KEKAHA – Multi-hued uniforms punctuated the grass on the lawn of the Kekaha
Neighborhood Center as squads representing three of Kaua`i’s high schools and
six of Kaua`i’s Pop Warner football regions stretched and prepared for a 3-day
cheer camp that would be led by Heather Soper-Wilson, owner of The Cheer Camp
in Reno, Nevada.
About 100 cheerleaders from as far away as the Northshore
made their way out to Kekaha for the event that was coordinated locally by
Nicki Waialeale, Head Coach for the Kapa`a High School
Varsity and Junior Varsity cheerleaders, said she was happy with the choice of
location because it would allow the girls to concentrate on what was being
presented instead of being distracted by visits from boyfriends, or having to
drive off to do errands.
The Kapa`a squad arrived in a Polynesian Adventure
Tours mini-bus that would pick them up at the end of Friday night’s opening
“We could’ve camped out here,” Waialeale said. “But, we’ll be back
for the three days.”
The Lihu`e Pop Warner Association had parent
volunteers drive the girls out and watched from the shade of the lanai as their
pepsters went through the various stretching exercises, helped by the Cheer
Camp staff including Kyle Pappas of Reno, Nevada, Roger Hayes, and Susanne Sims
of Dallas, Texas.
“This is more (attendance) than last year,” one mother
commented as the group converged at the base of the hula mound to listen to
instructions being presented by Soper-Wilson. In the shade of a Rubber Tree
plant, Kekaha Pop Warner official Edmund Acoba manned the sound system that
would provide the music for the various routines that would be
Yvonne Hosaka, organizer for the event, said the experience would
help the squads, especially the Pop Warner cheerleaders, prepare for the annual
Pop Warner Cheer Competition that will be taking place on October 22 at the
Waimea High School Gym.
The winners of that competition would become
eligible to compete at the national competition in Orlando, Florida later in
the year. Last year, the Kekaha and Lihu`e squads attended the Florida
Hosaka, a Kekaha resident, was also pleased with the location of
this year’s camp because she didn’t have to worry about forgetting to bring
anything. Last year when the camp was held at the Lydgate Park Main Pavilion,
if there was something she forgot, she had to go out and buy it.
addition to learning how to stretch and prepare for an event, the cheerleaders
would also learn new routines that would be presented during a special Parents’
Night segment of the camp scheduled for Sunday afternoon at the Kekaha
Advisors for the Pop Warner cheer squads filled in the
last row of effervescent pepsters and could be seen working the routines
alongside their squad members.
The Waimea High School cheerleaders,
arriving home from a cheer camp in Kona recently were the focus of attention
prior to the start of instruction as they demonstrated one of the numbers they
worked on during their off-island sojourn.
With the sanctioning of
cheerleading as a sport by the Hawai`i High School Athletic Association (HHSAA)
earlier this summer, there is a lot of interest on the part of cheer squad
leaders in preparation for what will be coming out during the school year in
terms of parameters for competition and standards of performance that will
hopefully lead to an eventual state title.
Advisors for the Kaua`i schools
are taking a “wait-and-see” posture on how to guide their squads.
squad leader noted that in the competitive environment, sometimes the squad
will forgo their “normal” routines to concentrate on their “competitive”
routines which hurts the programs they’re supposed to be
Cheerleading can also be an aid to further a student’s
education as one Waimea High School cheerleader and two Kapa`a High School
cheerleaders qualified for scholarships to the University of Hawai`i at Hilo
for the Fall semester, Waialeale pointed out.
But, for the moment, the
attention was riveted to the hula mound and the new energy that was being
injected into the cheer programs locally by the professionals from Reno,