Cheerleading camp is one of the most exciting times of the cheer season. But for new middle school squads (and parents) that have never experienced it before, it can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to prepare your squad for camp:
#1 – Prepare the cheerleaders (and parents)! Hold a camp meeting with cheerleaders and parents to go over the daily schedule and let the parents know when they are invited to attend. Prepare your cheerleaders for long hours. Encourage parents to bond as a team (just like your squad). They can wear spirit shirts and make signs for support, which can be used again during football season.
#2 – Decide on your squad’s goals for camp! Is your squad going to camp to learn new cheers, chants and dances, or are you there to win a bid to a national competition? Or maybe you just want your new cheerleaders to bond as a team? Decide with your squad, ahead of time, what the most important thing is that they want to accomplish at camp and remind them of these goals whenever their energy is lacking.
#3 – Practice a little bit of everything! Camp will be a time of major learning for your middle school team members, but a few days of practice beforehand can really help improve their confidence. Review basic motions, jumps and stunts. I also had my squad practice chanting and yelling as a team, during any transition time, just like they do at camp.
#4 – Prepare an emergency kit! Even though there should be a medic at the camp, pack a bag with extra medical supplies. Band-aids, tape, sore muscle cream, etc. can be very handy. Also include extra bows, briefs, socks, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, hair spray, rubber bands and anything else you think your squad might need (or forget) at the last minute. Pack yourself something for a headache- 8 hours of screaming cheerleaders will definitely give you one!
#5 – Focus on the Fun! Camp can be long hours for everyone and keeping your squad’s energy and enthusiasm up can be quite the task. Recognize when your squad needs a break, and give them time to be silly and take a break from the serious stuff. Keep your squad focused on the fun of camp and the success will follow! These camp experiences will be remembered for a lifetime!
~ Carrie, guest blogger