If your team has the opportunity to attend a summer cheer camp, maximize your time and registration fees by taking the time to properly prepare for camp. Often, people simply show up for camp; sometimes they gain from the experience, and on other occasions they will not. To ensure that your camp experience is a successful one, implement the following suggestions.
- Be selective about what camp you choose. Don’t be afraid or hesitant to ask lots of questions about what the camp will specifically entail. This is especially important if you are using the same camp company for multiple years. Will there be new material taught? How much of the information will be from previous years? Furthermore, it is important that the camp meet the needs of your team. For instance, if your team is a non-stunting team, it is a waste of time to send your team to a camp that will spend a third of the day on stunting. In the end, it is simply important to know what your camp entails and if that matches the needs of your team.
- Take time to prep your team. If you know your team will throughout the season be using choreography taught at camp, be sure that your team has a basic grasp on motions and dance technique so that each member is able to learn and retain the choreography. Additionally, it is a good rule of thumb to bring along a camera that has video capabilities. This will allow you to record any material that you plan on using in the future in case memories begin to wane.
- Get your team excited about camp. Pump them up to participate in all of the activities. When a team sees that their coach is excited about the opportunity, they will typically follow in suit.
- Prepare accordingly. Oftentimes, cheer camps will entail long hours and various conditioning sessions. Make sure that you are in shape and in the condition to handle the various physical and mental demands of camp.
- Eat and Sleep. These seem like silly suggestions, but in the midst of all of the camp excitement, cheerleaders are often tempted to stay up late bonding and chit-chatting and often trade out lunch times for extra practice or team time. These are major no-nos. It is important to eat properly and to get a good amount of sleep to be at your best during the instruction times. Many camps are held outdoors, and exhaustion can quickly set in with the summer sun beating down on you all day.
- Soak it all in. You will learn a plethora of new skills and information at camp. Don’t be afraid to do whatever you need to do to remember the material being taught. If that requires you to jot down words to chants or cheers, take the time to do so. There is nothing worse than learning great material and not being able to remember it.
- Enjoy yourself. Cheer camp is the perfect place to have fun, get to know your teammates, bond, and improve on your cheer skills. Although cheer camp can sometimes be a competitive environment, it is important to never lose sight of the fun! Go all-in on the spirit days. You will find these types of events will be the most memorable.