Rugby cheerleaders attend CheerHawaii USA, learn new stunts
Rugby High School cheerleaders Shailah Strand, Allyson Kleespie and Corina Bell enjoyed a week of cheering at the 16th annual CheerHawaii USA Summer Invitational.
Held June 22-29 on the University of Hawaii Campus, CheerHawaii Invitational provides College prep cheer instruction, focusing on building cheer skills and preparing for the college level, growth in leadership, and experiencing the Hawaiian culture.
Each day, the girls practiced cheers, dances, stunts and more for 3-4 hours during the morning hours. The unique experience of CheerHawaii USA allowed for them to sight see during the afternoons, when the girls were able to visit some of Hawaii’s beaches, shop at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, and ride on the Waikiki Trolley, among other tourist activities.
In the evenings, the camp provided more instruction and practice, as well as hang- out sessions for those attending.
While learning new routines and cheers was a huge part of the camp, the girls also enjoyed spending time with the other cheerleaders and getting to know them.
“We learned how to work with different people that we don’t know. [The camp] really helped with social skills because we met a lot of new people. Everyone was so excited about being there,” Strand said, adding that she still keeps in touch with her camp roommate, who lives in Louisiana.
“It prepared us for college because won’t know our teammates,” Kleespie added, explaining that the camp’s coaches often talked with them about what to expect in college level cheering.
Strand, Kleespie and Bell all plan to pursue cheering in college, and CheerHawaii USA gave them a glimpse of what it would be like.
“I want to cheer in college, and I felt like [this camp] would be the best place to get a feel for it,” Bell said. “I had to work with new coaches and different people, like I would in college, and I had to stay in a dorm.”
Strand and Kleespie explained how they learned new stunts, taught by cheerleaders from Penn State, that they had never tried before while at CheerHawaii, including a 360 inversion. Bell added that she learned what she called a ‘star’ stunt. All three girls gained experience in flying, which is something they have never done before.
“We got to fly, which is not normal [for us],” Kleespie said. “We’re usually the ones that lift the girls up, so I was really scared. We pretty much don’t have the option to fly [in Rugby] because we need people on the ground, but the camp switched us up.”
Bell was also scared while learning to fly, saying, “They just throw you on these dudes, it’s scary. I thought I was up there for 10 minutes, but I watched a video of the footage later and it was only 30 seconds.”
Throughout the week, cheerleaders who attended the camp were split into nine teams. Strand and Bell were together on one team, while Kleespie was put onto another team.
At the end of the week, each team performed a routine during the camp’s showcase. “We didn’t compete against each other, it was just a showing of what we learned,” Bell explained.
“Everyone was so nice, and everyone loved cheerleading just as much as you do, so no one was making fun of you,” Kleespie said.
The girls would like to say thank you to all of the businesses and community members who helped them get to CheerHawaii USA.
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