In early June, 63 representatives from 35 companies including apparel, makeup, accessories, music, coaches, choreography, photography, video and the media that cover the sport came together with USASF Board members and staff in a first-of-its-kind discussion and discovery. Attendees learned about the risks of sexual exploitation of All Star athletes and to unify around the commitment to be diligent in how we portray children so we do not put them at risk.
The USASF asked a research firm to survey parents considering All Star cheer as an activity for their child and learned that, in addition to concerns about cost and time, 9% of parents did not choose All Star cheer because of the image and appearance of athletes. Image concerns included uniforms, hair, makeup and, of that 9% that did not choose All Star, a shocking 23% of parents worry about the potential for abuse and exploitation in All Star. The companies in attendance committed to protect athletes through the products and services they offer by supporting new Athletic Performance Standards as outlined in the USASF Professional Responsibility Code and Safety Rules for All Star.
Stacy Pendarvis, Program Director for the Monique Burr Foundation for Children was in attendance and affirmed that All Star is leading the way for other youth sports to follow regarding athlete protection. Companies will meet again at the USASF National Meeting in August.