Tag Archives: Cheer LTD

Observations After the Midwest Regional Meeting

The first USASF Regional Meeting of the summer was held in Chicago last weekend. The meeting offered a range of classes for cheerleading and dance including skills classes, business classes, insights into scoring, choreography, and music, as well as general industry sessions and a variety of specialized sessions. The meeting also had the first preview of the Universal Scoring System, which will be the system used at Worlds in 2015.

The meeting had several opportunities to discuss the industry as a whole and the path we’re on. Sessions with Les Stella, Amy Clark, and NACCC Executive Committee members gave attendees the chance to find out why certain things were done, why they were done the way they were, hear about rules and policy changes that have been proposed and will be included on the voting slate, as well as introduce topics that need to be discussed and addressed in the future.

During the weekend I had the pleasure of working with Kenny Feeley to teach the skills portion of the Level 6 credentialing course, which was a learning lesson from all sides. The attendees learned tips and tricks to help with the fundamental Level 6 stunts, pyramids, and tosses. The attendees were very complimentary, but I hope they send in feedback, good and bad, so we can learn what needs to be adjusted and what we need to continue doing. Kenny and I had a crash course in working remotely around busy travel and work schedules and quickly learned we can’t cover nearly as much material as we thought we’d be able to in 50 minutes.


USASF is looking for a new Assistant Regional Director for the Northeast Region. If you are interested please Contact Me and I’ll forward the email to you. The application deadline is July 3rd.

Varsity Spirit bought Cheer LTD. Varsity also requested to be referred to as Varsity Spirit or Varsity All Star which is related to the rebranding of Herff Jones.

You’ll need to take the CDC Head Up Concussion course if you plan on credentialing or becoming a certified safety judge. Even if you don’t plan on being credentialed or certified you should take it in the interest of improving your safety education.

OverStretch – June 24, 2014

Varsity Spirit and Cheer LTD Announce Merger

Cheer LTD Canam LogoMemphis, Tenn., (June 24, 2014) – Varsity Spirit and Cheer Ltd. Inc. are pleased to announce that they have merged, effective immediately.

Varsity Spirit, the leader in cheerleading and dance team education, events and apparel, was founded in 1974 in Memphis, TN. Their national events have been televised since 1980, and are currently broadcast on ESPN and CBS Sports.

Based in Fayetteville, NC, Cheer Ltd. Inc. produces more than 25 competitions for cheerleaders each year, including Cheer Ltd. Nationals at CANAM and the NCHSAA State High School Cheerleading Championships. Cheer Ltd. Inc. is a Tier 1 USASF Event Producer and has been an independent leader in the spirit industry for more than 25 years.

“This is an exciting time for Cheer Ltd. Inc. as we join the Varsity Spirit family of brands,” says Gwen Holtsclaw, President and CEO of Cheer Ltd. “Having worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Varsity Spirit in numerous industry-wide initiatives, we have great respect for Varsity Spirit’s corporate commitment to the spirit industry. Our Cheer Ltd. management team will continue to produce our events with even more benefits to our customers that come with being part of the largest organization in the spirit industry—Varsity Spirit.”

VarsityJohn Newby, Executive Vice President of Varsity Spirit and General Manager of Varsity All Star, said, “We are excited to welcome the Cheer Ltd. team and look forward to working with their entire organization as we continue to focus on producing the best cheer and dance competitions in the world.”

Gwen Holtsclaw will continue to manage and direct the Cheer Ltd. Inc. operations, and its headquarters will remain at its current location in Fayetteville, NC.

For more information, please contact Sheila Noone, 901-251-5959 or [email protected].

Press Release: Varsity Spirit and Cheer LTD Announce Merger


CheerSafe.org & National Cheerleading Safety Month

Cheer Safe LogoIn celebration of National Cheerleading Safety Month, Varsity has partnered with CheerSafe, a coalition organized by USA Cheer and the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA), to improve cheerleading safety by increasing safety awareness throughout the cheerleading community. CheerSafe and CheerSafe.org provides athletes, coaches and parents important tools, trainings and updates regarding cheerleading safety.

“Partnering with CheerSafe is a perfect match for Varsity as we strive to promote and encourage cheer safety every day,” said Nicole Lauchaire, Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications for Varsity. “National Cheerleading Safety Month is a great time to remind athletes, coaches and parents to promote cheerleading safety and ensure their programs follow safety rules and guidelines.”

To kick off the partnership, Varsity is promoting CheerSafe’s iCheerSafe pledge by encouraging cheerleaders to take “Safety Selfies:” photos in which they will hold #iCheerSafe signs proudly supporting their dedication to safety and inspiring other athletes to do the same. Cheerleaders are being encouraged to tweet their ‘selfies’ with the hashtag #iCheerSafe. Photos will be featured on the CheerSafe.org site and retweeted by @CheerSafe and @USACheer.

CheerSafe also encourages the following steps to improve cheer safety:

  • Take the iCheerSafe Pledge to cheer safely
  • Update certifications
  • Review Emergency Action Plans
  • Spread the word about CheerSafe.org as a cheer safety resource

“We are so proud to have Varsity support the CheerSafe coalition and iCheerSafe pledge,” said Karen Lew, director of safety for USA Cheer. “As the leader in all things cheerleading, Varsity’s commitment to safety sends a strong signal to the cheer community of the importance of this initiative and an ongoing focus on safety.”

Varsity has a longstanding commitment to cheerleading safety. Annually, more than 350,000 Varsity campers take a Safety Awareness class during summer camps to receive safety certifications. Varsity has also been the trusted safety auditor for cheerleaders performing in numerous men’s and women’s university basketball tournaments since 2006. The National Collegiate Athletic Association also formed a partnership with Varsity which dictates that all cheerleading coaches at the college level are AACCA safety certified. AACCA was founded in 1987 with initial funding from Varsity and continues to be the standard of cheerleading safety today, having certified more than 20,000 coaches in the last 27 years.

To learn more about Varsity’s commitment to cheerleading safety, please visit www.wearevarsity.com/safety. To learn more about CheerSafe and the iCheerSafe pledge, please visit www.cheersafe.org. Updates and important safety tips can also be found on the iCheerSafe Facebook (Facebook.com/icheersafe) and Twitter (@CheerSafe) throughout the month of March.

Varsity Announces Partnership With CheerSafe to Promote Cheerleading Safety

CheerSafe.org, the portal for news and information on cheerleading safety supported by USA Cheer and the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators, is debuting the #iCheerSafe campaign for National Cheerleading Safety Month for March 2014.

As part of the campaign, cheerleaders and coaches are invited to pledge their adherence to safety rules and guidelines at all times and showcase their support with the Twitter-based #iCheerSafe hashtag. The three-step campaign is simple for today’s tech savvy teens:

  1. Take the iCheerSafe Pledge at www.cheersafe.org.
  2. Take a picture holding a sign with the #iCheerSafe hashtag, or print and hold the certificate from the website.
  3. Tweet the picture with the #iCheerSafe hashtag.

During the entire month of March, @USACheer and @CheerSafe will retweet the pictures and post them on www.cheersafe.org.

“We are excited by the enthusiasm cheerleaders and coaches have already shown for the #iCheerSafe campaign,” says Karen Lew, Director of Safety for USA Cheer. “Cheerleading safety is at the root of all we do, and this campaign will help raise awareness among the cheerleaders themselves, which is crucial to our mission.”

CheerSafe.org is the one source for all cheerleading safety information, from the latest regulations and research to the rules that every team should follow. CheerSafe’s mission is to educate parents, cheerleaders and administrators to the facts of cheerleading safety at every level – school, college and all star—and to promote and improve cheerleading safety through the involvement of a wide spectrum of organizations in the cheerleading community.

Joining the CheerSafe campaign are many of the largest organizations in the cheerleading community, including Varsity, Cheer Ltd and the magazines American Cheerleader and Inside Cheerleading.

For more information, visit cheersafe.org, or contact Sheila Noone, [email protected].

CheerSafe.org Launches Interactive ‘Safety Selfie’ Campaign for National Cheerleading Safety Month

Athlete ID Required Info for 2013-14 Season

USASF Athlete ID LogoUSASF sent an email reminding everyone Athlete ID is required for the 2013-14 season. The email also linked to Athlete ID FAQs.

“In my USASF Gym Profile I can add an event and create USASF Official Event Rosters, including crossovers. I use this information to help validate my event registration information for the event producers. Athlete ID helps with compliance of age grid rules and adds credibility to our industry.” – Stan Stec, Allstar Athletics Cheerleading, Tinley Park, IL

“Because I have been both a soccer mom and a gymnastics mom, athlete identification is to me an expected part of youth sports. Having a professional method through the USASF to verify eligibility and confirm identity in a sport as large and diverse as cheer makes complete sense to me. As an event producer, the transition to Athlete ID for Cheer Ltd. is simply one more step in elevating our industry standard.” – Gwen Holtsclaw, President, Cheer, Ltd.

A Message From the USASF Board of Directors – April 5th, 2012

The Board appreciates the recommendations recently made by the Rules Committee and, as always, gave them serious consideration before issuing the revised rules that we feel are in the best interest of our sport and its athletes. Given the feedback we received, it seems appropriate to now address the developments that led the Board to initially issue these rules.

USASF LogoThe Board has a deep respect for the technical qualifications of the members of the Rules Committee and sincerely appreciates the hard work of every member. The Board believes that much focus has been given to important detailed technical points; however, there are broader issues involving the rules that deserve immediate attention. Because of this, the Board felt compelled to address what it believes are critical and urgent issues. Addressing these issues is consistent with the mission of the USASF, which is to create a safe and positive environment for All Star athletes and to grow the sport.

An inordinate number of injuries in tumbling appears not to have been adequately addressed by the rules. All technical areas (stunts, pyramids and basket tosses) have restrictions to enhance safety. When particular skills are deemed to be unsafe for the vast number of athletes involved in our sport, rules and restrictions need to be created. If there are skills that appear to be creating injuries, then it is the responsibility of the USASF to address these skills for the overall benefit of our athletes and our sport.

In recent days, some have advocated leaving decisions on what specific skills can be performed by an athlete strictly to the coaches and athletes themselves, thereby eliminating any restrictions. The result would be allowing virtually any skill to be attempted. The Board believes that this approach would have a devastating effect on our sport (envision four high pyramids, basket tosses from shoulder stands, and double or triple backs with multiple twists on the floor and in baskets).

The Board is also concerned about the continued lack of serious competition in many of the divisions that have been created. While the concept of level play has been positive for our sport, the very large number of divisions inherently creates a lack of serious competition in many circumstances. There are now more than 140 divisions. This is counter to creating what is an essential element of any legitimate sport, which is competition. The Board believes that decisions must be made over the coming months to create a more balanced and robust competitive environment.

The image and appearance policy addresses the increasing criticism about the general appearance of our athletes during competition and the unflattering media stories that have focused on how our sport is presenting its athletes, particularly those in the younger age groups.

Regarding process, the Board appreciates the procedure whereby the NACCC recommends rules to the Rules Committee, and the Committee then considers these recommendations, as well as those the Committee develops itself. The Rules Committee then recommends specific rules to the Board, the vast majority of which have historically been passed. However, the Board has always reserved the right to pass certain rules it develops itself if such rules are deemed to address issues of important and immediate concern. Going forward, in an effort to advance the USASF’s mission in a more substantial and timely way, the Board will give as clear a direction as possible to the Rules Committee as it relates to the development of rules.

While fully respecting and appreciating each individual’s right to freely express themselves, it is imperative that those who are involved with the USASF on an official basis or project conduct themselves constructively and professionally with respect for their peers working within the organization. Based on the developments that have recently transpired regarding these rules, the USASF will soon be issuing its own standards of conduct relative to official work being done on behalf of the USASF. To hold an official position, including a USASF committee position, the USASF will require that members discuss and address these issues within the organization’s official structure.

Finally, the Board, which is composed of both event producers and coaches, believes that it is imperative to put the overall good of the sport before personal or company interests. This includes event companies and gym companies. The Board believes everyone should keep this principle at the forefront of our future efforts in furthering the USASF’s mission to create a safe and positive environment for All Star athletes and to grow the sport.

Board of Directors

Jim Chadwick (Chairman), Mike Burgess (USA), Justin Carrier (NCA), Brian Elza (Premier Athletics), Jeff Fowlkes (CHEERSPORT), Mack Hirshberg (Mac’s Cheer), Gwen Holtsclaw* (Cheer Ltd.), Happy Hooper (Ace All Stars), Dan Kessler (Jamfest), April LaFramboise (JAM Brands), Colleen Little (IEP), Jody Melton (Cheer Athletics), Catherine Morris (UDA), John Newby (UCA), Elaine Pascale (World Cup), Steve Peterson (IASF/USASF), James Speed* (GymTyme), Lance Wagers (ACA)

*Consultants to the Board

A Message From the USASF Board of Directors

IEP Responds to March 28, 2012 USASF Board of Directors Annoucement

IEP LogoMarch 29, 2012 – On March 28, 2012, an announcement was sent to the USASF membership on behalf of the USASF Board of Directors. This announcement explained that a proposal was accepted by the USASF Board that will take effect for the 2012-2013 season. Per the announcement, the proposal was based off of a “joint presentation of CHEERSPORT, JamBrands and Varsity with an endorsement from Cheer Limited”.

The Independent Event Producers (IEP) were not consulted or informed in any way of this proposal nor were they involved in any data collection for any case studies to support the proposal. The IEP feels strongly that the proposal did not warrant the immediate action taken and that circumventing the appropriate process and the coaches input was detrimental to our industry. Unfortunately, this is yet another example of lack of balance and democracy within our governing body.

The mission of IEP remains our focus today. Our main objective is to “collectively influence the cheerleading and dance industry, to promote independence and work to ensure our long-term viability in the industry”. The IEP is made up of companies representing over 250 events. Please visit www.WeAreIEP.com for more information on IEP member companies.

IEP Responds to March 28, 2012 USASF Board of Directors Annoucement

USASF Critical Updates for 2012-13

USASF LogoDear USASF Members,

The primary missions of USASF are to promote the safety of the all-star cheer athletes and to help grow the sport. The USASF Board of Directors is charged with establishing policies and procedures consistent with that mission. The Board typically does this through normal operating procedures but has the authority and in fact, the responsibility, to act outside of those normal procedures if they feel a critical situation exists that threatens that mission. This is not unlike professional football that recently instituted a number of emergency measures to address the issue of head trauma and concussions. They felt the safety of their athletes and the long term health of the sport was at risk so they acted very quickly and without following their normal procedures.

During our March 28th Board meeting conference call, a joint presentation of CHEERSPORT, JamBrands and Varsity with an endorsement from Cheer Limited was made to the Board that stated they believe immediate action was needed for the long term interest of all-star cheer and its’ athletes. The proposal was the result of analyzing their own internal data relating to these issues as well as extensive discussions with gym owners, coaches, athletes and parents.

One of the primary concerns related to the negative impact of the increased focus on elite tumbling skills. Most programs report an increase in the number and severity of injuries as the tumbling skills become more difficult. The focus on elite tumbling also restricts the growth of the sport because it limits the type of athletes who can compete. It was agreed among these event producers to use score sheets that maximize tumbling scores at “half plus one” to create a majority. This will allow for more diversity of athletes among all teams. Beyond tumbling recommendations, the group also proposed several changes to the age grid and divisions including establishing a minimum age in all senior divisions. There were various reasons for all the changes but the consensus was that all these changes would enhance the sport and were necessary.

The proposal was accepted by the Board and will take effect for the 2012/2013 season. While the Rules Committee has been charged with writing the specific rules, an outline of the changes is attached in an effort to get the word out as quickly as possible.

A second issue addressed during the Board meeting today was the approval of the attached Image & Appearance Policy and Etiquette. This is in response to the input gathered during the Summer Regional Meetings and a survey conducted during January /February, in which 2,700 USASF members participated, indicating uniform, choreography, and make up issues needed to be addressed to enhance the legitimacy of the sport.

Jim Chadwick

President, USASF

USASF Image Policy

USASF Image Etiquette

USASF Rules to Implement for 2012-13