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Junior cheer camp helps instill confidence

Newport Harbor High's team teaches about 130 girls the basics of cheer, song and baton twirling during annual week-long session.

August 21, 2012|By Britney Barnes
  • Matilda Higman, 15, a Newport Harbor High School cheerleader, gives some instruction on a baton routine to Marlo Bozza, 9, during a cheer camp Tuesday.
Matilda Higman, 15, a Newport Harbor High School cheerleader,… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Newport Harbor High School cheerleader Regina Scholey helped lead a group of young girls in cheer, choreography and stunts Tuesday morning.

But it wasn't that long ago that the 17-year-old senior was in their shoes, looking up to the "big girls."

"It's really fun being on the other side," she said. "I remember thinking the cheerleaders were awesome."

Regina and her teammates taught about 130 pre-K to eighth-grade girls the basics of cheer, song and baton twirling during Harbor's annual week-long junior cheer camp.

The camp culminates in a performance for parents Thursday and another during halftime at a Sept. 21 football game.

"You look around and you see the future of Sailor cheer," said Harbor junior Katelynne Dangl, 16, whose grandmother started the camp in 2000.

The camp is the squad's biggest annual fundraiser, making it possible for the team to attend competitions, stage rallies and buy essentials, said advisor Kris Higman.

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Harbor cheer took first place in nationals last year.

The experience also helps build confidence, a sense of rhythm and instills the importance of exercising and being healthy, Higman said.

Giving the younger girls a confidence boost and bringing them out of their shells was the most important aspect of the camp, said Regina and fellow senior Sydney Roberts, 17.

It also provides an opportunity to bond, Sydney said.

"As a little girl, you can be yourself, and no one will judge you here," Sydney said.

Carden Academy fifth-grader Lauren Dirk, who came with her best friend, Brooke Garcia, said she was making friends after two days.

"It's really fun, and I'm meeting lots of girls," she said.

britney.barnes@latimes.com

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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