COLUMBIA CITY — There are few sports that require as much physical skills as cheerleading. Cheerleaders must be able to jump, lift, do back flips and dance all in one routine. And it all must be done with great enthusiasm.
At the Columbia City High School Cheer Camp, participants will get to learn all of those skills along with many more.
The cheer camp is at Columbia City High School July 23-26. The camp is from 6-8 p.m. and is open to girls from 3 years old up to sixth grade. The cost of the camp is $40 and the application can be found on the high school website.
The camp has become a tradition among young girls. Every year, up to 140 girls participate in the camp. Columbia City head cheer coach Melanie Curry organizes the camp every year and the high school cheer leaders are the ones who lead the camp and teach the skills to the girls who attend.
Campers learn motions, technical skills, a cheer, stunts, jumps and a dance routine they perform for the parents on the last night of the camp. The camp also features games for everyone to participate in every day.
“They learn a lot in just four days,” said Curry. “And we couldn’t do it without our high school cheerleaders.”
Curry allows the high school cheer team to take charge of the camp. The high school girls plan the routines and the daily activities. Curry says that helps build the relationships between the older cheer leaders and the campers.
“It’s not just about drilling,” said Curry. “It’s about building relationships, they (the younger campers) look up to them.”
Because the camp has been in existence for a number of years, Curry said they are seeing a big difference in the cheerleaders once they get to the middle and high school levels. Girls who attend the cheer camp start building on the fundamentals of cheerleading at a young age and are able to build on those skills every year and continue to improve.
Girls who attend the camp also receive a T-shirt. Then, at halftime of the first home football game, the campers go on to the track with the varsity cheerleaders and perform a routine.