Southeast Hosts Over 1,000 Students for Cheerleading, Dance Camps


Photo of students participating in cheerleading camp at Southeast Missouri State University

This is the second week of summer cheerleading camps at Southeast.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 21, 2009 — Stunts, cheers, tumbles, dances, jumps, yells, and most of all spirit combine this week to form the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) performance, mascot, platinum, junior high and dance sections of camps at Southeast Missouri State University.

Two sessions are being held this week with the first running through July 23 and the second scheduled for July 24-26.

This is the second week of summer cheerleading camps at Southeast. The current session has 314 cheerleaders enrolled.  In June, 65 dancers and 400 cheerleaders were at Southeast for a National Dance Alliance (NDA) camp at the River Campus and an NCA camp at the Show Me Center.  The different sections of NCA/NDA camps allow every skill level to participate and to grow as a team. 

“We not only want to teach them about cheerleading, but also life skills,” said Tara Duffy, head instructor for the NCA camp.

Carrie Nichols, state director for NCA, said, “The goal of the camp would be for cheerleaders to learn about safety and gain new cheerleading skills, techniques and styles.” 

During the camps, dancers and cheerleaders learn a variety of dances, cheers and techniques. 

Dianne Goldmann, camp manager for NCA, said, “Safety is an important issue at all NCA camp sections and levels.”

Also, each squad or team is assigned to an NCA or NDA staff member for the entire camp to gain individual attention.

The NCA camp is broken into segments for cheers, chants, jumps, stunts, technique, safety, tumbling and practice time. The NDA camp was similar, but focused on different types of dance, such as style, jazz and hip-hop. 

According to Melissa Cross, head instructor for the NDA camp, “We teach the girls a variety of routines that will set them up for the upcoming year.”

Both camps include technique sessions that take place as a group and individually, based on the athlete’s skill level.

“NCA camps teach cheerleaders proper technique and how to grow as a team,” said Nichols. 

The camps focus heavily on teamwork and leadership within squads, and between others.

“My favorite part of camp is having the squads come in and work together among themselves and with different and diverse people,” Duffy said.

 “I love seeing the enthusiasm and school spirit of all the squads,” said Goldmann. “The cheerleaders are so excited to be at camp.”

The camps also reward the cheerleaders or dancers who show exceptional skill in a particular portion of their sport.  Throughout the camp, the NDA and NCA staff members nominate athletes for the All-American program.  Nominations take place for different categories, including tumbling, stunts, motions, dance, leadership and jumps.  On the last day of camp, the nominees for All-American try out to become an All-American cheerleader and have the opportunity to participate in special events throughout the United States.

After the squads leave camp, some will go on to compete at the regional and state level, and others will take back their new knowledge and use it at athletic events and rallies at their school. 

The camps address many aspects of cheerleading and dancing.  NCA and NDA strive to promote skills, which are not only beneficial in their sport, but also throughout life.

“I come here to teach them proper technique and not only how to work hard, but how to also carry those skills over and become a community leader,” said Duffy.  

“NCA camps teach cheerleaders how to become good team members, role models, and excellent leaders,” Goldmann said. 

Lawrence Herkimer founded NCA in 1948. NDA became a separate organization in 1976.  The organization started with one camp and now hosts 1,200 camps that involve 80,000 cheerleaders and dancers each year. Herkimer was also responsible for creating the spirit stick and pom pons.  Their philosophy is based on cheerleading/dance being a mainstream, All-American, athletic student leadership activity that should enhance and support school spirit, community involvement and sportsmanship, while building strong role models.