Yes, it starts early. Even at Rec. Dept. cheerleading they do homecoming. There is money to be raised and trophies and crowns to be won. We did not raise money b/c honestly there are lots more things in the world to raise money for than the rec. dept. that charged us $150.00 just to let her cheer. But we did pay the minimum fee and let her participate. Some kids walked with little boys and some with their dads. She wanted to walk with her dad!