Archive for Thursday, September 8, 2005

Future cheerleaders

Afterschool camp ends with halftime performance

September 8, 2005

The students providing halftime entertainment Friday at Frank Graham Field were smaller than the football players, and their act was less polished than the band. Still, they made the best of their five minutes in the limelight.

The 80 entertainers were girls in kindergarten through sixth grade who showed off skills they had learned earlier in the week from a cheer and dance camp taught by Lansing High School cheerleaders and members of the Lionettes dance team.

The girls demonstrated four cheers, such as "Touchdown" and "Go Lions," and performed a dance to "Greased Lightnin'." The dance was choreographed by sophomore Lionettes.

Fifth-grader Amber Higley said she joined the camp this year because she had liked it in past years. Her favorite part of this year's performance was "the dance. That was so fun," she said.

Ilani Mann, a second-grader, said performing on the field was "scary," but it was her third year attending the camp, and she said she would attend again.

Amber said performing on the field helped her to gain confidence. She said she learned at camp "what it's like to be yourself."

"Believe in yourself; don't be nervous" when it's time to perform, she said.

Video

More than 80 girls in kindergarten through sixth grade showed off cheers during halftime at Friday's football game. Enlarge video

The dance camp is staged twice a year, once during football season and once during basketball season. Melissa Cappel, LHS health and physical education teacher and cheerleaders sponsor, said she saw many benefits of the camp for the girls who attended. There are no school-related athletics for students younger than seventh grade, she said, so the camp gives the girls an opportunity to work as a team.

In addition, Cappel said the camp was a good recruiting tool for both the cheer and dance squads. Many girls who attend the camp end up on one of the teams; nine of the 17 cheerleaders this year had attended the camp when they were younger, Cappel said.

The camp is the biggest fund-raiser for the cheerleaders and Lionettes, who split the money in half, Cappel said. Both teams use the funds earned to pay entry fees at competitions.

The cheerleaders will participate in one competition this year, Cappel said. The Lionettes will compete at two events this winter, sponsor Rhonda Lang said.

Video

Girls who attended at camp with Lansing High School cheerleaders and Lionettes performed a dance to "Greased Lightnin'" on Friday. Enlarge video

Both squads probably earned more this year than in previous years, Cappel said, since the 80 participants this year made up a larger group than in the past.

Cost for the camp was $25, which included a meal for each day of the three-day camp, a snack at Friday's game and a T-shirt, which the girls wore Friday.

Cappel attributed the increase to a change in the camp's structure - camp sessions were right after school instead of in the evening, and participants were fed.

Cappel said she would know how much the groups made once she deducted the cost of the T-shirts.

Though the format proved highly successful, Cappel said she didn't know if it would be the same for the winter season cam. It all depends on gym availability, she said.

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