UWM Set To Host Nation's Largest Cheerleading Camp
Aug. 1, 2001
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will again play host to the Universal Cheerleaders Association College Spirit Camp Aug. 8-11, and the event will be part of the preparation for Panther cheerleaders leading up to the 2001-2002 sports season.
The camp, the largest in the country, involves some of the top cheerleading squads in the nation - including Kentucky, Nebraska, Alabama, and UWM.
The opening demonstration at 1 p.m. on Aug. 8 in the Klotsche Center is free and open to the public. The event features some of the top cheerleaders and dancers. The public is also welcome to attend other cheer clinics during the camp, with daytime clinics held in the Klotsche Center and evening clinics running from 6-9 p.m. at Veterans Park on Milwaukee's lakefront.
UWM has been hosting the event for 10 years, and over 50 Universities with over 1,500 campers are expected to attend. The camp has gained international reknown and the University of Puerto Rico will be sending a team for the fourth-straight year.
"Cheerleading camp offers squads a great way to team-build, interact with other universities and learn new material," UWM cheerleading coach Vicki Hastings said. "Although camp is a great deal of fun, it also is very fatiguing. Squads work from 8 a.m. to sometimes 11 p.m. on the material that was taught that day in preparation for evaluations."
Each team at the camp is taught a variety of cheers and chants, as well as a new fight song routine. The teams are then evaluated on each of the new routines, and squads are taught new pyramid and partner stunts at camp.
In preparation for the upcoming UCA camp, current UWM squad members have been attending clinics through June and July. They will also participate in a "work week" in the week prior to the camp to prepare for the event. Team members have also been extensively involved in individual conditioning and other work.
Hastings says the Panther cheerleaders make a big commitment to the athletics program at UWM.
"Our expectations for our cheerleaders are very high, therefore an equally demanding commitment and dedication level is expected," Hastings said. "Our squad members not only dedicate their time to practices, workouts and all home men's and women's basketball games, but they also commit their time to the University, athletics, community and their team.
"Cheerleading is a major personal commitment of non-academic time," Hastings added. "However, the benefit of this high commitment level is a reward that will stay with the athletes well after graduation because it helps build the skills necessary for a successful future."
Decisions on who will be cheering during the upcoming basketball season will be made during fall tryouts, which will be held Sept. 18, 20 and 25 at Engelmann Gym. The tryout runs from 6:30-9 p.m. Team members must meet a wide variety of criteria, including motion techniques, voice, enthusiasm, and commitment.
The cheerleading squad at UWM is coed, and cheers for both the men's and women's basketball teams, along with participating in numerous University and community events. The cheerleaders and stuntmen selected for the team are expected to attend all men's and women's basketball games, post-season tournament games, team workouts, team fundraising events, and any other scheduled University or community events.
"Being a part of UWM's cheerleading squad allows students to develop and promote a sense of pride in the University and all athletic programs," Hastings said. "We believe that the cheerleading program isn't just an athletic activity, but it also allows the student to experience personal and social growth in time management, team building, and networking. These are all skills which are necessary to survive in the `real world.' Furthermore, cheerleading gives students the ability to have fun, pursue physical fitness and encounter a diverse mix of individuals with a common love for cheering."
Being on the UWM squad also gives team members a chance to play host to the biggest cheerleading camp in the country once a year.
"We look forward to the opportunity of being the `home team,' and representing our University to the fullest," Hastings said. "The UWM cheerleaders are excited to learn new ways to promote university spirit and to help our crowd into the games for the upcoming season."