Safety

At Varsity Spirit and Varsity All Star, the health and safety of athletes is our top priority. Varsity Spirit is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for its participants’ physical, emotional, and social development, and promoting an environment free from abuse and misconduct.

Cheerleading Safety

Varsity Spirit supports USA Cheer, the National Governing Body for Sport Cheering in the United States that serves the entire cheer community, which includes the U.S. All Star Federation (USASF) for club cheering (all star), traditional school-based cheerleading programs, and STUNT. In 1987 Varsity Spirit founded and funded the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches (AACCA) and Administrators, which created the AACCA Safety Manual, the standard of care in the industry. AACCA merged with USA Cheer in 2018. Each year, the AACCA rules committee reviews the existing safety guidelines to identify more ways to help protect the safety of cheerleaders and minimize the risk of injury. Because of this, cheerleading has seen major reduction in injuries over the last 5 years. The USASF also issues its own rules and safety guidelines, as well as coach credentialing and safety judge certification.

Athlete Safety & Protection

Varsity Spirit is focused every day on creating a culture of empowerment that encourages athletes to be educated about abuse and other difficult topics. Our mission is athlete safety, and we do not tolerate misconduct or abuse of any kind.

Varsity Spirit provides training to Varsity Spirit Instructors and Staff regarding abuse and reporting. Varsity Spirit enforces its own policies that prohibit abuse and misconduct and are designed to reduce, monitor and govern the areas where potential abuse and misconduct might occur, in addition to the policies implemented by USA Cheer and the USASF addressing certain types of abuse and misconduct. The following types of misconduct are specifically prohibited in these policies:

  • Sexual Abuse and Misconduct  
  • Physical Abuse and Misconduct  
  • Emotional Abuse and Misconduct  
  • Bullying, Threats and Harassment  
  • Hazing

In addition, these policies contain proactive athlete protection measures such as restrictions on one-on-one interactions with minor athletes, travel policies, and communications policies. Education and awareness are key to eliminating the issues outlined above. To further understand and define the different types of abuse and misconduct, and identify early signs, click here. Links to information about USA Cheer’s and USASF’s athlete protection policies can be found below.

USA Cheer:
About SafeSport
How to Report

USASF:
About SafeSport
How to Report

Varsity Spirit Instructors

Varsity Spirit is committed to creating and maintaining the safest and most secure environment possible for all participants at our camps and events. Our staff works tirelessly to ensure and safeguard the welfare of children and young people with whom they come into contact. Our goal is to prevent physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children and young people.

  • Safety Certification – Varsity Spirit Instructors are USA Cheer safety certified and educated in medical responsibilities, nutrition and hydration.  
  • Background Checks – Varsity Spirit requires all instructors to complete and pass a level 2 background check. Instructors also complete fingerprinting as required by state law and camp licensure requirements.
  • Protect the Children: Understanding, Recognizing, and Reporting the Maltreatment of Children – All employees are both committed and required to recognize and report any and all maltreatment of a child. Instructors must complete training and pass a 25 scenario-based test based off a maltreatment of children presentation.

Varsity Spirit Instructor training includes:
– How to develop safe and comfortable athletic environments for coaches and athletes
– Definitions of child abuse, bullying and hazing, and other types of misconduct
– Preventing hazing and creating positive team traditions
– How to prevent and report signs of harassment, abuse and misconduct

New in 2020: Staff COVID-19 Training/Policies – Instructors are required to complete a COVID Safety Training course where they are educated on the COVID-19 Camp Rules. Prior to camp, instructors are trained on local guidelines applicable to or mandated by the school/organization.

  • Staff will monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 listed by the CDC in its most current guidance and follow any and all applicable health and safety protocol/guidelines applicable to them.
  • Training will be provided on maintaining physical distancing and precautionary measures.
  • Should stunt/lift instruction be allowed to occur based on the reopening phase of the local government at the time of camp, this will require close proximity of the athletes and masks will be worn as dictated by the current phase order based on state and local governmental guidance.
  • Spotting/safety procedures should not be minimized due to social distancing.
  • Staff will wash/sanitize their hands upon entering the building before instruction begins.
  • Staff will supply their own wipes/tissues/hand sanitizer.
  • Staff will not touch anyone’s belongings except for their own.

Varsity Camp Administration

Varsity Spirit provides support staff to help with the following:

  • General safety and security of all participants and coaches, including enforcing Varsity Spirit’s restrictions on one-on-one interactions between instructors and minor athletes
  • Working with host site personnel to effectively use the resources provided at each camp location while complying with applicable policies and procedures
  • Completing an Emergency Action Plan based upon location and available resources
  • Confirming that the necessary registration information is completed by all coaches and athletes to safely participate in camps
  • Remaining on site and available 24 hours a day for the entire duration of assigned camps
  • Conducting nightly team checks at summer camps
  • Inspecting facilities and weather conditions to avoid potential hazards
  • Providing basic first aid assistance

Note: Number of VCA Staff depends on the size of the camp.

Coaches' Education

Varsity Spirit’s coaches’ education is powered by our partners in education – USA Cheer, the USASF, the NFHS and Varsity University. In addition to education and credentialing programs offered by USA Cheer and USASF to its members, Varsity Spirit also provides the following:

  • Coaches’ Training – At Varsity Spirit Overnight Camps, the Varsity Spirit Head Instructor will educate coaches on the latest rule changes, credentialing updates, game day trends, emergency action planning, safety updates and more.  
  • Varsity University – Varsity University, an enterprise powered by Varsity Brands, offers comprehensive educational programming to schools and all star programs worldwide. Through a combination of specialized online courses and in-person seminars, Varsity University provides the resources necessary for educators, coaches and gym owners to enhance the athlete experience. Varsity University participants can also earn professional development hours endorsed by Sterling College.

COVID-19 Information

At Varsity Spirit, the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, employees, families and friends is our top priority. We are diligently monitoring the Coronavirus/COVID-19 and closely watching official information from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as it relates to our larger community and our events, camps and competitions. We are also taking proactive, preventative measures for all of our employees. General adoption of best practices as advised by the CDC is the best way to prevent the spread of any illness. Find more information on our COVID-19 Health & Safety page.

Varsity Brands Safety Council

Varsity Brands, Varsity Spirit’s parent company, has formed a Safety Council to include outside, independent experts who will help us closely examine and evolve current athlete safety guidance—including with respect to detecting and preventing sexual misconduct against minors—while incorporating best practices.