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Hannah Pederson, Reporter
This year’s annual Raiders Cheer Camp hosted by the Pierce College Raiders cheer squad brought kids from ages 5 to 15 together for a day dedicated to the basics of cheer and teamwork.
The camp took place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 in the Health Education Center at the Fort Steilacoom campus. After a day of learning, the campers showed off their new or refined skills during the halftime show at the women’s basketball game that night.
The camp was organized by the college’s head cheer coach Katelin Grothe, and co-run with assistant coach Fernando Ruiz, who was assisted by the squad’s cheer captains Brittany Leggett and Cady Dean.
Thirty-one campers participated, most of whom were between 8 and 10 years old and had previous experience with cheer through local teams, Leggett said.
This is the first year that the cheer camp has been condensed into one day; typically, it’s spread out over three. Grothe attributes this change to making the camp convenient for parents.
Previously, the camp lasted about three hours in the evening from Wednesday through Friday. This made it difficult for working parents to drop off and pick up their children. Some were also apprehensive about the camp taking place on school nights.
This is Leggett’s second year volunteering with the camp, and she’s been a member of the cheer squad for two years.
Leggett began cheer when she was about 5 years old after her older sister convinced her to try it.
Leggett, Dean and another team member divided the basics of cheer into three sections: cheer, dance and stunting. Each of them taught one of these areas. The three leaders were each assigned four squad members to help provide a more interactive one-on-one experience.
This camp is one of the squad’s fundraisers, so it was important to Grothe that every squad member be involved.
“It really is a team effort to make camp run flawlessly and to make sure the kids are getting the best and most fun experience,” Grothe said.
Most campers come back every year, Leggett said.
“We love to see them come, and we love coming,” Leggett said. “They never want to leave, and I think that’s honestly what keeps them coming back.”
Most of the campers are from the Tacoma area, but Leggett would love to see the Puyallup cheer community represented in the camp in upcoming years.
“It’s a great camp for anyone, from beginners to people who have experience,” Leggett said. “It’s just a way for Pierce Cheer to connect with the community to let them know that we’re here and to get them involved.” [/responsivevoice]
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