The Summit Awaits: The scoop on Competitive Cheerleadering and Cultivating Exceptional Athletes

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The Summit – All Star Cheerleading Championship is the pinnacle event of the all-star cheerleading world for every Cheerleading Worlds eligible team. Teams must compete for a Summit bid at one of many events held around the United States. The U.S. All Star Federation is the governing body for all-star cheerleading and dance in the United States. The USASF was founded in December 2003 by cheerleading competition sponsors National Cheerleaders Association, Universal Cheerleaders Association, Cheersport, and America’s Best to develop a standard set of safety rules and competition regulations. They conduct the Cheerleading Worlds, Summit and US Finals. 

Now that cheer is an Olympic sport, they will be pushing the skills to the limit!

Cheer is a team sport and it teaches youth how to work with others, time management, how to accept failures, and how to deal with pushing through pain and disappointment. The hours of dedication that it takes is long! They miss birthday parties and also family time. This dedication truly makes them follow their heart and learn what it takes to be an exceptional athlete while also learning valuable life skills. Having two girls heading to Summit at ESPN in Orlando is a blessing and a curse. Only the top 7% of the country get an invitation to go and most gyms have bid revel parties. There are three types of bids and they are called paid, open and wildcard. Paid bids are the hardest, they have fees paid, rooms paid at a Disney resort, and a special party held at Disney for the cheerleaders’ only. The open bid is another and you have to pay for it by fundraising and it is over $400 in fees. Last, but not least is a wildcard bid where you compete on Friday and the top move to the finals on Sunday. You aren’t guaranteed a spot at the finals even if you go on Saturday and only the top 33 % make it. Every day is a clean slate. There are also the top teams from other countries that are invited. 

The US Finals which has eight different locations around the United States has Gold, Paid Bids and Regular. Participants range from Louisville, Chicago, Kansas Pensacola, Providence Virginia Beach, Dallas, and Las Vegas. The first-place winner gets a jacket then they go on to the semifinals by video entry with a different panel of judges. The winner gets a ring, both of my girls have won one in the past. The winners at the bigger contest get jackets and backpacks beside medals and bragging rights.

The relationships they make help them find others to lean on…

Both of my girls have been in the sport since they were three and four. One has tried other sports but still comes back to cheer because she loves and misses it. One is a flyer the other a base it takes all parts to make a teamwork every one is important and you all have to be part of the bigger picture. It is an honor for both to be going to Summit, one it is her first time the other her third and hopefully, it will be a life experience they will never forget! 

It takes months to learn what they put on the mat for a mere two minutes and forty-five seconds. One fall out of a pyramid could mean the difference of making it. The tears that are shed are hard as a parent are hard to take. That .02 can make the difference between first and second place. Yet picking one self-up and getting back to the gym shows character and how great these kids are. Organized sports teach our kids what we learned growing up that there are winners in life if you put the time in. In today’s world where most kids are given a participation medal at all events, this sport is not for the faint of hearts, yet every kid that stays with the sport goes very far in life. They are proven to be better equipped to handle the pressures of college and the demanding workforce. They are more apt to try new things and go into fields others may shy away from. Most of the kids are honor roll, kids of good character or in gifted or magnet programs.

These days colleges are looking beyond just academics to get in, what does your kid have outside of school? Even if it’s not sports do, they volunteer? It’s best to start looking at middle school age for what interests your kids and cultivate it to help their future. 

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Sarana Minick was born in Trinidad and now lives in Pembroke Pines. She is a stay-at-home mom to three very active kids, two girls eleven and ten and one baby boy who is nine. She is a proud military wife and self-proclaimed volunteer junkie. Her kids are very involved in competitive cheerleading and recreational soccer, and both girl and boy scouts. They love traveling, saving money, camping and glitter! It takes all kinds of teachers, family, and friends to help shape our kid’s; so welcome to our journey and let’s help each other along the way!”