This season may look different, but staff at Pegasus are determined to make it the best one yet.
By Total Sports
When Pegasus Cheer Athletics was forced to close their doors in March of this year, their setting may have looked different, but their focus remained the same – to create a safe space for athletes and families to be themselves and continue connecting with their community.
“Since we opened in 2014, we’ve created that space for thousands of families. For many, our building represents a place for them to be themselves without judgment. It’s an opportunity for them to leave anything they are dealing with at the door. Here, they are welcomed with excitement and happiness,” says Liz Yntema, owner at Pegasus Cheer Athletics. “When we closed, a lot of families were concerned they would lose that feeling, but we were determined to keep the connection alive and thriving.”
Pegasus Cheer Athletics, Quinte’s only competitive cheerleading facility, was closed for 102 days. During their time away from the gym, they switched their in-person programming to a virtual setting. Pegasus offered team practices, warrior classes, conditioning and flexibility programming, and fun activities like scavenger hunts, yoga, and cooking and baking classes. They offered activities for everyone in the family to enjoy and stay active at home and with each other.
“We continued our programming on Zoom almost immediately to help athletes and families maintain a routine, connect with friends while physically distant, and remain active,” states Yntema. “Our staff and families were fantastic at adapting to the situation and trying to make the best experience for everyone.”
Pegasus reopened their facility on June 23 and has been running team practices, private lessons, clinics, and summer camps, all while physically distancing. Staff follow local health guidelines, such as staying 2 metres apart and wearing masks, while still helping athletes build their skills individually in preparation for the season. Teams will continue to practice without stunting, the act of working together to lift or throw someone in the air, until they are given approval from their governing body and the local health unit. While they cannot stunt right now, a large portion of the team practices focus on building the muscles and stamina needed to stunt safely and perform a two-and-a-half-minute long routine, something Pegasus has always done during the summer months. Coaches also take time in every practice and encourage athletes to connect and socialize, an aspect athletes have greatly missed and desperately need.
This season may look different, but staff at Pegasus are determined to make it the best one yet. They’ve already received positive feedback from families about the impact being back in the gym has had on athletes’ wellbeing.
“Parents found their children were not sleeping, they stopped communicating with their friends and family, and their moods were completely different. Some children even went so far as to stop eating and remained isolated in their room. When we reopened for in-person activities, parents saw a complete shift in their children. They started eating and sleeping, their moods returned to normal, and they wanted to be involved in their friendships again,” states Yntema. “It reinforced to us the importance of children being involved in recreational activities and sports.”
As they move into the fall, Pegasus is committed to continue providing programming for families in the Bay of Quinte area. Whether the competitive side of the sport manifests itself in its normal way this year or not, it’s important for children to have the connection and social aspect of being with friends. Pegasus strives to offer a safe physical outlet for athletes of all ages and abilities. From recreational classes and full-year cheerleading teams to camps, clinics, and birthday parties, everyone is welcome at their facility.
If you are interested in learning more about Pegasus Cheer Athletics and their programming, please visit