Being A Cheer Parent - F.A.Q.'s

When does the cheer season start?

Registration for Okanagan Firestorm Cheerleading programs opens in May.  Competitive teams begin training once a week through July and August with regular twice a week practices beginning in September. The main season runs from September to the end of May.

Prep and Novice team registration begins in May with an option of taking summer classes.  The prep ad novice  teams begin regular practices once a week in September continuing to the end of May.

Recreational programming registration is ongoing with Sessions of the recreational classes running October to December and April to June. 

What age does my athlete need to be to start cheer?

Registration for cheer programs is based on an athletes age on August 31 of the registration year.  Our youngest programming starts at 3 years old and our oldest closes out at 18 years.  Based on the birth date requirements it means a 2 year old may register for fall teams during the summer as long as the turn 3 on or before August 31.  Similarly, an 18 year old athlete can register for a senior team, even if they turn 19 in September.  

My athlete has never done cheer, can they be on a competition team?

Absolutely! Think of a competition team the same as you would a soccer team...when you sign up, you expect to play against other teams during the season.  Competitive cheer teams are divided by ages and levels so any athlete coming into the sport, no matter their experience, will be matched with a team that best suits their current skills and age division.  This means that a 15 year old starting cheer for the first time, can be placed on a team with similar age athletes who have similar skill sets and compete against teams from other gyms of an equivalent age and skill level.

The question of whether an athlete should join a competitive or semi-competitive team is more based on the amount of practice time or competition travel a family is willing to commit to for a given season.  For a full break down see our team listings! 

When does my athlete get their Pom-Poms?

Contrary to popular belief the SPORT of cheer rarely involves poms.  When thinking of cheerleading most people think of a separate sport called Sideline cheer, which is often associated with sports teams and scholastic cheer programs.  This is most commonly where the poms and "rah rah" are found.  Nowadays, teams competing in international divisions, including Team Canada, are required to perform a cheer as part of the separation between our sport and gymnastics.

In all star cheer classes, little time is spent on actual cheering. Poms are set aside for a higher focus on stunt and tumbling skill acquisition though motion training is still important.  Tiny, Rec and summer camps often have a cheer component that our competitive and prep classes don't include. 

My athlete did level 1 last year, why are they not progressing to level 2 this year?

All-star cheerleading is divided into 7 levels.  Each level includes a variety of skills in stunts, pyramids, tumbling and jump combinations.  Each athlete progresses through these levels at their own unique pace and only a small handful ever make it into the upper 3 levels.  Due to the large number of skills required by each level, it will often take a cheerleader several years to "master" all of the skills required.  An athlete can spend multiple seasons in the same level and still be challenged and acquire new skills each year.  For example an athlete who can perform a back tuck (level 3 tumbling) may spend a season on a level 1 team if they have never stunted or performed pyramids before in order for them to SAFELY acquire the skills to stunt at a higher level in the future.  Like wise an athlete may have upper level stunt skills but limited tumbling.  Each season an athletes placement is determined by their skills they have MASTERED on the floor, as well as the collective skills and age of the team.  In this way an athlete may have a journey through cheer that appears like this: Mini Level 1 (2 Years), Youth Level 1 (1 year), Youth Level 2 (2 Years), Senior Level 1 (1 Year), Senior Level 3.

Our program practices the principal of perfection over progression.  If at any time an athlete or parent in uncertain of their placement a conversation with coaches can be easily arranged. 

Are competitions optional?

When registering for a prep or competitive program, the athlete and parent is agreeing to the required competitions of that team.  Unlike other sports, a substitute for a weekend game cannot easily be thrown into any position.  Each cheerleaders role in their routine is unique to them even among their teammates. Because of this, it is mandatory that all members of semi-comp and competitive teams attend all competitions that their team is scheduled for. Chaperones and rides for athletes can be arranged and dates are released prior to registration to ensure families are well aware of the commitment they are entering.