IMPERIAL – The Imperial Youth Football and Cheer (IYFC) hosted a cheer camp for girls Saturday at Imperial High School in Imperial.
Cheer coordinator Kyleen Lopez said IYFC hosted a youth cheer camp to teach girls, grades K-8, to learn new skills and experience the team bonding among cheerleaders. She said a total of 67 girls represented aspiring cheerleaders from Imperial, Indio and Shadow Hills.
The training was divided into four team divisions: cubs, mighty mites, junior peewee, and peewee. This was subdivided further into age groups of Division 8 (seven-year-olds and under), Division 10 (9 and under), Division 12 (12 and under), and Division 14 (13 and under).
Arita Riddle was the head coach for the junior pewee. Throughout her four years of high school, she was a cheer leader under the tutelage of Coach Lopez. For this camp, Riddle was recruited by Lopez.
Riddle, animated, and showing excitement, talked about the skills and techniques she will be teaching. The talents include cheers, stunts and dances. “I would like them to be confident with their skills so that we can take them out to the field and have fun for a good year.”
According to Riddle, the cheer camp training was from 8:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. At 2:45 p.m., the cheer campers would have the opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned and perform in front of their parents.
One of the maneuvers Riddle described was the half stunt. The half stunt involves having the smallest or lightest cheerleader, called the flyer, raised high by three other cheerleaders, called the basers. The flyer’s feet is lifted only up to the basers chest level. If the feet are lifted above the heads of the basers, it is called a full stunt. Riddle said, “You have to have a lot of faith in your basers if you’re a flyer.”
According to Riddle there is satisfaction in teaching the young girls. “It’s fun to see them come to life. Their eyes light up and then get excited about it. And they really love cheerleading .The little ones are so cute: watching and learning, then to come back and remember what we taught them.”
Jerry Apodaca, IYFC vice president, said this is our first year with the American League Football that is based in Indio. “We’re basically we’re here to teach the kids proper techniques of cheer and safety.”