Education

Published on July 20th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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For District Five cheer teams, ‘Little Girls Cheer’ clinics are tradition and show of community appreciation

Campers at Dutch Fork High School’s Little Girls Cheer Clinic perform for parents and community members 

IRMO – Cheers, chants, dances and stunts were on full display as hundreds of girls and volunteers participated in cheer camps at Lexington-Richland School District Five high schools this summer.

Cheer camps and clinics at Chapin, Dutch Fork and Irmo high schools were started more than a decade ago as a way of teaching early cheer skills to girls, fundraising for the teams and showing appreciation for community support. District Five schools earned two state cheerleading championships last school year: Chapin High School won the 2014 3A state championship, while Dutch Fork earned the 4A title. Chapin High School held its annual cheer camp June 22-25, while Dutch Fork held its annual event July 13-16. Irmo High School, which finished in the top 15 last year, will hold their Little Girls Cheer Clinic July 20-23.

At Dutch Fork High School, the reigning 4A state champions hosted a “Wild West” themed camp to teach the basics of cheerleading to more than 160 camp participants. This year’s event included live music, mascots – even an opportunity to take a picture with a few horses.

Silver Fox head cheer coach Katie Nunnery said the annual event would not be possible without the support of the community. “We receive so much support from the community for the camp and throughout the year, from the volunteers that help organize our events to the decorations for our annual camp themes,” she said. “This is our way to give back, hold a clinic for little girls in our area and say thank you for all that our business partners and volunteers do to make our team successful.”

Chapin High School held a patriotism-themed camp for nearly 180 girls, many aspiring to be cheerleaders. Lessons there and at other camps included chants, cheers and dances; but for volunteers and clinic-goers alike the events are all about fun, said Eagles head cheer coach Vicki Williams.

“It’s really a tradition in our community and something we look forward to all year,” said Williams, whose team solidified itself as the record holder for most cheer titles with Chapin’s tenth championship in November. “For our team, it’s a positive thing that we can do to involve the community and promote the sport of cheerleading in a really positive way.  It’s also a lot of fun to see our volunteers and team members interact with the campers that participate, some that have been coming since they were small.”

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, a member of the South Carolina State Guard, took pictures with Chapin High School camp participants on June 23. Dressed in military uniform, he said the camp’s theme highlighted the importance of patriotism.

“It’s a great camp,” said Lott, whose daughter has attended the Chapin Cheer Camp in years prior. “They teach a lot of great things, not just cheering but also about the importance of those that have served.”

Irmo High School’s cheer clinic will culminate with a performance on July 23. This year’s Yellow Jackets clinic for girls four and up will include games, cheer skills, crafts and more, said head coach Lisa Boulware.

“Cheer camps are about tradition and community support,” she said. “It gives the girls something to aspire to and an idea of what they’ll have to do if they want to cheer at the top level…It all starts right here. Many of these little girls become big girls who go on to cheer for their high school.”

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