Every season comes to end… What better way to close one season and start another? Cheer Banquets are often some of the most memorable parts of being a part of a cheer squad. Typically, planning such an event falls on the shoulders of coaches and parents. However, to make it easier, Spirit Accessories has made a list of ways to plan a fun, stress-free, and cost-efficient celebration!
- BANQUET Committee. Many hands make light work! By forming a banquet committee, the responsibility of planning the banquet does not fall on one person. Each committee member can be assigned certain responsibilities by the Committee Chair. Different committee members might have jobs like planning decorations, booking the venue, sending invitations, shopping for team gifts, etc. Typically a banquet committee would be comprised of team parents or other adults closely associated with the team.
- DEFINE the Vision. Before your banquet committee does anything, you must ask your define your vision for the banquet (this includes the budget). Knowing the personality of your team will help you decide whether you want the banquet to be casual or formal. If your finances are low, it does not hurt to ask for a small fee from banquet attendees to offset the costs. If it is more comfortable for you, another method of offsetting costs is charging only family and friends that attend the banquet but not the actual athletes. Put together an agenda of the banquet so you know what tasks must be completed to make it happen. Make a program with the order of how you are going to present the banquet. Are you going to have speakers or team members that give speeches? Are you going to show a slideshow? When are you going to recognize the team and give awards? Having a banquet program will make planning easier and also help your attendees know what’s going on.
- DECORATIONS. After you define your vision and have a group of dedicated committee members, come up with a theme. Themes may reflect the overall season accomplishments or just be fun and exciting. Here are some fun examples: Passport to Victory (Design your venue to represent various international locations. You can decorate the venue with suitcases and other items representative of travel), Red Carpet Event (Bring Hollywood to your banquet. A red carpet entrance leading up to a stop for photo ops will wow your team members), Party Like a Rock Star (Give your team the chance to party as their last act together), or School Colors (You can never go wrong with the traditional school and team colors for your theme. Fill the room with team colors).Other decoration ideas include gathering pictures from throughout the season to make pic collages on bulletin boards. Another idea is to decorate the room with trophies and banners won from throughout the season.
- FOOD. Decided between having food catered and ordering pizza is all about the budget your banquet has. Pot-lucks are incredibly popular among many teams. Each age division can be responsible for bringing a particular item (Ex: Freshmen- Appetizers, Sophomores- Desserts, Juniors- Drinks, Seniors- Tableware).
- COMMUNICATION. Communication with your guests is incredibly important. For a successful banquet, your guests should have proper invitations and a list of expectations if you require certain attire or items to be brought. For example, if part of your plan is to host a pot luck, make a sign up list. Including everyone in the planning process will not only make things easier, but also excite your guests! You can still keep surprises, but allow others to assist to generate a greater pool of creative ideas!
- DURATION. The athletes want to enjoy the event and to be recognized. But be careful! You don’t want the banquet to be too lengthy! Usually 2-3 hours is just the right amount of time to eat, give awards, and get through speeches.
- RECOGNITION. Recognition is the most memorable part of the entire cheer banquet. This is the time to pass out team gifts; consider giving something memorable that will forever remind the athletes of the season. Spirit Accessories has everything from pictures frames, water bottles, and more to make the perfect cheer gift! Don’t forget certain gifts for special awards (MVP, Most Improved, etc.), the seniors, and coaches too!
- VIDEO. Have a skilled parent, cheerleader, or team manager put together a video of photos and videos of season highlights. The video can be serious, funny, or both! Be sure to include some great music in the background.
- WRAP UP! Don’t forget to thank everyone. It is important to thank the parents, cheerleaders, coaches, staff, and volunteers who made your cheerleading season special.