Kid Stuff

They Got Spirit, Yes They Do

new group getting young kids involved in cheer

Emily Anderson, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

These days, cheerleaders aren’t just the people who stand on the sidelines and root for athletes. They are athletes. Cheerleading has become a competitive sport that requires strength, coordination, flexibility, and teamwork. Chippewa Valley Spirit All-Stars is a new youth program that aims to instill these necessary skills at an earlier age. Tara Krista, who created the program, has been involved with cheerleading her whole life, from high school to now, as the at Chippewa Falls High School. She decided to start this program as a solution to her problems developing a strong cheerleading program at the high school level. She realized that many successful cheer teams throughout the state had feeder programs for youth, just as other sports do. Chippewa Valley Spirit has two teams and six volunteer coaches. The Tiny Team is for ages 5 and under and the Mini Team is for ages 6 to 8. They will be adding a team for ages 9 to 11 for the next season. Each season is comprised of two, four-month sessions. The first is a cheer session in which participants learn the basics of the sport. The second is a competition/performing session where youth learn a routine to perform at various competitions and area high school sporting events. Teams practice twice a week where kids learn cheers, jumps, stunts, tumbling, and dancing. The program also teaches kids valuable life skills such as following directions, working as a team, confidence, and fun ways to get exercise. “The goal of this program is to provide youth with a quality all-star cheerleading program without the all-star price,” Krista said. Each session costs the participant $80. This and monies received from fundraising and sponsors are used to by poms, equipment, and uniforms. Any and all proceeds are put directly back into the program to further its funding. The teams have a Friends and Family performance on February 26 at 3pm and will be competing in Sun Prairie on March 4 for their last performance of the season.