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Squad Credentialing

Since 1974, UCA has been dedicated to providing instruction, competitive opportunities and memorable experiences for cheerleaders with an emphasis on leadership and safety. Cheerleaders have the honor and responsibility of creating a strong sense of school pride and elevating spirit within their school and community through five key roles – crowd leader, spirit raiser, ambassador, athlete and entertainer. When squads focus on achieving excellence in each role of the cheerleader, they lead the way in elevating spirit within their school and community.

Along with the five roles of a cheerleader, teaching proper progressions and safety training are top priorities at UCA. As stated by the National Federation of State High School Associations, the four crucial aspects of leadership are communication, team building, problem solving and motivation – each of which are a focus in our summer camp curriculum. Together, as partners in building strong school spirit programs, this makes up the Varsity Spirit / NFHS Credentialing program.

The UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship (NHSCC) is the only Cheerleading National Championship endorsed by the NFHS. The NFHS works with nearly 20,000 schools, 11 million students across 50 states. Their endorsement is a reflection of the values we share and the high standards we have developed for the NHSCC and our camp curriculum. Because safety and leadership is so important to both the NFHS and UCA, completing the NFHS Squad Credentialing program at a Varsity Spirit Summer Camp is required for teams to be eligible to qualify for the 2019 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship.

The implementation of the Varsity Spirit / NFHS Squad Credentialing Program is part of our continued mission to elevate the profile of cheerleaders, whether on campus, at a game or in the community.

THE ROLES OF THE CHEERLEADER

Cheerleading is a tremendous responsibility and honor of building a strong sense of school spirit within the schools. When cheerleaders do this well, school spirit rises and students achieve greater success!

Crowd Leader – The title cheerleader says it all, leading the crowd through cheers. They can do this by using a combination of crowd-effective chants and skills to rally the crowd and together, support the athletes on the field or court. Signs, poms, megaphones and flags are vital tools to get the crowd’s attention and communicate loudly and clearly how they should participate. This should strengthen unity among the fans, encourage sportsmanship and foster pride and loyalty for the school and community.

Spirit Raiser – When cheerleaders spread their sense of pride for their school both on and off the field, they are helping others build a connection to their place of learning and the community within it. Spirit raising is taking the pride cheerleaders have for their school and sharing it with others. Whether it means making signs and encouraging their peers to attend the big game, planning and hosting pep rallies, organizing sprit weeks or keeping the positivity up in and out of the classroom, spirit starts with the cheerleading team.

Ambassador – As some of the most visible students on campus, it is important for cheerleaders to be positive role models for others both inside the classroom and out in the community. As examples for other students, cheerleaders can help raise the bar for academics, school spirit and behavior. At games, the cheerleader’s primary role is to support the success of others. How many other athletes can say that? Cheerleaders celebrate other team’s victories just like it’s their own. Win, lose or tie, cheerleaders understand the value of sportsmanship and the importance of supporting others, teaching them to be better role models both on and off the field.

Athlete – Just like all athletes, cheerleaders have the natural drive to perfect their skills and progress to new ones. Cheerleading requires strength and flexibility to perform stunts, jumps and tumbling. Technique creates a strong foundation for hitting skills and learning new ones. Physical endurance is required to cheer throughout an entire game, during practices and at competition. Competition is an opportunity for recognition for the incredible job cheerleaders do throughout the year. While it does showcase great athleticism, it should not be the team’s primary focus.

Entertainer – Not only do cheerleaders support the athletes on the field, they entertain the crowd in the stands in between plays, during timeouts or halftimes and during other spirit raising events. By performing visual dances, partner stunts and tumbling, cheerleaders create a visual interest to supplements the in-game entertainment never distracting what is happening on the field. If the crowd is engaged with what the cheerleaders are performing on the sidelines, they are more likely to yell for the athletes on the field or court.

SAFETY

Through our camps, we have consistently stressed safety awareness classes that emphasize the importance of proper technique and progressions for all cheerleaders. There is no more important issue in cheerleading than safety. Our goal moving forward is to continue to make cheerleading safer and safer, and to ensure that our athletes understand it is vital in their team's success. We will go through a Safety Awareness and Spotting Seminar before we start stunt class, too!


LEADERSHIP

From individuals leading within a squad to a squad leading on campus and in the community, spirit leaders will focus on developing the fundamental NFHS leadership skills. The four crucial aspects of leadership as stated by the NFHS are communication, team building, problem solving, and motivation. The UCA Staff will lead you every step of the way through the Squad Credentialing Program!