Pop Warner cheer team prepares for second “Globals” with Valentine’s fundraiser

Jan 21, 2024

For the second year in a row, Dartmouth Youth Football League cheerleaders are headed to Globals, the Youth Cheer and Dance Alliance’s annual competition in Atlantic City on Feb. 24 and 25. 

“It’s a huge competition — there are teams from all different states that go there,” said team assistant coordinator Katie Nicholson. 

The competition and others like it are part of a push from the Dartmouth Youth Football League to make Pop Warner cheerleading in Dartmouth a year-round activity, instead of restricted to the fall football season. 

The current academic year has been a big one for the team: the “Junior Varsity” team won first place in their category at the Rhode Island Southeastern Massachusetts Pop Warner competition, setting a record for the team’s highest score ever at 93.5. 

“That’s never happened for us, I don’t think we’ve ever even gotten over a 90,” Nicholson said. “We all cried when they got that, I’m so proud of them.”

Meanwhile, Dartmouth’s “Tiny Mite” team for girls 5 to 7 qualified for the national competition in Florida after a first place finish in the regional competition. 

Both the “Junior Pee Wee” and Junior Varsity teams will make their way to New Jersey at the end of February for the Globals competition. 

The girls are pushing extra hard this year, Nicholson said, as they want to improve upon their 3rd place globals finish from last year. 

This will be 13-year-old Addyson St. Laurent’s first time at the competition, which she said she’s “really excited” for. 

“It makes me feel like we’re good enough to go,” St. Laurent said. 

St. Laurent has been part of the program for 8 years. Over that time, she’s seen the program grow bigger and the teams become more skilled, she said. 

By contrast, 12-year-old Paityn Dion-Zahara joined up for the first time this year, but she loves “just being able to hang out” with her teammates and go to competitions. 

Dion-Zahara has no idea what to expect from Globals, but she’s “excited” nonetheless. 

Though the team doesn’t charge for participation in its winter season, traveling for the competition is a serious investment, Nicholson said. To “offset the cost for families,” the cheerleaders will participate in their second “Red Rose Event of 300 Roses” for fundraising. 

On Feb. 9 and 10, cheerleaders will head out to participating local restaurants to sell roses and treats for Valentine’s Day. Locations include Antonio’s, Cask and Pig, Brazilian Grill, Knuckle Heads, Inner Bay Cafe, Alianca, Fathoms Bar and Grill, Fay’s, Wonder Bowl and 99 Restaurants. 

“Really good local restaurants that just want to help the girls,” Nicholson said. 

The team is still looking for sponsors for the rose event, which entails a business card in the rose bag, and overall sponsors to appear on banners or T-shirts at the competition. 

“We really just want to give back,” Nicholson said. “A lot of our girls love cheerleading — cheerleading is really expensive.”