Getting girls active through cheerleading
Published: 8 Oct 2015
Rebecca Nixon, a substitute chemistry teacher and part-time gymnastics and cheerleading coach from Bangor, is passionate about the potential of cheerleading to get girls interested in sport.
She has just returned from a five-week Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship in the USA and Canada, exploring the cheerleading program and finding out about safe development from recreational level to elite level participation.
Rebecca spent four weeks with the Stingray Allstars in Marietta, Georgia - a large, world-renowned program with over 600 cheerleaders training and competing through the club. The majority of members are teenage girls, a group that is often targeted as having low participation in sport.
“One of the things that really stood out to me was the range of ages and abilities that was catered for, and how much time and effort the coaches put in to every team, regardless of their ability. Every child was being encouraged and challenged to be the best they could be,” said Rebecca.
In addition to this Rebecca attended a conference in Montreal where she was able to meet with coaches from all over the world and attend classes in stunting, tumbling, marketing, branding and competition scoring.
Rebecca was struck by the importance of developing a program that values all members and promotes inclusion through a variety of ability groups, alongside developing safe progression from foundation to advanced stage. She also wants to be able to make the sport accessible to those who don’t want to commit to the high costs associated with cheerleading.
Back in the UK, Rebecca is working to reintroduce cheerleading to her local town through the formation of teams suitable for all levels. She is also putting together a project that coaches will be able to use to develop their teams and promote the sport in their local area, which she plans to share in Northern Ireland and further afield.
Contact Rebecca: firstname.lastname@example.org