FAIRFIELD — The 10 cheerleaders from Fairfield High School participated in a two-day Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) camp.
UCA was founded in 1974 to provide high quality education, leadership and safety training for high school and college cheer teams through summer camps and clinics. An instructor from Seattle came to Fairfield for the one-on-one camp.
“I attended these camps when I cheered in college, and one of my teammates went on to be an instructor for them,” Jen Barnett, FHS cheerleading coach, said. “I believe they are the best and most demanding camps cheerleaders can attend.”
The Fairfield camp was a two-day stunt camp. “The team had the opportunity to learn advanced stunting under strict safety standards and guidelines,” Barnett said. As a coach Barnett said she knows it is important for the cheerleaders to learn how to execute each stunt correctly and safely.
Before booking the camp, Barnett asked the team to commit to working out hard this summer to be strong enough to take advantage of all this camp had to offer. “The cheerleaders have been so excited about camp that they have been in the weight room four days a week all summer to prepare,” Barnett said.
Della Lonner, a FHS teacher and former college cheerleader, coordinated a schedule for them and helped all summer offering advice, ideas and encouragement. “I am so proud of their dedication and their work ethic, and I am so thankful to Della for volunteering so much of her time to help us out,” Barnett said. Lonner was a cheerleader for the University of Montana and is a phenomenal tumbler. Barnett cheered for Montana State and was a dancer.
Barnett said those attending games can tell the girls’ cheers on the sideline and at halftime performances are tailored more toward her strength on the dance side. “I have been proud of the hard work of the cheerleaders in past years in their cheers, dances, halftime programs and tumbling. We were ready to take it to the next step,” she said.
The position flyer — the girl that goes up in the stunts — is important but a stunt wouldn’t be possible without the base — the muscle on the ground that holds the girls up, said Barnett. The bases are obviously the most integral part of the stunt, she added. “The more advanced stunting that this camp provided us will fill in the last aspect of cheer that the team needs to excel. We can take that knowledge and use it going forward for years to come,” she said.
Attending the camp were seniors Rachelle Frost and Morgan Woods, junior Mariah Paddock, sophomores Kenzie Seibel, McKell Kolste, Nikki Voeller and Rachel Gibson, and freshmen Mackenzie Rosenbaum, Mikhaela Digan and Helen Barnett.
Some of the cheerleaders took the opportunity on the last day of the camp to try out in front of the UCA instructors to be picked as a UCA All American Cheerleader. Those who are selected are invited to travel to London for one-week to perform at the New Year’s Day Parade and they can travel to New York City for a week to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Some of the girls on the Fairfield squad would like to cheer in college, said the coach. “Being exposed to these instructors from across the country will give them much more knowledge and confidence in preparation for college try outs which can be very intimidating,” Barnett said.
With school starting, the team will continue to work out weekly and the girls will practice once a week on stunting to keep the knowledge they just learned fresh. The cheerleaders will begin their season before basketball.
“We look forward to using what we learn this weekend to cheer for another great year of Eagle athletics,” Barnett said.