Future cheerleaders to shine at KHS games

Story and photo by Christine June USAG Kaiserslautern

More than 80 future cheerleaders will perform a half-time show Jan. 23 during basketball games at the Kaiserslautern High School Gymnasium.

These cheerleaders are graduates of the 2009 KHS Mini Cheer Camp held Saturday at the school’s gym. Their performance will be between the junior varsity and varsity basketball games against the Bitburg Barons.

“I like cheerleading, and this camp is really fun,” said Lexie Berrett, 10, a Kaiserslautern Elementary School fifth grader, on why she wanted to attend the camp again.

During the six-hour camp, students, ages 5 to 13, learned cheerleading fundamentals such as cheers, chants, dance and team spirit.

“You can look on the campers’ faces – even though they’re tired – they’re enjoying themselves,” said Debra Hipes, KHS head cheer coach, who said that the number of children participating this year is the largest they’ve had.

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 six stations. Here, the KHS varsity and JV cheerleaders taught their admirers jumps and movements, cheer and chant, dance, stunts and gymnastics.
“The girls play games, have fun and learn what we hope is going to be a nice routine for a half-time show,” Ms. Hipes said.

Once the rotation was complete, campers went back to their base groups to review the routines and add the “bells and whistles” that they learned during the stations. Parents were able to see the half-time routines at the end of the camp. Jacob and Dailonna Dozier hung around while their 5-year-old daughter, Kristen, rotated through the stations.

“It’s just so exciting to watch her doing this – jumping and cheering,” Mr. Dozier said. “This is my first opportunity to watch her participating in something like this, and it’s a lot of fun for me.”

A former high school cheerleader, Mrs. Dozier said she is OK with her daughter following in her footsteps, except for one thing.

“The teamwork and camaraderie is great, but the (short) skirts – didn’t bother me when I was cheerleading, but now that I’m older and thinking about my daughter as a cheerleader, I would like to see them go to sweat pants,” she said, laughing at the irony of what she’s saying.

Michael Sileo also stayed behind all morning taking pictures of his future cheerleader, Valeria, 5.
“It’s a lot of fun for her – interacting with the other children and the cheerleaders,” he said. “It’s so much fun for me to watch her, and the fact she’s learning a few things too – that’s always good even at 5 years old – an opportunity I don’t think we had when we were younger.”

What these parents are saying is one of the reasons that the school has organized this camp every year since 1994.

“It’s an opportunity for the Kaiserslautern cheerleaders to give back to the comunity,” said Ms. Hipes, who said the camp price has been constant every year.
Another reason for the camp is to raise money for uniforms and equipment for the cheerleading squads, Ms. Hipes said.