By Pam Dudding
Most every cheerleader truly enjoys learning the “new” in their profession, from youth to college. This year, Craig County brought college trainers in for their middle and high school cheerleaders to learn from.
Starting on Wednesday, June 1 through June 3, the cheerleaders were taught new cheers, chants, dances, and stunts with safety.
Two young ladies from UCA, The Universal Cheerleaders Association, came from North Carolina and South Carolina for a three-day camp. Kemari Sims has been a UCA staff for two years and just finished a camp at Richlands. Tythaha Robinson shared that this is her first year and first camp. Both were very professional and great at their cheers and stunts.
Cheerleading coach Jessie Gills shared, “I don’t believe camp has been held since 2012, yet this is a great opportunity for our girls.”
She added that she has more than doubled the number of girls this year to cheer and they have had the same material to use for years. COVID had an impact on the number of girls that participated. “I did this when I cheered here and loved the experience,” Gills said. “This is something the school did years ago, and it is a good team building experience. I wanted these girls to be able to experience it also and to learn and to be able to do more.”
The cheerleaders were all dressed in their new camp gear. The girls learned quickly that they were at “camp,” and it was a lot of work, but spirits were high, and they were so excited to learn. Attention was intense as each watched the instructors, trying to mimic the new moves. When asked, both middle and high school girls most all agreed that their favorite time was learning the new stunts.
“These are all new as the stunts we did before we didn’t lift high like we will be doing now,” they shared. “We like the dancing, too!”
“I think it will help them to have a more successful season and more confidence in their cheering,” Gills noted. “They are so motivated! They are asking about new jumps and things. These college girls can give them what I cannot, and I have seen a difference in their confidence and motivation already, as well as team building.”
Gills was happy that her rising sixth graders are getting this experience at such a young age as well. “It is really key for them to feel comfortable during the season to have this,” she added.
Last year, the girls had no uniforms. Gills said they were able to run fund-raisers to get 11 uniforms. However, this year she is in the same situation and needs 13 more uniforms.
“We are doing a Scentsy fundraiser, we have a kayak that we are raffling that was donated by Ethan and Holly Brown, we are working the derby this weekend and we are having the vendor fair,” Gills said.
Also, the football team and the cheerleaders are splitting the concessions, the parking fees and the 50/50 drawing to help raise funds at the derby. “We are trying to do more fundraising together, helping each other out as we are both in the same spot,” she added.
Also, they are planning a vendor fair at the Craig County Fairgrounds on June 18 to support the middle and high school cheerleaders, Rockets Cheer. The raffle drawing for the kayak will be this day also.
Vendors or yard sale spaces are available. A 12 x 12 space is $25. Setup will be from 8 – 9am. The Vendor fair will be 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (rain date is June 25). To reserve a space, contact the School Board office at (540) 864-5191 or Jessie Gills at (540) 864-5191 (home) or her cell (540) 598-9844 or email her at [email protected]. Already over 30 vendors have signed up, so they are inviting more people to reserve a space and the entire community to come support their day.