AMHERST, N.S. – Phoenix Cheer and Tumbling Club is a new, non-profit cheerleading club in Amherst.
The group is running a recreation program now until June, when the next competitive season starts.
The rec program is for all ages and experience levels and focuses on learning and perfecting different skills like stunting, tumbling, jumping and dancing.
Cheerleading has so many aspects, so there's something for everyone.
It's not like other sports where a certain body type or skill set is required. Cheerleading needs a variety of athletes with various abilities in order to put together a full routine.
For the Phoenix Cheer and Tumbling Club’s rec program, it is using a punch card system, which allows members to come to practices when it's convenient for them. The group wants to make cheerleading accessible for busy families. Punch cards are available for purchase at every practice. They cost $60 for six practices. Walk-ins who want to try it can do so for $15, and if you want to come back, that money will go towards your card.
Practices are being held at Cumberland North Academy on Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m. and there is an excited group of coaches ready to share their passion for cheer.
Allison Bernardi has been involved with cheer for 15 years.
"I coach to help kids realize their full potential and to learn to be proud of the hard work they put into anything they take on," she said.
Brittney McManaman has been involved with cheer for 10 years.
"I coach because I want to use my passion for cheer to invest in the youth and teens of our community and to set an example for kids to empower them to be leaders both now and in their future," McManaman said.
Kendra Gordon has been involved in cheer for six years.
Gordon said, "I coach to help give kids a chance to enjoy cheerleading as much as I did growing up. Coaching gives me the opportunity to help kids see the strength and courage they can have when putting time and effort into something they love and have a passion for."
Chantzlyn Logan has been involved in cheer for 10 years.
"I coach to share my love of cheerleading and to show what dedication and team work can do," Logan said.
Haley Smith, who has been involved in cheer for 11 years, said she coaches to teach kids that the best friendships can be made in a team environment and competitive sports should be fun, while Jessica Kinnear, who also has 11 years experience, coaches to show athletes they are stronger than they realize is possible when they work together.
Morgan Milner has cheered for four years while in school and is excited to get into coaching.
"I coach because there is no feeling like working with kids to achieve a goal, and seeing the joy they get when they realize just what amazing things they are capable of. I want to make them feel unstoppable."