Achievements to date
In 2009 two local coaches (gymnastics and dance) applied for funding to deliver a cheerleading course as part of the Kent Sportivate scheme. This led to the creation of a small team of 12 enthusiastic girls (age 9-13) forming the Vista Twisters cheer team. They competed for the very first time in the BCA Southern Championships at Crystal Palace, achieving a creditable 7th place out of ten teams in the Junior Level 1 section.
Nine years on, in 2018, there are 10 competing squads with 200 athletes taking part in a weekly programme. The youngest participants are 3 yrs old and there are adults now competing and coaching who formed part of the original team of 2009.
Cheerleading originated in the United States with an estimated 1.5 million participants in all-star cheerleading in the USA alone. The sport is growing fast in other parts of the world and it is estimated that there are now over 80 countries taking part including Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The UK has seen huge growth and can now boast over 300 individual clubs.
Cheer is a very physical team sport incorporating gymnastics, tumbling, jumps, stunting and dance. The sport combines fitness, strength, timing and artistic performance in choreographed routines up to 3 minutes long. Cheerleading is now a recognised sport in its own right in the UK and no longer considered an extension of any other sport (i.e. Gymnastics). The Vista Twisters have grown to be one of the largest cheer clubs in the country with numerous national and regional titles. The Senior Elite Level 5 Team represented the UK in the European Championships in Prague in 2017 and achieved a Bronze medal up against 22 other nations.
An army of volunteers run the club. Some 500 adults and supporters travel to events throughout the UK every year. The impact of the club on the athletes, their families and the general community is huge. Children all over the East Kent aspire to being a Twister and we have earned the respect of governing bodies, event organisers and other clubs as we have grown.
The club has been fundraising for four years to facilitate a move from hired training facilities, in a local leisure Centre, to an independent building. This would enable the club to deliver a larger programme increasing membership to over 400 athletes. Support from the Kent Trust for Youth Sport takes us a step closer to achieving our dream.
Since 2008, £142,469 has been awarded to individuals and organisations.