sports equal…a growth mindset

Sports Equals a Growth Mindset: Cascade Elite Cheer

The athletes that participate in programs offered by Cascade Elite Cheer learn more than how to tumble and perform stunts. “Our mission is to make sure the kids understand the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, and we look for opportunities to cultivate a growth mindset in our training,” says Carrie Anderson, the Director of the organization. “I also expect the kids in my program to develop into kind and confident community leaders. We often perform publicly in our communities, and I expect them to set an example and treat people with kindness and respect.”

Her cheer programs, started in 2017, have grown to include several communities in Washington State and Carrie hopes that people will start to understand more about the sport itself. “It’s so much more than what most folks think it is. I want people to know how hard these kids are working in the gym. Cheer requires a great amount of teamwork and we work constantly on team-building and sportsmanship.” Carrie says that the kids build confidence, too, from performing in front of crowds. “We teach the kids to look the audience in the eye and that takes confidence!”

As her programs have grown, so too has her outreach. “We have mostly white and Latinx kids participating right now, and I am making efforts to reach more youth of color.” Carrie also recognized that cheer can be a safe place for boys who aren’t comfortable with traditional sports and hopes to see more boys join her program this year. Cheer can be a challenging sport for kids from low-income families to participate in. “It’s one of the most expensive sports due to the uniforms, and we do offer scholarships but not all families are able to afford it even with that scholarship.” Carrie estimates that only 1 in 4 families who inquired about scholarships continued with enrollment.

“It’s so much more than what most folks think it is.”

However, with additional support from the Every Kid Sports Pass, she says that has changed and more kids are able to participate. “Now we are able to supplement the Pass and be more intentional with our scholarships, and help those kids that still need a little extra to cover the fees.” To date, Every Kid Sports has approved over 50 scholarships for kids in Cascade Elite Cheer programs. Since COVID, Carrie has had to make some changes to the program and knows that even more families will struggle to keep their kids in the program. She just applied for a $10,000 CARES Act grant and feels like things are moving in a positive direction. “We have had to rent our own space because we can’t practice in schools. Having our own gym is very exciting! But it means we need to add more classes to bring in funds to pay rent.”

Our thoughts go out to all the leagues and youth sports organizations that have been impacted by COVID, and all the kids out there who miss practicing with their friends and teammates. We hope everyone gets back to play, soon, and wishes Carrie the best of luck with her new programming!

– The Every Kid Sports Team

To learn more about Cascade Elite Cheer, visit www.cascadeelitecheer.org, or visit their Instagram page: @cascadeelitecheer