South Tahoe Pop Warner Football and Cheer operates under a 501C3 exempt status as a non profit organization. However, players are required to sell hundreds of dollars worth of tickets in order to play and those who cannot play are kicked out of the program. The tickets are $10.00 each and the athletes are required to sell the prizes persey. This year, there were no prizes secured as leaders in the program demanded the tickets be sold in order to remain in this program. Children were benched and actually removed from the program for not selling their quota. Children were essentially engaging in fraud since there were no confirmed prizes. The prizes were not established whatsoever UNTIL it was questioned a week before the prize drawing. Which is more than 4 months after the tickets were distributed with the prizes listed. Some parents who simply wanted their kids to play without having to sell these pricey tickets opted to pay the full dollar amount which was $420. [continued below]....
When monies are collected in full, this effects the non profit status and now the program is operating as a business. As a business, certain things are expected when paying for a service or instruction. If the business fails to provide reasonable expectations then they need to agree upon a course of action that satisfies the paying customer. However, regardless of it being a non profit organization or a business, abuse in any form on children should not be tolerated. Reports of abuse should be immediately investigated, determined and there should be consequence. Especially when there is specific evidence provided.
Pop Warner has specific guidelines regarding practice hours of it's athletes. The purpose of this is to ensure safety first. Practice days during school days cannot exceed 3 days per week and cannot exceed 2 hours per day for a total of 6 hours per 7 day week. South Tahoe Pop Warner Cheer Officials failed to teach a half time/cheer competition until mid October for a scheduled competition on November 3, 2012. The cheerleaders had been asking numerous times if they could learn the routine that was already established months prior. Heather Flynn (cheer coach) would not answer their requests nor teach the routine. When she finally decided to do so, she began mid October and then rushed to teach it. With time a critical issue, Heather Flynn, Stephanie Hannah and Denise McCarthy conducted illegal practices that exceeded 2 hours daily. They held practices in private vacation homes that Heather managed yet did not own. They held practices in Denises house. All of which is a violation in Pop Warner. They changed the routine daily which was confusing and stressful on the cheerleaders. One cheerleader strained leg muscles and became very sick due extreme exhaustion due to the stressful practice regime. Efforts to contact the cheer officials to remedy the problem failed. The cheerleader, inspite of her reported pain and exhaustion made it to competition which was held in Sparks Nevada. She was an hour late. She arrived at 9:35 am and was scheduled to perform at 11:50 am but actually performed at 12:20 pm. When she arrived the cheerleaders were sitting on the bleachers and continued to sit on the bleachers for another 2.5 hours. However, because the cheer officials and coach were angry at the parent for taking issues with their illegal practices, the cheerleader was berated, and verbally abused when she arrived by coach Heather Flynn. Coach Heather told the cheerleader that she was "terrible, and horrible". She refused to listen to the cheerleader when the 11 year old tried to explain that they had car problems and had gotten lost. She took the cheerleader into the gym and continued to berate and publicly humiliate the cheerleader in front of her peers and other competing squads. She forced the cheerleader to apologize to each and every other cheerleader where the other cheerleaders joined in on the berating. At no time did anyone ask the parent why she was late. At no time, did anyone try to communicate during this. The two cheer officials Stephanie Hannah and Denise McCarthy witnessed and continued to allow coach Heather to verbally and emotionally abuse the cheerleader. At the same time, another cheerleader was also late but nothing was ever said or done to that girl which shows that the women were acting out of spite.
The cheerleader was so emotionally distraught over this, that she quit the squad after completing the competition. To retaliate the cheer officials sent derogatory, and defaming emails out to parents regarding the cheerleader and her parent. They closed off practices to parents and manipulated the cheerleaders into feeling sorry for them. In turn the cheerleaders acted out in school and immediately began to bully the child relentlessly. A girl who had quit the squad months prior had told the cheerleader she was fat and ugly, and called her viscious names. Later her verbal abuse became physical. Efforts to curb this retaliation only angered the cheer officials and Pop Warner Officials. The parent tried to convey how out of control this had become and eventually had to turn to the Sagebrush Empire for help...to no avail. The parents then contacted the National Pop Warner, and again, she received no response to her claims of abuse and mistreatment. Months later, no effort on behalf of anyone in the entire Pop Warner organization has made any attempt to rectify the situation. The parents had to file criminal police reports in an attempt to get the other cheerleasers to stop harassing and bullying their daughter.
At the end of the season each player is entitled to their pictures, their trophy and other earned items. The cheerleader participated in the competition and should have received a t-shirt and ribbon as well as a trophy and her pictures. The parents have asked various officials including the current President, Vice President and Sagebrush for these items and nobody will provide the items. Items the parents paid for in full when they paid $420.00 for their daughter to participate in the program. They then asked for a refund and that has not been paid either.
The parents also withdrew their daughter from public school and have enrolled her in a private school because the physical and verbal abuse has not ended.