Mercyhurst cheer hosts clinic for young cheerleaders

Libby Bullinger, Copy editor

On Nov. 13, the Mercyhurst Cheer team came together to help educate Erie youth in the sport of cheerleading. This clinic is held annually for cheerleaders in grades K-8 and is run completely by the Mercyhurst cheerleaders.

This year, the cheer students arrived at 1 p.m. for a meet-and-greet and welcome with the Mercyhurst team. Following check in, the children spent time learning age-appropriate stunts, dances, tumbling passes and cheers followed by choreography of a short halftime routine.

After a dinner break, the students in the clinic had the opportunity to perform with the Mercyhurst cheerleaders at the Women’s basketball game halftime show.

Advertising for the clinic occurred through a featured page on Mercyhurst’s website as well as the cheerleading social media pages. The team also spent time personally reaching out to local schools in the Erie area that had cheer programs to invite their students to attend.

The clinic brought in an exciting turnout following the cancellation of the annual clinics last year due to pandemic concerns.

Cheerleading coach Chelsee Cool explained how the cheerleading team were completely in charge of the clinic, running everything from the marketing through the actual day of instruction and interaction with the students. This served as a great opportunity for the cheerleading team to gain leadership skills and interact with others outside of the Mercyhurst community.

The majority of the students in the clinic were in elementary and middle school. However, one male student was a high school cheer recruit from Canada.

This wide range of age levels and skills forced the cheerleading team to adapt and work with all different kinds of students, a skill that is essential in any kind of teaching or leading position.

“It is a wonderful chance to reach out to the community and have an event where the students can build some self-confidence through learning new skills and performing. We love getting to open our doors to promote a positive athletic environment for cheer,” said Cool.

As a newer head coach for the team, Cool mentioned that it was very exciting to see the current team interact with the participants. “…especially together on the basketball court at the women’s game,” said Cool.

Senior Captain, Mary Claire Cousins, very much enjoyed running the clinic. “This was a fantastic opportunity to work with children in elementary and middle school. As an Early Childhood Education major, this was especially helpful for me in gearing up for teaching positions post-graduation. I also enjoyed working with the children and seeing their passion for the sport,” said Cousins.

It is safe to say that the cheer clinic was a success, and Coach Cool and the rest of the cheerleading team is hoping to gain an even larger turnout at their upcoming clinic in the spring.

This first clinic since COVID provided the team with valuable insight about how to improve and what was successful so that they can create even more beneficial learning opportunities for the young athletes of the local Erie community.