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Cheerleaders go to camp

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

Yvonne Hosaka.

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

session.

“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

taught.

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

event.

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.

In

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

Neighborhood Center.

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.

One cheer

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

supporting.

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,

Nevada.

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