Age 14? Age 18? What should the limit be?
I’ll admit it—my rec cheer program is different than others. Most traditional rec teams accept athletes until age 14, then those kids are expected to move on to their high school teams. My team is different—we accept all ages up to age 18 on our youth teams. Why do we do that? Well, there are several reasons participants stay with us or come to us after age 14:
They don’t want the immense time commitment that comes with a high school cheer program
They didn’t make their high school cheer squad and they want to improve their skills to try out again the next year
They want a lower-cost option to being on an all-star team or high school team
Their high school program doesn’t include a competitive component and they want to have that option.
I don’t feel the need to limit my program to age 14 when there are so many good and talented athletes who want an opportunity to cheer beyond the traditional school and all-star options. And I’ve got some fantastic high schoolers who not only cheer on my teams, but help coach as well, thus developing their leadership skills. Why not be as inclusive as possible?