Monday, May 21, 2007

Bucs Pass Pom-poms to K-Bay Cheerleaders 

Posted by James at 7:03 AM ET

By Lance Cpl. Regina A. Ruisi, MCB Hawaii
Marine Corp News
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Hawaii -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders taught a clinic at the Youth Activities Center here Tuesday for the base youth cheerleaders.

More than 50 young cheerleaders from the Dance Movement Academy, the Youth Activities “Mini Bulldogs,” and the K-Bay Fighting Forces learned cheers, chants and dances from the Buccaneers Cheerleaders.

“I think this opportunity is awesome for the young cheerleaders,” said Valerie Hobbs, the Mini Bulldogs coach. “At this age they’re like sponges, and to see something on TV come to life, it’s amazing for them.”

The Buccaneers Cheerleaders are in Hawaii shooting a swimsuit calendar, and were contacted by Armed Forces Entertainment, said Dawny Foster, a Bucs representative. The team was in Hawaii with Armed Forces Entertainment once before, and was asked to run clinics for military base cheerleading squads in Hawaii.

“The clinic here is one of five camps we are doing on military bases in Hawaii,” Foster said.

“Lately, we’ve been able to do a lot more on military bases. We just recently went on a tour through Japan, Korea and Hawaii with Armed Forces Entertainment, and now we’re back in Hawaii,” said Milly Figuereo, a second year Bucs Cheerleader. “It’s really important to us to be on a Marine Corps base. The military does so much for us by allowing us to be free, and travel and do our job safely. This is our way of trying to give a little back.”

As the young cheerleaders entered the Martial Arts room of the Youth Activities center, smiles lit their excited faces as the Bucs Cheerleaders introduced themselves. Little hands shot into the air as one of the Cheerleaders asked, “Who’s excited to be here?”

When all the girls and boys had arrived, the Bucs Cheerleaders led them in stretches and got them all warmed up for the hour and a half cheer lesson.

After warm ups, the professionals taught the young athletes arm positioning movements. The students learned quickly and were soon taught three different types of jumps.

After the basics were taught, the Bucs split the young cheerleaders up into two age groups, seven and under, and eight and above. The younger group learned two chants, one cheer and one “filler,” a short dance. The older group learned two chants, two cheers and two fillers.
Milly, Bucs Cheerleader
Once the dances, chants and cheers were taught and practiced, the two groups met up again and performed the talents they just learned for on-looking parents and coaches.

“It was great of the Buccaneers cheerleaders to support the armed forces and the kids,” said Clark Abbey, the Youth Activities coordinator for the gymnastics, dance and cheer program.

Abbey said activities and competitions for K-Bay cheerleading squads have been growing in the past season.

The Youth Activities squad, the Mini Bulldogs, cheer for the youth services sports teams like flag football and basketball. The team went to the first cheer competition hosted by K-Bay this March. The Hawaii Military Youth Athletic Association sponsored an All Armed Forces Cheer program, and the Mini Bulldogs took the total competition, Abbey said.

Other K-Bay cheerleading squads have proved just as talented in the past year.

The K-Bay Fighting Force Cheerleaders, made up of athletes from ages 6 to 14, came in first in the Stars and Stripes competition, said Natalie Johnson, one of the K-Bay Fighting Force Cheerleaders coaches.
Autographed posters in hand, K-Bay’s young cheerleaders left the clinic with smiles on their faces and new talents to show their friends.

“My favorite part of teaching these clinics is the excitement of our students,” said Figuereo. “They’re so bright-eyed and ready. They’re eager to meet us. It’s amazing that with something so simple we can touch their lives.”

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