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CheerCore Collingwood (Posted On: Sunday, August 09, 2009)

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CheerCore Collingwood All-Star Cheerleading.  Each Tuesday night, Pretty River Academy’s gymnasium opens up its doors for another fun-filled activity. CheerCore Collingwood, which trains students over the summertime in the sport of cheerleading, is open to students aged 8 to 18. It was founded by Samantha Thomas: a fourth-year student at York University.

She is getting her Honours Degree in English, with a minor in history, and is considering high school teaching in the future. She began cheerleading in Grade 11 and has been honing her skills ever since.

When asked why she decided to start the group, she stated: “This was started to properly teach cheerleading and to bring All-Star cheerleading to Collingwood”. She also stated that her cheerleading would continue on with no end in sight.

The camp as stated before, teaches kids how to properly do cheerleading. It’s not like the movies where cheerleaders with pom-pons get the crowd moving with a repetitive cheer. This class is not for the faint-hearted; dedication and an iron will are a must. The primary focus is to teach the skills, as well as develop athletic and competitive attitudes to both cheerleading and other endeavours, and to allow their students to walk away at the end of it with a renewed sense of satisfaction and confidence.

Two common stunts that are often performed by the group are the Double Base Full, and the Lib. The former involves two bases (people on the ground) holding up their team’s flyer. The flyer is then tossed up, spins 360°, and is caught by the bases. The Lib is when the flyer has their hands stretched above the head, standing on their right leg, bringing up the left leg with the toes pointed down toward the knee. During training, this is practised on the ground, but when it comes to demonstrate this skill, it is done while being held up by the bases.

The typical lesson proceeds like this:
• Warm-up (Run and/or active stretching)
• Warm-up stretch
• Tumbling (Working to perfection on basic skills: Somersaults, cartwheels, back  handsprings, etc.)
• Stunting (Class is separated into their assigned stunt groups and work to perfection to perform their respective stunts)
• Conditioning
• Cool-down

To confirm this, class member Jess Ross, a soon-to-be Grade 12 student of Pretty River Academy, was interviewed about her experiences with the class. She has been training for three years, and said that the class was much more intense and organized than what one would expect to find during the school year. Like Sam, she recommends that people need to be ready for an intensive workout, but will also have a lot of fun and will make new friends along the way. She also made it clear that cheerleading is good for both boys and girls alike and that no previous training is necessary. Athletes of all ages and sizes are required to run a fully functioning team. She described her own team as if it were another family and said she truly enjoyed the group. “The group is willing to do so much; everyone keeps a positive attitude and feels proud at the end of the day”.
Also interviewed were Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, the parents of two of the students in the course as well. Their children, Mackenzie and Kennedy, first heard about the group by word of mouth while at school, and after finding videos online of the nature of the program, both kids were immediately smitten with the idea of joining the group for training. Both parents and their cheerleaders have experienced complete satisfaction from their time so far with the CheerCore and Mrs. Thompson has stated that both children practise all the time while they are at home.

Preparations to start a junior team are underway, and the regular school year team requires even more dedication and practise is MANDATORY. There are little to no exceptions to this rule.
The program is located at Pretty River Academy inside of the gymnasium and is held every Tuesday from 6:00 pm to 8:30 PM. If you would like more information, you can check out the team’s website at

Written by Timothy Wong


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