All-Star Comp Creeps

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Apr 14, 2017
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Sorry for all these posts, but I just have a question: how big is the creep factor at large comps?

I just convinced my friend to enter her young daughter into AS cheer. She’s into it, but has been reading up on the culture and asked me about this issue recently. I told her it wasn’t exactly like traffickers were kidnapping girls off the street by knifepoint, but that it was an issue and that girls are told to proactively protect themselves.

But then it occurred to me: I really don’t know for sure. It wasn’t an issue when I was active and all we really had to deal with was men taking photos of us without permission. But cheer has grown into such a large industry now and I’m not sure if this issue has grown with it. All I know is that Cheersport has a bit of an issue because it’s in Atlanta. So how big of a problem is it? I want to give my friend accurate info.
 

quitthedrama

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In all of our years of all star cheer, we have had only one issue. It was handled swiftly by the EP and USASF. Parent responsibility is important. Any time you let your kid wander around without supervision in an unfamiliar area you increase the risk of something happening. This applies anywhere, not just cheer.
The upside of exorbitant admission rates is even most perverts won't want to spend the money to go in to a competition (kidding but not really!)
 
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In all of our years of all star cheer, we have had only one issue. It was handled swiftly but the EP and USASF. Parent responsibility is important. Any time you let your kid wander around without supervision in an unfamiliar area you increase the risk of something happening. This applies anywhere, not just cheer.
The upside of exorbitant admission rates is even most perverts won't want to spend the money to go in to a competition (kidding but not really!)

I’ve told her that I tell the girls to travel together in groups and that if they need something and can’t find anyone to go with them, I will get whatever they need myself (whether it’s Starbucks, earplugs, water bottles, whatever).

I also tell them not to talk to strangers, no matter how ingratiating or flattering they may seem. I’ve seen it ALL: “Oh my young kid wants to get into cheer can I get your info to put her in touch with you?” Or: “Oh you’d make a great model can I get your info?” (Which happened to me when I was an awkward 13 y/o with bad posture, vestigial baby fat, and a resting b***h face that made a modeling career laughable).

And then inevitably the girls will ask, “But what if they REALLY ARE a modeling scout?” To which I say, “Tell them to talk to me first and I’ll put them in touch with your parents. If they’re legit, they shouldn’t mind.”

I’ve told them not to worry about being rude because any normal self-aware adult shouldn’t have much to talk about with a random teenager. So far we haven’t had any significant incidents outside of creepers staring at them a bit too long and sometimes making rude comments, but they’re used to that because they’re teenage girls and often targeted by people who think they’re owed the right to objectify girls because they had the gall to walk outside.
 
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I propose that the risk of young athletes being harmed is less at big comps like Cheersport, and more through coaches, athletic trainers etc that have access to kids they know (Larry Nassar comes to mind). This isn't a cheer thing; it's a risk any parent should be aware of whether their child is a cheerleader, hockey player, in the band, or on the debate team.

Here in Canada a few situations have come to light recently that highlight this risk, including the one involving a former coach of the national ski team: Three victims of ex-ski coach Bertrand Charest suing Alpine Canada | CTV News

And just yesterday a high-profile politician revealed that he had been molested as a boy by his taekwondo coach: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child | Globalnews.ca
 

oncecoolcoachnowmom

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^^^Yes. Greatest risk to participants as far as abuse is really STAFF moreso than random creep.

Basic precautions:

1. Communicate with your kid. If they're saying they do not feel comfortable, listen. Kids snd staff should be visible at all times in the gym. As in, not "Hey tinies, let's go practice in that obscure back storage area out of view of the cameras."

2. Even if they're taking a private, the instructor and kid should be visible at all times.

3. Trust your gut. Ex: If a coach is saying "Hey how about you drop Suzie off at my house and we can practice alone?" and you have a weird feeling about it, there is a reason. Because kids and adults need not meet alone for any reason.

4. Watch out for grooming behavior. A predator is not going to make an attempt to abuse your child the first practice. Weird stuff like picking up and always having to carry around and touch your kid (sorry! I know some staff are very touchy but I am not a fan and do not find it to be appropriate for a coach/athlete relationship), giving your kid treats/bows/ special stuff that other kids do not get. Extra attention. Always trying to be alone with them. You get the idea.
 
Apr 14, 2017
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^^^Yes. Greatest risk to participants as far as abuse is really STAFF moreso than random creep.

Basic precautions:

1. Communicate with your kid. If they're saying they do not feel comfortable, listen. Kids snd staff should be visible at all times in the gym. As in, not "Hey tinies, let's go practice in that obscure back storage area out of view of the cameras."

2. Even if they're taking a private, the instructor and kid should be visible at all times.

3. Trust your gut. Ex: If a coach is saying "Hey how about you drop Suzie off at my house and we can practice alone?" and you have a weird feeling about it, there is a reason. Because kids and adults need not meet alone for any reason.

4. Watch out for grooming behavior. A predator is not going to make an attempt to abuse your child the first practice. Weird stuff like picking up and always having to carry around and touch your kid (sorry! I know some staff are very touchy but I am not a fan and do not find it to be appropriate for a coach/athlete relationship), giving your kid treats/bows/ special stuff that other kids do not get. Extra attention. Always trying to be alone with them. You get the idea.

Yes I’ve recommended her to a great gym that isn’t exactly the powerhouse it used to be, but was the one I went to growing up and that I know does things professionally and courteously. Tumbling lessons are done in the corner of room while other group practices are being held. The bathroom is unisex but basically just one small room designed for a singe person at a time and the entrance is ten feet away from the mat in plain view. The locker room (which is for storage, not for changing) has no door. Parents are encouraged to watch practices from a balcony. The door to the gym proper is glass. And the male coaches don’t even touch the girls unless they absolutely have to for professional or safety reasons. No high fives, no hair rustling... nothing that could be construed or misinterpreted. Very transparent, very professional. I have no doubt she’ll be happy there.
 

catlady

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Youngest physic's tutor (article) is now in prison serving 10 years (she wasn't one of his victims), but on the surface he was incredibly kind, soft spoken, offered his cell number if she needed help in front of me, and I would have denied this man was creepy at all. I always drove even though she was old enough and waited in the parking lot, even though I actually trusted this guy. We tend to be leery of the creeps that stare a little too long, but we often overlook the people that interact with them all the time. Trust no one.
 
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