By Leila Dycus staff writer

It’s the week many of Morgan County’s littlest cheerleaders have been dreaming of- their chance to learn from their role models. “I hope that they see that it does take work but they can all be cheerleaders too one day,” said senior cheerleader Katherine Rittenhouse. Kiddie camp has come to Morgan County High School this week, July 21 through the 25.

The elementary aged girls come to camp from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day. This year’s theme is Hawaiian luau. Each year the coaches come together and try to decide on the theme. They then base the camp tee shirt and dance and crafts around the theme. The idea is to come up with something that the little girls will like. This year the coaches also decided to change up how the camp was run. The days are broken down into six centers- dance, chants, cheers, snack, rec, and crafts. The junior varsity cheerleaders lead the different grade levels of girls around to the centers that are led by the varsity squad. “We have to come up with a song that’s relative to the theme,” said senior cheerleader Destinee Wilson. “Then we have to come up with a cute little dance that kind of puts them into that theme.” All the grade levels are taught the same dance that will be performed at numerous different performances. At the chant station the girls are taught different sideline chants, which are shorter than the longer cheers. “We take our cheers that we do on Friday nights during football games and modify them where the younger girls can do them,” said Rittenhouse. At the cheer station the girls are taught one cheer that all the age groups will learn. However, this year the girls are also taught a different cheer based on their grade level. The other stations are less about cheerleading and focus on engaging the children. Crafts are done based on the theme. On Monday the girls made flower necklaces and bracelets. Rec station is a group game such as keeping the beach ball up in the air. At the end of the day the girls come together as a group to show what they’ve learned. On the last day of camp the girls have the chance to perform for their parents. Head cheerleading coach Denise Frost said that the parent performance is always a highlight because parents will come in and the kids will do everything as group and then each age group will stand up and do something special that they have learn in their group time. Many of the little girls that come to the kid’s camp have been coming for years.

This year the numbers are down because the group of fifth graders that have been coming for years have moved on and tried out for the middle school team. Wilson said that her favorite part of camp is at the beginning of the week when we teach everything and then seeing them at the end of the week knowing that I taught them that. Kids camp is a chance for the youth in Morgan County to come and learn from their role models. “I try to stress with the high school girls the importance of interacting with the girls, talking to the girls, trying to keep them engaged,” said Frost. Frost stresses the importance of being examples for the younger girls.

The youth sees the girls in their uniforms at camp and then remember them. When they see the older girls out and about they watch how they act. “They are school ambassadors whereever they go and whatever they do,” said Frost. The children that participate in camp will have a number of opportunities in the coming months to cheer along side their role models. On August 2 the kids will be invited to cheer with the high school team at the back to school rally. There will also be a football game where the kids perform during the pregame show. “I hope that they have fun, I hope that they learn some cheers and chants they can do with us on Friday nights at football games,” said Frost.