Cheerleader crossing, slow traffic ahead
The traffic slows and hearts race on Eighth Street along Collins Gym about two or three weeks each summer as cheerleaders come to Baker University for their annual camps.
The Baldwin High School cheer and pom squads do not attend the camps in town as participants, but they have served as instructors for the Kansas Youth Cheer Camp. The camp is run by former Kansas University spirit squad adviser Elaine Brady and is held for both high school and junior high age groups.
In years past, the Baldwin squads have helped as instructors. With smaller numbers this year the whole squad was not needed and BHS graduates Kendra Knight and Andrea Irick were asked to be instructors for the 24 junior high cheerleaders.
"It is exhilarating to see the leadership skills they display at such a young age," said Knight. "It is always enjoyable because of how much fun they seem to have."
In the junior high camp, the girls came in from nine in the morning to four in the afternoon for two days to learn new cheers and techniques and to also improve on the cheers they already know. All of the girls are judged on the cheers and chants that they bring with them to the camp, as well as their performances during the two days. It gives them an opportunity for some competition, but it is more just to have fun.
"We hand out blue and red ribbons," said Knight. "One says outstanding and the other says excellent. I guess the girls can tell a difference for which one is better."
"One of the squads I coached last year got mad when I gave them a red ribbon," said Irick, who has helped with the camps for five years. "I guess they thought that red wasn't as good and that I didn't like them."
Evidently, the counselors get just as much out of it as the campers.
"It is fun to see all their energy," said Irick. "Since we no longer cheer, it lets us continue something we love to do."