11th – 12thFebruary2023ICEFrost FestAntrim ForumNorthern Ireland
11th – 12thFebruary2023LegacyJust BelieveQueen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 3HBLondon
18thFebruary2023Future CheerHeart of EnglandManchester CentralManchester
19thFebruary2023Future CheerUniversity NationalsManchester CentralManchester
24thFebruary2023BCAScottish SensationSEC Armadillo Glasgow Scotland
25thFebruary2023ICCEastern ChampionshipsPeterborough ArenaPeterborough
25th – 26thFebruary2023DC12DC12 Presents: CrusadeHull, East YorkshireNorth England
25th – 26thFebruary2023Cheer CitySpring OpenLeicester Arena Midlands
4th – 5thMarch2023SoarEdinburgh
4th – 5thMarch2023JamfestNorthern JamBlackpool
4th – 5thMarch2023Future CheerCircus SpectacularEIS SheffieldSheffield
11th – 12thMarch2023BCAUniversity NationalsUniversity arena WorcesterWorchester
11th – bid only eventMarch2023BCABCA dance World show downUniversity arena WorcesterWorchester
18th – 19thMarch2023Future CheerSpotlight ShowdownK2 Leisure CentreCrawley
18th – 19thMarch2023ICESpring Thaw OutEbbw Vale Sports CentreEbbw Vale
18th – 19thMarch2023LegacyDream Extreme + Alpha & OmegaResorts World Arena, B40 1PUBirmingham
25th – 26thMarch2023ICCBritish Open & University NationalsMotorpoint ArenaNottingham
       
25th – 26thMarch2023Cheer CityAllstars ChampionshipNottingham Wildcats ArenaNottingham
1st – 2ndApril2023DC12DC12 Presents: APEX – Nationals 2023Motorpoint aera Wales
1st – 2ndApril2023BCASpring SpiritK2 CrawleyCrawley
1st
1st Summit bids available: up to 5 Dance and up to 5 Cheer bids
April2023Future CheerFC AmsterdamAmsterdam
15-16thApril2023Future CheerFC Adventure in Atlantis Milton Keynes
8th – 9thApril2023DC12 DC12 Presents: IllusionMighty RegionalsGlasgow Royal
concert hall
Glasgow
6th – 7thMay2023Future CheerGateway to the GalaxyEIS SheffieldSheffield
13th – 14thMay=2023Cheer CitySummer ShowdownWarwick UniversityWarwick
13th – 14thMay2023ICEICE BlastK2 Leisure CentreCrawley
21stMay2023ICELet’s DanceEbbw Vale Sports CentreEbbw Vale
20th – 21stMay2023Cheer CitySummer GamesHertfordshire Sports VillageHertfordshire
  27-28th Summit bids available: up to 5 Dance and up to 5 Cheer bidsMay2023Future CheerSuperhero SpiritBraeheadGlasgow
27th – 28th bid eventMay2023BCAAllstar NationalsTelford internationalTelford
27th-28th Free bid only eventMay2023BCAChampions ChallengeTelford internationalTelford
27th – 28thMay2023ICESummer MeltdownDoncaster DomeDoncaster
3- 4th June2023BCABCA Summer spotlightSport central NewcastleNewcastle
24th – 25th June2023BCABCA Summer showdownMeadowbank Sport centre Edinburgh
3rd

Summit bids available: up to 5 Dance and up to 5 Cheer bids
June2023Future CheerFC BarcelonaBarcelona 
3rd – 4thJune2023DC12DC12 Presents: FiestaNAEC StoneleighKenilworth  
10thJune2023Future CheerInto the FutureBrighton CentreBrighton
10-11thJune2023ICEICE big chillBush field leisure centrePeterborough
10th – 11thJune2023LegacyLive your LegacyResorts World Arena, B40 1PUBrimingham
10th – 11thJune2023ICCSouthern JamGuilford SpectrumGuildford
10th – 11thJune2023ICEThe Big ChillBushfield Leisure CentrePeterborough
16th – 18thJune2023JamfestJamfest EuropeExhibition CentreLiverpool
17th – 18thJune2023ICESub ZeroRavenscraigScotland
24th – 25thJune2023ICEICE ChampionshipsFenton ManorStoke on Trent
23rdJune2023Future CheerFC school out for summerBICBournemouth
23-25thJune2023Future CheerFC InternationalsBICBournemouth
17-18thJune2023Cheer CityNationalsLoughborough Midlands
1stJuly2023ICCBattle of the ChampionsMotorpoint ArenaNottingham
2ndJuly2023ICCBritish Open Pt 2Motorpoint ArenaNottingham
8&9th July– 2032ICEUDE ChampionshipThe hub collgeWalsall
15thJuly2023ICCSummer JamBowlers Exhibition CentreManchester
8&9thJuly2023BCAChampion Challenge TBCTBC
June 30 – July 2,2023Jamfest JAMfest EuropeM&S Bank Arena LiverpoolLiverpool

Competition for UKCA

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How to deal with disappointment

We’re fresh into a new season now, even the uni teams are up and running.

The start of the season is so full hope, ambition and excitement for what is to come. You may be on your first cheer team, your dream cheer team, a team competing internationally for the first time, a team with your best friends, or you may still be feeling slightly disappointed by your team placement. Whatever your circumstance, your feelings are totally valid. In this article, we’re going to explore how you can deal with disappointment, how you can move forwards without feeling so down in the dumps.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that feeling disappointed or rejected is a totally normal human response and experience

Photo by Kat Smith on Pexels.com

. It’s important for us recognise that in life there will be peaks and troughs, ups and downs. And so it’s about celebrating and making the most of the wins, whilst observing the losses and learning from them. We likely learn much more from our 2nd placements or even last placements, then we do from the 1st placements and grand champs. That’s the annoying thing about life. Sometimes it feels as though all our losses hit us at the same time. That can feel really heavy, like a metaphorical pyramid falling in cannon. It’s harder to get up and dust yourself off from those kinds of losses or disappointments. Even more in those moments it’s important to remember that balance in life. If you’ve been knocked back 30x in a row, it sounds like your luck should be turning soon!

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com

These things are so much easier said than done, I get that.

When you don’t make the team you expected, when you get separated from your friends, when you feel like you worked so hard and have nothing to show for it, it can be super hard to put on a smile, tie up your shoes and walk back in the gym. Every season is met with disappointment for someone. I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve told my teammates every season: think about how much your team changed last season from beginning to end.

For most, people may change position, teams may get re-jigged, someone decides to quit or get moved to another team and that creates room for others.

Who do you think are going to get those new spots? Those that continued to work hard despite not being completely happy with their placement. It’ll go to that athlete that turns up early to training, is wearing the right training gear, always puts in 100%, has a positive attitude as they want to do better.

You’ve got to be in it to win it. Of course, if there’s a specific spot on a Level 4 team, it’s unlikely to go to someone with little experience in that position just because they are nice. But also, that’s not to say it won’t. I’ve seen big leaps in levels in the space of one season, it CAN happen. Hard work never goes unnoticed! But I suppose that’s another thing to remember, levels are just a number.

In saying that, not everyone will move teams each season. You may well be on this team, in this position or experience this disappointment all season long. Then what? Let’s break it down.

Emotional awareness

What exactly are you feeling disappointed by? The position, the level, that you didn’t get moved “up”, that you got moved “down”, you’re not competing at a certain competition, you’re with a different coach, something else? Whatever your disappointment is, why are you feeling disappointed? Is it the opportunities, does it make you feel lonely, embarrassed, did you want that association, something else entirely? Being honest with yourself and understanding your disappointment will allow you to move forward. Once you’ve figured it out for yourself, I’d suggest speaking to someone about it. Sometimes you might feel better first discussing it with someone who doesn’t have that emotional attachment (e.g. if you’re disappointed about something in cheer, maybe speak to someone outside of cheer first). Maybe you do want to speak to a friend, a teammate, a family member.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Secondly, I’d always recommend speaking to your coach as well.

I’d advise speaking to them second/third/fourth, just because disappointment is an emotion, a normal response to a loss. In my opinion anyway, I think it’s more constructive to have a straight talking conversation with your coach about how you’re feeling disappointed, why you’re disappointed, followed by asking them how you can improve, how you can avoid *this disappointment* next time. Showing emotion is totally fine, it shows you care. I say talk to your coach second because I’d rather you tear up than start shouting at them. Anger and resentment isn’t a key quality a coach is looking for in an athlete. As I mentioned, your emotions are valid, but it’s best to get that out of your system talking WITH friends/family, rather than shouting AT your coach. Think of it like a job. If you get angry with your manager for not giving you the promotion, they’ll be less likely to give it to you next time than if you asked for further support to improve.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

And lastly with that emotional awareness, it comes back to your why. Why does this disappoint you? Let’s use that to set your goals for this upcoming season. You could do that in collaboration with what your coach has advised working on. I’ve done this in the past, and the coach responded by saying “I really appreciate you coming up to me. I’ll get back to you with what you can work on”. Because realistically, you didn’t get on that team not because you were absolutely terrible and there’s a list of a million things your coach can point out that you need to improve, but just because you weren’t quite the right fit, YET.

Manage expectations

Similarly to what I was just discussing, in reflecting on your disappointment and upcoming goals, manage your expectations. If you didn’t get on the Level 4 team because they’re focusing on having a high number of tumblers this season, it might be a bit if a stretch to expect to compete a standing tuck by the end of the season if you’re currently working on a forward roll. That’s an extreme example, but hopefully you see where I’m coming from.-

This may well even be a whole team exercise. You can have you own personal goals alongside your team goals. That includes what all teammates expect of the team, what the coach expects of the team, and what the team expects of the coach. That’ll then help you manage your expectations for the upcoming season. If the teams goals don’t necessarily align with your personal goals, will you need to get additional training in, privates or open gyms? It’s about adopting a solution-based mindset, rather than a problem-based mindset.

Learning experience

Lastly, how can you use this disappointment as a learning experience? Maybe you’ve been on this team for 3 seasons now and feel like you’ve exhausted it completely. Remember, cheerleading isn’t JUST about maxing out tumbling or stunting skills. We gain some much more like friendships, memories, confidence, strength, flexibility, opportunities that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. Can you use this season to focus on one of those areas or even your weakest area? Can you use this season to just purely enjoy the sport, your team and your programme? I’ve been in this situation before, disappointed with my placement. It was following a particularly difficult year so I thought, ok, this isn’t my dream team, even if I don’t make the “dream team” next season, how can I make this season worth something? How can I make the most out of this season? I decided that alongside focusing on my confidence performing, I was going to focus on the friendships and falling back in love with the sport. And I now look back at that season with the fondest memories, it’s probably my favourite season. Being a very competitive person, that did not come naturally to me – focusing on something other than skills. But in reality, we usually do better at the things we love than the things we hate. So I probably improved the most over that season than any other, because I decided to use it as a learning experience.

Photo by APG Graphics on Pexels.com

I’ve mentioned a few times now that feeling down or low in mood following a loss or disappointment is a natural response. And whilst it’s really important we recognise that and allow ourselves to feel this negative emotion; if we we’re constantly feeling negative or low in mood, perhaps we need a little extra support. And that extra support can come from a number of places.

A phrase I often use in work is “if nothing changes, nothing changes”. What I mean by that is, if you’re in a negative mindset, and don’t receive beneficial support, nothing will change and you’ll likely stay in that negative mindset. When our mental health takes a dip, it can feel really difficult to do the once simplistic of tasks. That’s because everything’s weighing us down and everything just feels heavier. If you’ve tried a few strategies and still can’t get out of this headspace, if you’ve spoken to family/friends for support and it’s not helped, if you’ve looked up some self-help tips and it’s not working, or if those don’t sound like viable options, maybe it’s time to have a discussion with someone like your GP, or even a mental health support organisation. A common response I tend to hear is “I’m not bad enough”, or “there are people so much worse off than me”.

My response to them is always, “it’s all relative”. As blunt as it sounds, a man who drowned in the ocean is still just as dead as a man who drowned in a puddle. It’s all relative to the situation. Everyone deserves support in those moments and so I’ll share some organisations you may want to look into for further advice and support – even just on their website if you don’t want to contact them.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The Mix provide essential advice for 14-25 year olds in a range of topics such as mental health, housing, relationships, drugs and so much more! They have a number of articles online, discussion boards, a telephone advice line and web chat feature.

Call: 0808 808 4994

https://www.themix.org.uk/

Shout is a text service for anyone who is stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, depressed or suicidal. You can contact them 24/7 by texting 85258.

The Samaritans are a well known service for anyone who needs someone to listen. Whilst they do support those experiencing suicidal thoughts, they are a 24/7 listening service, you don’t need to be suicidal to contact them. You can call, chat online, write an email, download their self help app or even write a letter.

Call: 116 123

Email: jo@samaritans.org

That’s all for today’s blog. I hope you got something from it. If there are any topics you’d like us to cover next time, do get in touch!

Take care,

Rach

Written by Rachel

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The Diary of a University Cheerleader : CFHTT competition and Giveaway

Calling all university Teams : CFHTT competition and Giveaway

University cheerleading is a rapidly expanding part of the Cheerleading community and something we celebrate at CFHTT.
The Diary of a University Cheerleader allow current university cheerleaders to document and give a real insight into their experiences as uni cheerleaders.
Each month the winning university will have there Diary entry published on CFHTT social media platform for the world to read.

We also have amazing products and services that you can win from our amazing sponsors

You will win

One set of team bows for one team from Primacy Cheer.

One set of Team T-shirts for one team from 360 Dance and Cheer.

One session with Endchoreo, an industry consultancy business, to help athletes and coaches to achieve their cheer and dance dreams.

One Session with MJ Cheer is a tumbling coach and Team England adaptive abilities expert who’s focused on inclusivity for all so everyone can part take in this sport.

Rules for the competition

This competition is an Instagram competition
To enter the competition, you must
1) have your official university Instagram accounts follow @cheerfromheadtotoeuk,
@primacycheer ,
@endchoreo,
@360danceandcheer
@mjcheer_

2) Share this post on your timeline and Instagram stories making sure you tag @cheerfromheadtotoeuk
3) Leave your favourite emoji on the @cheerfromheadtotoeuk post.
4) Email Cheerfromheadtotoe@gmail.com to confirm your entry.

The winner will be contacted via email, competition ends on October 21th at 5 pm.
GOD Bless

The Diary of a university Cheerleader competition goes live this October join our Facebook group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/621276109608694/discussion/preview

Hi, my name is Caroline, I’m the founder of Cheer From Head To Toe (CFHTT)

University cheerleading is a rapidly expanding part of the Cheerleading community and something we celebrate at CFHTT.

Unfortunately, the university division is still undervalued and underfunded.

This is why I created the competition ” The Diary of a University Cheerleader.”

To allow current university Cheerleaders to give a real insight into their experiences as uni cheerleaders.

Each month the winning university will have their Diary entry published on CFHTT social media platform for the world to read.

The Diary of a university Cheerleader competition goes live this October

I would love for your team to enter.

Please join this Facebook group to be the first to know everything about the competition.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/621276109608694/discussion/preview

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Safeguarding is everyone’s business. Yet I often find we don’t think about it until something bad happens. What is safeguarding in cheerleading?

TRIGGER WARNING: 

This article is going to cover safeguarding and related topics. We’re also going to briefly mention the Whyte Review, the review after the investigation of malpractice within British Gymnastics; and this may trigger or upset those involved in the review or who were aware of the wrongdoings.

If this topic upsets you, you might want to skip this article as your wellbeing is the priority.

If you do decide to read on, there will be some organisations listed throughout who may be able to offer you some support.

In this article we’re going to be discussing what you can do if you are experiencing a safeguarding concern or potential wrongdoing.

To be clear, this is not going to be professional advice for anyone working within a safeguarding role – although I will provide some information on where you can learn more.

Overall, cheerleading is a super positive community. We spend so much time in the gym with our friends, and time away at competitions – our teammates and coaches become our family. We share the best of times and the worst of times with them. I share each month just how much of a positive impact cheerleading has on our lives. But like anything, the sun doesn’t shine forever and there can be some rainy days. Whether that’s an injury, a fall out with a teammate, or something further like bullying, or issues with a coach. Those issues may fall under the umbrella of safeguarding.

Safeguarding is everyone’s business. Yet I often find we don’t think about it until something bad happens. Safeguarding is the action taken to ensure and promote the safety and welfare of children, young people and service users to protect them from harm. That can be health and safety & risk assessment related in terms of things like making sure the floor is level to prevent injury; it could be child protection in terms of things like child abuse and bullying; or maybe everyone’s favourite topic of GDPR and ensuring confidential information stays confidential, and numerous other things.

We’re all human, and sometimes we make mistakes. But that’s why it’s so important that our people in positions of trust are aware of safeguarding protocols and for us stand up for what is right.

One of my earliest articles was on safeguarding, and I felt it timely to write one again following the release of the Whyte Review.

The Whyte Review is an exploration of the alleged wrongdoings and malpractice within British Gymnastics.

We’re a different sport, but we have many overlaps, including our athletes and coaches. As a member of staff who was involved in a very small part of the Whyte Review, it was heartbreaking to hear that so many athletes, who poured their heart into the sport they loved, had their childhood and their dreams ripped away by those who should have been there to support them.

In many cases, these coaches abused their positions of trust, ignored professional and safeguarding legislation with their eye simply on performance and results.

These accounts I was told were all too familiar to my own experiences in the sport, and that’s exactly the reason I transferred to cheerleading as the grass was very much greener on the other side.

It would be ignorant of me to pretend we don’t have those same issues in cheerleading. Unfortunately these bad eggs can crop up. I’ve met a few of them, I’m sure you have too. But we need to make sure that these bad eggs understand that any poor practise or behaviours have no place in cheerleading, and no place in society.

Every programme should have a Designated Safeguarding Lead. Sometimes they’re not called a “Safeguarding Lead”, sometimes it’s a Welfare Officer, Safeguarding Coordinator, Child Protection Officer or a mixture of those terms. Sometimes it’s the head coach/director who acts as a safeguarding lead, and they have that additional role. As well as the role, just as you often sign an athlete code of conduct, your programme should also have a safeguarding policy. Again, this is something people don’t often take notice of until something happens. This safeguarding policy ensures all athletes, coaches and volunteers are protected from harm. It should also have information on what to do if a safeguarding issue arises. Now, every safeguarding policy is likely to be similar, but not identical. So I can’t say for sure what yours looks like, what it includes, and what your safeguarding procedure is.

[That’s why, if you’re a coach/volunteer/member of staff who has a safeguarding or child protection concern about someone at your gym, I won’t tell you what you should do in this article. That depends on the situation entirely. You should, however, immediately inform your safeguarding lead and take the appropriate action. If you’re unsure of the appropriate action, first look at your safeguarding policy, if that doesn’t help, contact the NSPCC Helpline who can talk you through the issues. After the situation is dealt with, get onto the NSPCC Learning website or NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit website to undertake further safeguarding training so that next time, you feel more prepared and empowered to take the appropriate steps.]

From here I’m instead going to take the point of view of an athlete who feels that things aren’t right.

There are MULTIPLE laws and legislations in place to protect the safety and welfare of children and young people. Most of the safeguarding policy will be in relation to children and young people. There’s a reasonable explanation for that, they’re children and it’s their parent/carer/coach’s job to ensure they are safe.

Children & Young People:

If you’re a child/young person and feel like something is off or you’re being treated differently, tell a trusted adult, tell your coach, or if your coach is the issue, tell the person that’s higher up than them – i.e., the safeguarding/welfare officer/head coach/director. They should listen to your concerns in a non-judgemental way and see if there’s anyway in which they can help. It’s completely normal to be nervous to have those conversations. You might worry about what that person will say or do in response to what you have said. But remember, it’s their job to make sure you’re safe. You might not know what will happen if you speak out, but if you don’t, things will likely continue the way they are. To help you, Childline are a really useful resource for anyone 18 and below. They can give you confidential, free advice on the phone or their web chat. Their phone number doesn’t even show up on your phone bill. Google “Childline” or call 0800 11 11.

Adults:

When it comes to adults, that’s where things can get a bit messy, simply because we have adults who are on the same team as children. Those adults on the team aren’t in positions of trust, so they don’t have that professional responsibility to act in the best interest of the children on the team. HOWEVER, fear not, just because that adult on the team doesn’t have a position of trust, they still have their athlete’s code of conduct to adhere to. If they’re behaviours aren’t in line with the code of conduct, it needs reporting to your safeguarding lead. Again, the safeguarding policy should cover this, and if you have any issues, speak to your coach or welfare officer. These staff members/volunteers should listen to your concerns in a non-judgemental way, note them down, perhaps discuss with another member of staff (still confidentially) and either offer you advice or support.

Non-recent Abuse:

Non-recent abuse, previously called historical abuse, is when the experience or incident of abuse happened some time ago and isn’t happening anymore. Often these experiences happened to you as a child. Now if you or someone you know falls into this category and they haven’t reported what happened to them, it is NEVER to late to report, even if the person that did the hurt is no longer alive. There are a million and one reasons why someone didn’t report the incident/experience/abuse when it happened. Unfortunately, there can be a number of barriers in the way (that’s why we need to ensure that everyone is safeguarding aware to act preventatively, and not after the incident has happened). Professionals are very aware of these barriers and will treat your concerns very sensitively and go at your pace.

On a personal level, you need to prioritise your welfare. But on a professional level, if that person is still working with children or people they could continue to abuse, it’s important that information is shared. There are A LOT of questions when it comes to reporting concerns. A useful organisation to help you navigate is NAPAC (the National Association for People Abused in Childhood). If you are still involved in the club/programme where this person still works/volunteers, you may want to speak with your welfare officer. If not, you can have a word with the police – it’s not as scary as they make out on the tele. A good starting point is this video on the NSPCC’s website:

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/non-recent-abuse/

Remember, it’s never too late, it wasn’t your fault, and there is ALWAYS support available to you.

Current concerns for an adult:

Ok, but what if I have concerns about an adult in relation to another adult? Raising concerns as an adult is a different process, but there IS still a process. I’d still advise speaking to your coach or welfare officer if you feel able to. However, if you believe the action against you is a crime or form of harassment, the police may best be able to answer your questions. Again, it’s not as scary as the TV makes out. You can either dial 101 and speak to an officer that way, or go into your local police station. You’re not the one accused and they will be very sensitive & empathetic towards your situation.

What are the signs I can look out for?

Unfortunately, that’s a trick question. In terms of professionals looking out for signs of abuse within children, there can be some signs. Ultimately, every child, young person, or adult is unique and so may the signs of abuse or harm. In terms of what malpractice looks like, again, it’s tough to answer. I don’t want to sit here listing things, for me to miss something off, and that to be the one thing you experience. Ultimately, if you’re having a lot of negative feelings about something, if you’re having an “I’m not sure about this” feeling, or something just feels “off”, think about what is it that is making you feel off about that situation? Are you feeling pressured to do something you don’t want to do? Is someone purposely hurting you, physically or emotionally? Is someone overstepping the mark or treating you unfairly?

It’s always worth talking it through with someone you trust – a friend of family member maybe. Sometimes we only hear things in our own minds, but once we verbalise it and hear it out loud, it can help us understand what we’re feeling. Quite often we feel like we’re overreacting, and that’s why having a second opinion can be really useful. I don’t think you’re overreacting, all your feelings are valid.

So what if your gut feeling is that something is wrong, what do you do then? My mantra is always, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Speak to your coach or welfare officer. Ask if you can speak to them after training, or if there’s an appropriate time you can have a quiet word (e.g., at the end of the session, coming in early next time, etc.). If it’s urgent, absolutely ask in the middle of a training session. If it’s not urgent, I want you to make sure you have enough time to talk through your concerns fully, where others aren’t going to be listening in or interrupting. If it’s your coach or welfare officer that is the issue, is there another member of staff or volunteer you can speak to? Often we feel like our coaching teams are all best friends and if you tell someone they’ll tell everyone. Ultimately, if you’re asking for a confidential chat because you have concerns to raise, they should respect that. For further support, Victim Support provide support for victims and survivors of crime and traumatic experiences.

Safeguarding can be a minefield and it can feel overwhelming if it’s not something you have a ton of experience in. Just know, if you’re in a situation that doesn’t feel right there IS support available to you. If you’re a professional in a situation that doesn’t feel right, you have that duty to act on that information. As mentioned, the NSPCC Helpline can really discuss the issue with you and talk you through your options. The NSPCC Learning website has a wealth of safeguarding courses available, as well as information on writing policies. If you’re in the process of updating yours, give them a bell and see how they can support you. Let’s not wait until there’s an issue to make sure we have all our ducks in a row. Preventative action is much better than reacting.

If you’re interested in learning more about safeguarding, check out the NSPCC Learning website. They have a ton of information on key legislation, policy writing and so many safeguarding courses in a number of topics.

https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/safeguarding-child-protection

*Disclaimer: every club has their own policies and procedures and may also use different terms to what I have used. Ultimately, if you have concerns speak to your coach/welfare officer*

That’s all for this month. If you have any topics you’d like us to cover, get in touch!

Written by Rachel

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What it means to be a cheerleader

As we’re nearing the end of the season we start to fill with a variety of emotions. You might be
feeling pure bliss for what you’ve achieved over the past season, a season we’ll never forget. You
might be excited for what is yet to come. There’s also that bittersweet feeling that you may
experience, and that may be because you’re hanging up your cheer shoes, you’re moving
programmes, you’re not on the team you’d hoped for, or a general reflection over the past season.
For the most part, the cheerleading community is a very positive and welcoming community.
However, nothing is without it’s faults. Whether that be gender, sexual orientation, race, socio-
economic status or something else entirely – it’s never truly plain sailing. In this article I want to
explore what it truly means to be a cheerleader; the good, the bad and the ugly.

One of the main things I love about cheerleading is that it’s a female dominated industry; from the
athletes, to coaches and event providers. Cheerleading is female empowerment on a tin. Girls
supporting girls, women lifting women – it’s fantastic. However, whilst there’s a super supportive
environment inside the gym, it’s not always the case outside. We’re making huge waves in
cheerleading and I have definitely noticed a huge change in the general public’s perceptions of
cheer. That may be down to the incredible achievements of our UK teams at the ICU & IASF
Worlds, our presence out in the communities; even on television, when people think cheerleading,
they are more inclined to think about Netflix’s Cheer, or Cov’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent,
rather than Bring it On (still an iconic film nonetheless). There are more and more people now that
know someone who cheers, and that helps with the understanding of what we do. That’s not to say
there is no longer ignorance. We’ve all got our horror stories about what non-cheerleaders have
asked. Women and people with uteruses have so much against them; misogyny, the patriarchy,
periods and associated pain (including the worry whilst wearing a white uniform), smear tests,
PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, existential dread but to name a few. All of these have an impact upon our
physical abilities, sometimes without us even realising. Yet still, we show up, we perform and we
achieve our goals. We are incredible.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times more, I am a feminist, and the very definition of
feminism is gender equality. So it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention our male, non-binary and other
marginalised gendered cheerleaders. We appreciate our non-female cheerleaders and we love a
good coed team. Yet, cheerleading still isn’t as accessible for males, non-binary and gender
diverse athletes. By accessible I don’t just mean locations and funds – although they can come into
play. When I talk about accessibility, I mean things like stereotypes preventing males taking up our
fabulous sport. Now I’ve not been to school in about ten years but for a lot of us, our school extra-
curricular cheer was our first taste of cheerleading. Back then at least, when the cheer coach
would come in and hand out some flyers about the cheer sessions, they were only given out to the
girls, all the pictures on the flyers were of girls. So why would a boy want to join?

Even if you get past that first barrier, once you’re in, if you don’t adhere to the male/female binary,
what team do you go on, what uniform do you wear? I have so much time for teams who have time
for their athletes without putting them in a box. It needs to be commonplace to have a choice of
uniform and be catered for. We need to get out of the mindset that the gender binary is the default –
it’s not. Just because someone has a typically sounding female name and long hair, they don’t
necessarily identify as female and the “default” uniform. Even with these obstacles, our male and
gender diverse athletes are incredibly successful.
If we’re talking about accessibility, we need to talk about race. Times are shifting in terms of
opening that dialogue, but we still need to ensure that racial equality is on our mind.

Again, it
comes down to that accessibility. If the promo for the team only has white females on, it may not
seem so inviting for someone who doesn’t fit that narrative. When coaches talk about hairstyles
and tanning for comp, make sure we’re including everyone in those discussions so our athletes of
colour aren’t left second guessing how the comp requirements suit them. Again, move away from
the racial stereotypes. We need more people of colour in flyer positions, or any position they want
to be in. Allow our athletes the same grace no matter their gender, sexuality, disability, body size or

race. It’s not the role of our athletes of colour to be that symbol of change or role model (that’s
tiring work), it’s the role of our coaches to allow them those positions. In doing so, we create a
diverse and welcoming environment for EVERYBODY to THRIVE.
I also want to see more adaptive abilities teams and SEND teams. These are really important but
still pretty scarce.

Once again, there are so many barriers to those with additional needs entering a
sport like cheerleading, so we need to make sure we’re prepared, we have coaches with the
appropriate training and we have the time and place to cater for ALL athletes. We need to adopt an
inclusive environment, not exclusive. Everyone is welcome to cheer, everyone CAN cheer, and
everyone deserves that supportive environment that we all know and love.
As well as these societal prejudices (often placed on us at birth), we have a life outside of cheer.
Add these things together and it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
Sometimes it feels like something needs to give. We need to listen to our bodies, listen to our
teammates, listen to our marginalised genders’ and people of colour’s experiences. We need to
share that burden in order to move forwards for change.
As well as the misogyny and discrimination, we have lives to lead too. We have teachers and
bosses that perhaps don’t appreciate our sport for what it is. We’re constantly challenging views
whilst challenging our bodies with new skills. We deal with break-ups and bereavements with the
support of our teammates; we come back from injuries with the support of our coaches; we expend
literal blood, sweat and tears in the gym; and we break the bank for our fees, uniform and travel
costs; we do it for a mere two minutes and thirty seconds on the comp mat.

The booming music, the glaring lights and the shadow of the judges table. We do it because cheerleading is a pretty terrific sport.

What does it truly mean to be a UK cheerleader? It means that, In spite of all that, we as
cheerleaders take on the weight of centuries of discrimination, and we still perform with a smile and
a wink. On the floor when the lights are bright and the music is booming, that weight doesn’t feel so
heavy and we do it for the love of the sport and the support of our teammates and coaches. When
the weight of the world is bringing you down, learn to rest, not to quit. That goes for all things in life.
Listen to your body. Preventative action is much easier than reactive action. We’re nearing the end
of the season now, so if you need to take a couple of weeks to reset, recuperate, and realign with
your goals (after comp) this is the time to do it.


Be open and honest with your coaches. They’re often pretty good at advice and have likely been in
your situation before. They want to see you do well in and outside of the gym. You might think your
time as an athlete is over, but still want to be involved. Could you take on a recreational class,
volunteer at your programme or get into coaching? There are always options and those around you
will be best placed to advise and support you.
Cheerleading may be a part of your life for just one season, your three years at uni, or half of your
life. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, I’m sure you’ll always hold a special bow-shaped place
in your heart.
That’s all for this month. If you have any topics you’d like us to cover, get in touch! If you find
yourself creating a vision board, be sure to tag us.
Happy goal setting!
Ta’ra for now,
Rach

Written by Rachel

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Well here we are again with our penultimate article for The Diary of a university cheerleader.

It’s actually crazy how quickly this year seems to have gone and it’s been a ride to say the least, as you guys know, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I have learned a lot this year, about cheer and myself. This was my final season as Bull and I’m glad to be going out on a high, after all the blood sweat and tears over the years.

What’s new

So since the last article went live well, actually since I wrote the last article, we had our last competition at Future Cheer Adventure in Atlantis in MK, which actually concluded our season as well. I couldn’t have asked for a better last comp as Bulls cheerleader.

Honestly the whole day was so much fun. It was a bit of chaotic day for me; I had actually just come off shift in the morning of the competition, so there’s me getting all glammed up at work and making sure that I was competition ready.

I had my shift partner helping me apply fake tan at 7am- definitely one way to become closer with your colleagues!

If I haven’t said before I work in a residential home, so that was a bit weird for the people I work with- I had the kids asking me why they woke up to me looking a completely different colour haha! Luckily I wasn’t too far from the venue though otherwise I don’t think I would’ve been able to cope with the stress!

When I arrived the atmosphere was already buzzing, there had already been a morning session and it’s a really really good competition so everyone was in a good mood. It was so busy, but walking into that energy just meant that I was already in a great mood when I arrived, despite the stressful, or hectic morning it’s probably better to say.

Now the one thing I love about Future Cheer competitions, and obviously I love the all the comps anyway, but the Future Cheer merchandise is just unrivalled I swear, so obviously as my last competition on the team I had to spend a stupid amount of money in the shop whilst we are waiting. Who needs money anyway haha.

From warm up all the way through to competing the whole teams energy was just exactly where it needed to be. Obviously we had already competed once and I think that really really helped with some of the new team members to just calm their nerves and go into this competition feeling like ‘we’ve got this and whatever happens today we’ve just gotta have fun’, and that’s exactly what we did. The team as a whole actually did one of the best runs I would say,  watching the replay filled me with so much joy- that sassy energy was there, the smiles, everything. We just smashed it really. I actually think I performed worse in this one though; so I got to the dance section and, I’m sure everyone can relate sometimes, my mind just goes blank halfway through. But lucky for me no one noticed- well those who were supporting us anyway. These things happen but the important thing is to carry on!

This one was extra special because this time we had a lot of support for us, cheering us on as we performed, which I think just makes it so much better and so much easier to really go for it. So I mentioned before that our two coaches also coach an growing All-Star team in Bedford and there were a lot of young, developing cheerleaders who were desperate to see what a cheer competition was actually like. So a handful of them and their parents came to see us, and their little faces showed enough that they loved the experience, and according to the coaches and their parents, it’s given them a new attitude and energy towards their training and their future competitions that they’ll be taking part in. I love that these young cheerleaders had the opportunity to come see us because it’s nice to know that we can have an influence on them and can hopefully instil more of that passion for the sport in them, because cheerleading is growing and it’s important to show exactly what we do and exactly what we’re about, and I feel like we did that.

In terms of how we did, we were only competing against one other team, so the non tumble team from Oxford Brookes University, and I have to say looking at the scoresheet, it was much closer than we could have imagined. I’ve said before that because of our brand-new team, we created a more simple, maybe less creative routine, however we still made it look good. So at the ICC competition we didn’t score the highest on creativity which is okay, but yeah, we weren’t sure what we were gonna get when we showed up to Future Cheer. Oxford Brookes put on an amazing performance well done to them, and they deserved the first place position. However it’s still nice to know that it was a close call for us- just like our other trophy, our second-place trophy is treasured.

Because we were in the middle session of the day, we actually got to stay on a little bit longer and watch some of the world teams perform, who were incredible. That’s one thing that you miss out at all University nationals. Its  great to see other uni teams perform but then seeing the higher levels and the ones that have earned their place in worlds is insane. So the rest of the day which is really lovely to get to spend it with my team by end of the day I am just feeling really happy. I even braved flying for the first time ever. So I’ve been cheering for four years now and I have never been in the air. I have always stayed firmly on the ground happy just doing the lifting, the throwing and catching, but as it was my last time on the team I thought why not give it a go. Maybe I shouldn’t have done it outside in the concrete (although it’s now given me a funny video), of course there was every chance that I could’ve sacked it, especially since I am the queen of injuries, but I had faith in my bases and I can now say that I’ve been in the air. Having this opportunity has actually given me so much admiration for flyers, I don’t know how they do it, and I was only going to prep. I mean, I wasn’t as awful as I could’ve been; I have spent enough time as a base, knowing what bases need from flyers,  to try my hardest to do that, but I couldn’t do all the other pretty looking things they do, fair play to them! So to all my flyers, past, present and hopefully future, you have my utmost respect haha.

The Tuesday after our last competition we had our final official training session. Although some of the team had planned and organise to do some more sessions for the remainder of April this was actually the last session that I was going to be able to make it to due to work commitments picking up so this session was a bit emotional for me I suppose. I warned everyone not to say anything nice to me because I could cry but I managed to hold it together. It was just a really lovely final session with the team we started off with a nice cheer circle just chatting to each other before trying a bit of everything trying some more difficult stance looking into things that the team might want to do next year and even getting the air truck out just to throw some tumbles. Again I managed to get myself in the air, this time trying to lib, and I was actually pretty impressed with myself. That again I definitely still cannot be a flyer at my cheer facials we’re not quite there and I still laugh at the video. Although this wasn’t the last time that I receive a team it still felt like a bittersweet moment knowing that I won’t be training with them again.

I already miss our Tuesday training sessions!

The final month

As I said, this is the 2nd to last article with Cheer from Head to Toe, but there are still a little bit more to come. This month we have set our new committee for the next season and I am so happy to be handing over the torch to these guys. In the next article I’ll do a proper new committee reveal to introduce them to the CFHTT community, but all I’ll say now is that I’m excited to see what they do with the team. They already know that this isn’t the last they’ll see of me- I’m still going to be around haha, and it’s nice to know that they already can’t wait to welcome me back to support future training.

In the very beginning of May we also have our sports awards which I am really excited for. Now because of Covid I’ve actually only been to one sports awards and I just remember having a great time. That year the team that actually won Team of the year for the University, so fingers crossed we do well this year, but even if we don’t I’m just looking forward to spending a good night celebrating the season with the coaches and the team. And if anything it’s an excuse to get all dressed up which is a rarity right now. So in the next article you can look forward to hearing all about this, the new committee and my final goodbyes to the team.

If you’ve been following these articles since the very beginning I just wanted to say thank you, each month I still find it weird to put all my thoughts down but it’s been refreshing to get my voice out there and to be a part of the wider cheer community I suppose. So I hope you tune into the final article next month and then that’ll be it from me!

If you want to check out what Bedfordshire Bull cheerleader

Bedfordshire bulls instagram

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Using Inspiration as Motivation

How are we all doing?

What a week it’s been at worlds, with so many UK teams not only competing, but hitting zero, achieving GLOBES and really showing the world how we SHOW UP.

Have you been inspired by Unity Allstar’s persistence and determination that resulted in then being WORLD CHAMPIONS?

Unity Black

Are you inspired by EMCA C-Lebraties for attending their first worlds and coming home as SILVER CHAMPIONS?

EMCA C-Lebraties

Are you inspired by one of the many programmes or athletes that each experience their own hardships, that have showcased their talent on the worlds stage? No one simply appeared at worlds, it took hard work, commitment and determination to get to that point. Nothing worth having ever comes easy.

Whether you’re inspired to create your own journey to worlds, or to simply be the best athlete you can be, keep reading! Today I’m going to be sharing with you some things to think about along the way that can help you be the best version of your cheer self. Some of them may seem obvious, but they are all evidence based and science backed.

Numero uno, youve got to put in the work.

Have you ever searched YouTube or the internet for tips and tricks of having clear skin, and you just keep hearing that you need to drink water and wear sun cream. I don’t want to drink water, I just want a magic solution that will give me the skin of a newborn infant! Sound familiar? It’s the same concept in sport. You have to set the foundations, and you have to be consistent. Ideally you’d be training 5-6 times a week including you team’s training, tumble, flexibility, strength and conditioning etc. But if you’re currently training once a week, it might be unrealistic to say, ok from now on I’m going to train Monday-Saturday. Try adding one session a week of something you require. There are so many great exercise based resources on YouTube for whatever your heart desires. One extra session may not feel like much, but if you did 30mins extra a week of flexibility, that’s about 26 hours over a year – think of how those scales will look (and feel)!

And the best way to stay consistent is with accountability. Get a friend or two to join in, post it on social media, take before and after pictures or videos for things like flexibility and tumbling technique. We all have those days where we wonder why we’re doing it and if there’s a point, cue number two.

Two, motivation.

So, you’ve arranged to increase your training habits, but the motivation is running low. It’s unlikely that you will be ecstatic about every training session, but those times when you really can’t be bothered, they’re the ones that count the most. As well as creating that accountability mentioned above, vision boards are a great activity that you can do with friends or alone. Vision boards are very popular around the new year, but I think this point on the season is great for cheerleaders. It’s a visual way of setting your goals, manifesting them, and if you put it somewhere you see everyday, you’re reminded of your goals and more likely to work towards them.

Start off by choosing what time frames you want to focus on. Perhaps by the end of the season, by Christmas, by the end of next season or in 5 years time. Decide what goals you want to achieve by then. Do you want to improve your stretches, do you want to improve you tumble technique or gain a new skill, do you want to make a specific team, do you want to hit zero. Find an image that is associated with that goal (e.g., a cheerleader you look up to doing that skill, a photo of a “hit zero” badge) and stick it to your vision board. Outside of cheer, common things people put on their vision boards are the car they want to get in by the end of the year, what holiday they want to go on, how much money they want to save in a certain timeframe or a picture of a house if they’re looking at owning their first/new property.

Bringing it back to cheer, we want to make sure our goals are realistic. If you’re currently at forward roll level, you’re unlikely to get a full by Christmas. That can be the direction, but what goals can you achieve on the way? If you want a needle, we need to work on splits, bridges, shoulder flexibility, balance and core strength – so attach some goals to those.

-You can either print images out and stick them on a physical vision board, you can make the whole thing in word and use it as your lock screen, or print it out and stick in the front of your diary. It’s about setting those goals but also making it as visually appealing as you can – so that you want to look at it everyday, you want to be ticking off those goals as you achieve them.

Three, teamwork.

Teams are like family. You don’t get to pick your teammates, but through thick and thin you’ll end up loving each person in their own different ways. Cheerleading relies on teamwork, communication and cohesion. If you lack any of the above, it can result in falls, bobbles or injury. The very core of cheerleading is that team identity. So make sure you spend the time to get to know your teammates, organise socials, come up with your own chants and handshakes. It may seem like these little things don’t make a difference to what you put on the floor, but teams who are better able to communicate and work together, are the teams you see achieving their dreams. Team work really does make the dream work.

It sounds obvious that teamwork is key to a sport like cheerleading. But take it from someone (me) who has just endured a gruelling 12 weeks of my recent Group Dynamics and Leadership module; when we experience that cohesion with our teammates, captains and coaches, we’re more likely to experience a higher level of satisfaction from training. The more you enjoy something, the more you want to do it. This also increases your intrinsic motivations – that means, you’re more likely to want to do it, rather than feeling like you need to do it. I.e., I’m going to get to training early so I can make sure I’m eager and ready to get started, over, I’ll try not to be late so I don’t get burpees.

Four, coaching.

If you’re not already a coach, do you have the opportunity to coach another team or assist their coach? Stay with me here.

I recently had the experience of doing a skill I’ve never coached before – it’s just not something that’s come up whilst I’ve been coaching. I think it might have been as simple as a dive roll. The person going after me asked when, during the skill, I put my hands down. I literally replied and said “I have no idea”. It’s a skill I learned as a child and now, as an adult reluctantly nearing my late twenties, it’s a skill I perform using muscle memory. I don’t know how I do it, I just do it. You’ve likely had similar experiences with skills yourself. Most commonly we think of riding a bike or driving a car. They are skills that once we know what we’re doing, we don’t think about it, we just do it.

When you coach, you have to think about how you do these skills, every little movement, where your hands go, the timing of the skill, which muscles you’re using – because you need to be telling the people you’re coaching exactly how to do the skill. You can show them how to do it, but you also need to communicate exactly how they’d replicate that skill. That’s why some of the greatest athletes in the world do not make great coaches – because they can’t explain how they do it, they just do it. If you’re looking for a way of improving your own skillset, learn to coach. You’ll be more present in your skills and have more time to think about your technique. Plus, you’ll learn more about the different positions and if you’re a base, you’ll likely become more appreciative of the movements your flyer or back makes during the stunt, and vice versa.

If you don’t have the opportunity to coach within your programme or elsewhere, try and teach a non-cheerleading friend or family member. I remember being told in school that once you’re able to teach it to someone else, that’s when you fully understand it. Although, theories, techniques and rules are always changing, so we never “fully” understand, but that’s a topic for another day!

Five, manifestation.

Now I’m not telling you to get your cards read or to build up a crystal collection (although if that’s your vibe, go for it!). Bare with me here. What I mean by manifestation, is believing in your abilities. You’ve set those goals, you have to believe that you’re going to achieve them. Vision yourself achieving those skills, imagine hearing your team’s name called out in first place, or whatever your goal may be. Think about what you can see around you, what can you hear, and overall, how do you feel in that very moment? Living out these experiences in our mind allow us to replicate what that might feel like, and it gives us that boost of motivation to get going. Try it out next time you’re struggling for motivation before a session. Ultimately, it helps with your confidence and self-belief. If you can’t believe in yourself, how are your team going to? I believe in you, but you have to believe in yourself first.

To recap

  1. Structure in extra training sessions. They don’t have to be official sessions in the gym, they could be 30min bursts in your room following a flexibility or conditioning video.
  2. Create a vision board either independently, with some friends or your team. Have a look on Pinterest and YouTube for some ideas.
  3. Work towards that unbreakable bond with your team, take the time to get to know everyone, organise a social, get a mascot and create that team identity.
  4. Coaching is not for everyone, but it may help you understand the skills you’re learning.
  5. Manifest your goals into existence!

That’s all for this month. If you have any topics you’d like us to cover, get in touch! If you find yourself creating a vision board, be sure to tag us.

Happy goal setting!

Ta’ra for now,

Rach x

Written by Rachel

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Unity Allstar black are the first team in UK history to be crown World Champions

Day 1

Day 2

Amanda Unity Allstar gym said

“In 2006 Tori ( co-owner of Unity Allstar gym) started a cheerleading team called Unity Allstars and I was lucky enough to be an athlete on the original team. In 2009 I came on board as a coach and we turned the team into a programme and that team was named Black. Black attended Worlds for the first time that year and came 11th. I was still an athlete then too, it was my first time on the worlds floor and I was lucky to do it 3 more times for Black in 2010,2011 and 2016.

This year was Blacks 11th year at Worlds. This year we gave our all. And this year, after so many years of hard work, of blood sweat and tears – we were crowned WORLD CHAMPIONS! 🥇

I cannot even explain how this feels. The team that started it all, the team that helped us create our programme and build our gym has become the first English team in history to win an Allstar division at Worlds. Today they inspire countless generations of children in our country, they are proof that hard work and perseverance pay off.

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