Many well-run organizations will tell you the key to their success is communication. Keeping your cheerleaders, parents and administration informed is very important. You can’t always rely on your cheerleaders to go home and tell their parents what was discussed at practice. They get sidetracked and tend to forget. Parents always appreciate knowing in advance where they need to get their child. Many of the parents have multiple kids and need to know what taxi stops to make. Your administration likes to know in advance what to expect in regards to where you will, be or have been. They also would like to hear about your accomplishments before they read about them in the paper.
There is a multitude of ways to communicate with your cheerleaders. I use three. Our school requires our students to carry a planner (school provided). It has a calendar for the month and a daily organizer. Each Monday we sit down as a group and update our planner. I try to make sure that all events are current up to two weeks out.
The second form of communication with my cheerleaders and parents is a monthly calendar. I send it home with the team and email it to all parents. It includes practice dates and times, games, fundraisers, and community service. I also include which clothes and uniforms I want them to wear. Being the hyper-organized person that I am, each type of event is color coded. I include all Varsity and JV events on it to encourage both teams to support each other as well as their required events.
Lastly, I use text messages. At least 24 hours before a major event I send out a team reminder with any details I don’t want them to forget; especially if the event falls on a Monday! Many times the kids forget their planner at school over the weekend. Yes, you could argue that the kids need to be responsible, but depending on the importance of the event, I can’t take chances.
Another great form of communication is a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter. It can include upcoming events that you want to make sure that parents and administration take note of. You can add pictures and a quick write up of any recent events that you want to make sure are acknowledged. If you recognize a cheerleader of the week or any outstanding moments, you can add them as well. Print any notes or comments from the community that place your team in a positive light. The newsletter is sent to all cheerleaders, parents and administration.
I try to make contact with my cheer parents at least once a month to let them know how their child is doing. I call, email or talk to them in person if I see them at a game or event. Parents love to hear about their kids. I try to email any pictures I have of individual team members so that the parents can see their child in action.
In the case of your program, more information is better. Don’t leave them hanging and wondering what is going on with the team or their child. The more informed a parent is the more opportunity they have to get involved with events. Cheerleaders spend so much time supporting others; it is nice for them to get support in return!
If you would like to see examples of newsletters, I can forward you some or you can check out the Oak Harbor Cheer site for amazing samples.