PEQUOT LAKES -- Two Pequot Lakes sisters, both varsity cheerleaders, believe that cheerleading has undeservedly gotten a bad rap.
Hollywood teen-age movies in recent years have mocked the very notion of the all-American cheerleader. And, as they see it, most young girls now would rather be involved with dance teams than stand on the sidelines and cheer for their school athletic teams.
So Patricia, 16, and Michelle Demcho, 17, decided to give young girls something to cheer about.
The Demcho sisters organized a cheerleading camp last week at Pequot Lakes High School to introduce Brainerd lakes area girls in first- through eighth-grades to the sport. They made fliers and passed them out at area schools, created cheers for participants to learn as well as organized the entire event. They even spent hours making pom-poms out of black-and-white garbage bags, and posted signs throughout Pequot Lakes directing the girls and their families to the camp location on the school football field. They also designed T-shirts for camp participants. The girls had to secure permission from school administrators to host the camp.
Making a pyramid during cheerleading practice were fifth-grader Hailee Anderson (left), fourth-grader Sam Gonnion and fifth-grader Melissa Boggs.
The project will likely earn the sisters their Gold Award, the highest award given in Girl Scouts. Their two older sisters, Denise, 21, and Teresa, 20, earlier earned their Gold Awards.
About 50 girls participated in the "World's Greatest Cheerleading Camp 2002."
Both sisters are football and boys' and girls' basketball cheerleaders at Pequot Lakes High School. Michelle is captain for both cheerleading squads this year.
"We've seen a downfall in school spirit and as cheerleaders, we thought we could help," Michelle said. "We wanted people to see that cheerleading is more than just pom-poms."
Abbie Iverson, 7, Lake Shore, was all smiles as she cheered last week at Michelle and Patricia Demcho's cheerleading camp.
The young future cheerleaders performed a routine, which included jumps and other stunts, created by the sisters for half-time during last Thursday's Pequot Lakes football game.
The Demcho sisters need to present information about their cheerleading camp and a video of the camp to the Girl Scouts Land O' Lakes Council for consideration to receive their Gold Award.
"I think it's wonderful," said Myra King, Staples, a member of the Gold Award committee who watched the Demchos during camp last week. "I think they've done amazing things with these girls in just three days."
The Demchos said the cheerleading camp was so successful that they are considering hosting it again next summer.
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