A way of giving back

Loudon High School cheerleaders lead kids in a dance Monday during their annual Kiddie Camp.

Music and cheers filled the hallways and gymnasium of Loudon High School on Monday as cheerleaders of all ages participated in the first day of Kiddie Camp.

The weeklong camp has become an annual tradition for many local cheerleaders.

“A lot of these girls, I think most of my girls, went to Kiddie Camp,” Amber Stewart, LHS cheer coach, said. “It’s just neat for them to be a kid at the Kiddie Camp and be a cheerleader at the Kiddie Camp. It’s just a good way for our kids to reach out to the community, just teach future Redskins stuff about cheerleading and get them interested in cheerleading at a young age.”

Members of the LHS cheerleading team are assigned different age groups and help teach younger kids cheers and dances, followed by a final performance for parents Friday.

“They learn a dance, a cheer, they tumble, they stunt and they do a craft,” Stewart said. “Everything they learn, they’ll perform in front of their parents. Each age group has a different theme. So like one is Sing and they each learn a different cheer, dance and does a different craft.”

Kensley MacKintosh and Delaney Ingram went through Kiddie Camp growing up and are helping lead the camp for a final time as seniors.

“We make up cheers and dances,” MacKintosh said. “It’s really fun to see how they can progress from the first day to the last day. It’s a very good tradition here and it’s always so fun to come here and take care of little girls all day.”

“It’s good for the older girls that will be coming to high school in a few years to learn,” Ingram added. “They learn how we work, motions and can kind of fix those before they come and actually tryout.”

Senior Jilian Degnan has helped with Kiddie Camp over the last four years and has enjoyed encouraging younger girls to find a passion for the sport.

“It just makes me feel really good and feels like I’m really helping the next generation of cheerleaders,” Degnan said. “I try to get them into it so that they’ll like it and enjoy it when they get here. It gives them a place where they can fit in.”