It's a lot about progress.
The cheerleaders for the Wildcat Allstars — a team for the high-spirited children from the SunTrust Branch YMCA and the James P. Gills Family YMCA — not only cultivate their skills with the team but grow into better cheerleaders as the season progresses.
It's why coach Wendy Cassetta realizes her spirit squad has a wide variety.
"We have all kinds," Cassetta said. "I have cheerleaders who have started here and moved on to high school. I have cheerleaders who do both this and high school — which is a lot of work — and it just depends on what they want. They can come in at any level — they don't even need experience — and work their way up."
Cassetta and company held two tryouts to pick the 15 to 20 athletes who will make the squad. With practice starting in August, the team will compete in seven competitions starting in November. Cassetta will continue to tweak the team with another one-day tryout this month, and in July there will be a weeklong camp during which Cassetta will teach the routine they'll perform.
The team ranges from age 3 to 18 with four divisions — senior, youth, mini and tiny tot — based more on skill, in which their talent will be assessed along the way.
"We want them to be challenged," Cassetta said. "We're not going to put them with people who already know this and that. It's so they can progress and feel better about themselves and build some confidence. There are ones that come out and pick up things quick. Some just progress faster than others."
And cheering at this age — that is before they head to their local high school — isn't just for the girls. Cassetta notes that plenty of boys are interested too.
"Boys won't necessarily understand cheerleading, but they end up being the better tumblers," Cassetta said. "I can teach them back flips all day long because they naturally don't have that fear they're going to get hurt or they're tougher, as well. They'll amaze you sometimes."
For more on Wildcats cheerleading, call Cassetta at (727) 844-0332.