West Fargo High School was filled with the sounds of cheers, chants and screams this past Saturday. The roar was not from the usual high school students or an exhilarating basketball game or wrestling dual, but from over 50 girls - first through sixth grade - participating in the annual Packer Cheer Camp.
The four-time state cheerleading champions spent three hours teaching children a few cheers, sideline chants, a dance and jumps that will be performed during half-time at Friday’s boys’ basketball game at West Fargo High School.
“It’s a way we try to encourage the younger girls to participate in cheerleading,” Michelle Bates, parent president of the West Fargo cheer team said. “We’re trying to promote future cheerleaders.”
The cheerleaders normally put on one camp a year, but this year two camps were offered — one camp in the fall during football and one now. About 150 children benefited from these two camps.
“It seems like it’s been growing more and more,” Varsity cheerleader Eliza Strouse said. “It shows them if they’re into cheerleading or not.”
The cheer team also performed for the youngsters during the camp. One could see the excitement and nervousness on the faces of the girls as they watched the cheerleaders perform stunts and tumbling. Each maneuver was rewarded by applause and cheer and the sound of tiny voices yelling “do it again.”
The camp brings in a little bit of money to help the cheerleaders earn money to travel to competitions, like the National Cheer Competition they will be attending this year in Florida on February 8 and 9, but for the most part they do it to give back to the community.
“I love kids to begin with. They’re a ton of fun,” Strouse said. “They really enjoy this, I can see that. I can see we have upcoming cheerleaders.”
The cheer team also gives back to the community by participating in Night to Unite, Literacy night at the Kindergarten Center, Pink Out for the Cure with the Susan G. Komen foundation, and making blankets for the Sanford Children’s Hospital.
“We try to be involved as much as we can,” Bates said.