Children ‘Go Bananas’ for cheer camp

Christine June, Story and photos
415th Base Support Battalion

***image1***For more than two weeks, parents have been practicing and watching their children “Go Bananas” and doing cheerleading routines learned at the 10th Annual Kaiserslautern American High School Mini Cheer Camp.

This year’s camp was held Nov. 20 at the KAHS gym and taught more than 75 boys and girls, ages 5 to 13, cheerleading fundamentals such as cheers, chants, dance and team spirit.

“The camp has been a success every year,” said Jane Varalli, KAHS varsity cheer coach, and Family and Consumer Science and Health teacher. “It gives the students the opportunity to learn a new skill and to see if they like this as a sport. It also gives the parents an opportunity to interact with their children because we are hoping that they will practice the routines with them at home.”

***image2***Practice is important because the camp’s students will perform these routines at the first basketball games of the year starting at 4 p.m. today at the KAHS gym where the Kaiserslautern Raiders varsity and junior varsity basketball teams will play against the Hanau Panthers.

The new cheerleaders will show off what they learned during the one-day camp between the 5:30 and 7 p.m. games.

“Jeanette and her friend were really excited. It’s all they could talk about for months,” said Renee Y. Kulick, mother of Jeanette, a Kaiserslautern American Elementary School second-grader, who attended the camp last year. “They always have fun, and they really look up to the cheerleaders because that’s what they want to be.”

At the camp, the future cheerleaders were separated by age into five base groups where they learned a basic routine. Adding to the routine, students rotated through five stations. The KAHS varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders taught their admirers jumps and motions, cheer and chant, dance, stunts and gymnastics.

***image3***“What I usually like is doing the cheer and chant because it wakes me up,” said Jeanette M. Kulick, 7. “I like the cheerleaders because they are great.”

Once the rotation was complete, students went back to their base group to review the routine and add the “bells and whistles” they learned during the five cheerleading stations.

To show what they learned, students performed their routine for their parents at the end of the six-hour camp. This is also the routine they will perform at tonight’s basketball games.

The KAHS varsity and JV cheerleaders host the camp every year to earn money for uniforms, year-end awards and scholarships. This year, the camp raised almost $800.