Ascension Christian High (ACH) Cheer takes part annually in one of the most challenging summer competitions in the South: UCA Cheer Camp. It’s exciting, intense, and rewarding! This summer, the ACH Cheer team spent a tremendous amount of time working relentlessly on new stunts, jumps, outfits for the camp’s space-themed spirit rally, and on improving our team’s overall presentation. My name is Madison Hebert, and I had the opportunity not only to experience the thrill-ride of cheer camp but also am able to share my experience with you.
One might imagine that a road trip in a packed out last century Ford passenger van, bursting with 12 cheerleaders and their swollen travel bags, would be the intriguing part – but think again! The real adventure really didn’t start until we arrived on campus at the University of Southern Mississippi. Without a sign anywhere insight to direct us, we bumbled around campus clueless trying to find the check in. And the worse part… we were missing lunch!
Once everything was in order and all of our things were stored in our rooms, it was time for what we crossed state lines for: endless hours of strenuous work but also loads of fun! Imagine walking into a spacious room with hundreds of excited, loud and spirited cheerleaders! It’s an indescribable feeling, something that can only be experienced. And meeting the UCA staff for the first time just added fuel to the excitement.
Hilarious now. Yet nerve-wracking at the time. There was this one time… Macee and I locked ourselves out of the dorm rooms! It was late at night and we were dead-tired, but we just had to get a picture of our proudly decorated door for the world to see. We took our picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words photo and then snapped our necks toward each other. In that moment of revelry, we realized the hall wouldn’t be as comfortable as our borrowed beds… on the other side of the door. Macee was the first to breathe the words: “Did you grab your key?” Needless to say, the night ended not lying on the hallway floors but comfy in our bed thanks to an amazing nighttime lobby-clerk.
Reflecting back on the trip, my absolute favorite thing about camp was meeting our staffer Briley, who was also known as our Big Sister. By the end of camp, our prepared performance earned the ACH Cheer team third place in rally routine; third place in overall game day; the Superior Squad award; a spirit stick; two All-American winners; two Pin It Forward recipients, and the banana on the third day!
I am incredibly honored to be the team’s co-captain along side our captain Macee Chenevert. And I’m even more honored to be able to call these girls my “sisters” and the coaches my “adoptive mothers”! Looking back, our team went through many trials and tribulations that weekend. But, there is no bruise, blister, sore muscle, or amount of exhaustion that could have stopped us from having an out-of-this-world terrific time at UCA cheer camp!
Top: Lauren Schmidt, Dakota Dawson, Mackenzie Mcdaniel, Skylar Rattler, Ella Lambert Middle: Brynn Bosworth, Rhaylee Glaze, Emma Kleinpeter, Sophie Rousell Bottom: Madison Hebert, Macee Chenevert, Madeline Sylvester