As the popularity of competitive cheerleading increases, a new team at Sweetwater Activity Center ensures even the youngest athletes can participate.
The Pee Wee competitive cheerleading squad, open to youngsters three to nine years old, meets Tuesdays at 5 p.m.
The young participants have the option of taking a gymnastics class in conjunction with the cheer squad from 4-5 p.m. or from 6-7 p.m. (before or after team practice) on Tuesdays at Sweetwater.
The program was formed in response to requests, said Laura Adams who coordinates the team through the McDuffie County Recreation Department.
"A lot of parents have been asking for this," said Ms. Adams, who coaches an older group of competitive cheerleaders who recently placed second in The Cheersport Georgia State Championship at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
The Pee Wee cheerleading class builds on other programs, like gymnastics, offered by the McDuffie County Recreation Department.
The cheerleading program allows participants to showcase the skills they have learned in various classes in front of a group.
"Half the fun of competitive cheerleading is you get to demonstrate what you have learned," Ms. Adams said.
"For this age group, it's probably the best activity you can give a young girl or boy to build coordination and discipline," she said.
Competitive cheerleading has five important components: tumbling, dance, stunting, jumps and cheers.
The sport teaches participants to keep trying until they succeed with a goal while it also harnesses the energy so abundant with young children, Ms. Adams said.