BLADENBORO — Well before summer thinks about turning into fall, the West Bladen High School cheerleading team sets aside a week from practice and preparation for football season to teach girls between the ages of 3 and 13 the basics of cheerleading and team bonding in hopes that they will be inspired to get involved with their school’s cheerleading programs in the future.
The Knights Mini Cheer Camp, in previous years, has seen as many as 110 campers and is only expected to continue to grow over the next few seasons.
The camp is run by Coach Mary Todd and her cheerleading team.
“We do this camp each year to help support our finicial needs and to help make future cheerleaders,” said Todd.
Sydney Jackson, a junior on the cheer team said, “I think it is important for young girls to attend cheer camp because it is good to start them with a sport such as cheerleading while they are young so they can grow into it and love it.”
Not only is the mini camp important to the campers, but it is also has positive meaning to others as well.
“The impact that teaching at the mini cheer camp has had on me is something that I will always value,” Jackson said. “Before teaching at the camp I never imagined the possibility of becoming a cheer coach one day, but now that is something that I really think I would enjoy in the future. It is just such a great feeling to know that I am making a difference in these little girls lives and they want to one day be like me and follow in my footsteps.”
At the camp, campers work on various skills like stunting and dancing and the cheerleading team works hard to prepare great routines for the girls to show off at Parent Day and the football game.
Sheila Nance a parent of two mini campers said, “West Bladen Cheer Camp is an exciting part of my girls’ summer vacation. My 12-year-old daughter has attended ever since it began several years ago, and my 4-year-old will be attending for the second time this year.
“They are always so excited to see their friends, and have fun while learning some of their favorite cheers,” she added. “The cheers and instruction are geared toward each age group, and the cheerleaders do an excellent job teaching and encouraging the campers.”
Taylor Hilburn, a second-year camper from Dublin Primary, agreed saying that she liked to attend the camp to prepare her for middle- and high-school tryouts.
“Going to the camp is helping me learn to be a good cheerleader, I love learning to stunt and cheer with all my friends and getting to do kartwheels with the cheerleaders is really cool,” she said.
Todd said, “We are always recieving feedback from former campers saying, ‘I made the school cheer team because of your camp’ and it is such a great feeling to know that we are making an impact on these girls.”
A big event that Knight football fans look forward to each year is the game the mini campers get to preform at.
Nance said, “It is worth all the work when the mini cheerleaders get to accompany the high school cheerleaders at the home football game. The stands are always packed, and the mini cheerleaders always wow the crowd with their talent. The mini camp is an excellent way to make future cheerleaders out of today’s cutest sports fans.”
This year’s Knights Mini Cheerleading Camp will be held from June 27-30 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. Parent Day will be on June 30 and campers can leave after the performance.
The cost of camp is $50, which includes light refreshments every afternoon and a T-shirt.
Campers will cheer at one home football game and the date will be announced at the camp.
Applications can be picked up in the main office or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and she will send you one.
Anyone with questions can e-mail Mary Todd or call West Bladen High School.
Madison McLamb can be reached at 910-862-4163