EL CENTRO – Cheerleading is never far from the side of major sports, and some Imperial Valley children learned the ins and outs of this sport thanks to Firestorm Gym’s first two week long, co-ed cheer camp held in June.
The first week, campers learned the basics of cheerleading from coaches Brandon Smith and Aubrey Young including basic techniques, tumbling, and routines. By the second week, students were combining all of these skills into routines. They were put through some of the rigorous training that competitive cheerleading teams often go through with discipline and teamwork.
Some campers had no knowledge of how to do a basic tumble at the beginning of camp, according to Smith and Young. However, they were able to pick up the techniques quickly and performed with no problem.
“A lot of them had a lot of fun, some of the shy ones who didn’t really talk much are starting to come out of their shell,” said Smith. “It’s been a good two weeks with these kids.”
Other than learning cheer routines, the children also played games meant to build teamwork, made crafts like the t-shirts they wore for their final performance, and had bonding time with each other over the course of the camp.
On Friday, the class was split into two teams, Team Blue Diamonds and Team Red Hots, to have a friendly competition and show off the skills they have learned over the course of two weeks. Both teams performed routines choreographed by the coaches and poured all of their heart into them.
“I didn’t really think it was going to be fun, because I didn’t know anybody here, but by the first day I knew everybody,” said Kelsey Jernegan who had never done competitive cheer before. “They’re like my second family now.”
“I feel everyone at the camp got out of their comfort zone at least once,” said Allison Bumbera, the oldest girl in the camp this year.
“And they’re happy,” said Young. “I’ve had parents come up to me saying ‘They love it! They haven’t stopped talking about it!'”
Smith stated that the gym hopes to enroll even more students next year when they host it again.
Firestorm Gym will also host a gymnastics camp July 11 to July 22.