Spirit Squad members 'touch lives' through UCA

  Tuesday, June 23, 2015 2:00 AM

Pittsburg, KS

Spirit Squad members 'touch lives' through UCA

As a nine-year-old embarking on what she hoped would be a long relationship with cheerleading, Shelby George found motivation and inspiration from members of the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA).

“I remember attending UCA camps growing up, and I looked up to those people in many ways,” said George, a senior at Pittsburg State and member of the university’s Spirit Squad. “I had a great time at UCA and learned a lot.”

This summer, George’s cheer path has come full circle. She and five other members of the PSU Spirit Squad are working with UCA to conduct cheer camps at schools throughout the Midwest. George said seeing the youngsters work to hone their skills reminds her of being one of those students many years ago.

“It’s an amazing experience to work with students who you can tell have a passion for cheer,” George said. “I know from experience that they’ll remember these camps forever, and it’s such a thrill to be a part of that with them.”

Other Spirit Squad members working with UCA this summer are Lauren Hinesley, Hannah Pio, Marcos Valadez, Michaela Walker and Ronzail Walker.

For Valadez, this summer is his fifth working with UCA. He said he enjoys the opportunity to “touch lives” through the camps.

“One of our biggest quotes for the Midwest region is ‘Changing lives one camp at a time,’” he said. “Not only am I doing what I love to do, but I'm helping others reach their goals to not only be successful in the practice room with their teams but how to be successful in life and never give up.”

The summer UCA experience began in early June with a work week in Lake Geneva, Wisc. What followed has been a whirlwind of traveling to different schools throughout the region.

“We joke that it’s really like a doctor’s schedule,” George said. “It’s always changing, and you feel like you’re always on the go. You may be in northwest Missouri this weekend and in Wichita the next. You may be in Frontenac for a camp, then you’re in Iowa for a camp. It’s a crazy ride, but it’s a lot of fun.”

George said the PSU squad members will work with UCA until the start of the fall semester, when it’s back to campus to get ready for the upcoming athletic seasons.

“As much as we love UCA, there’s nothing like cheering for home games at Pitt State,” she said. “There are always so many people at our games, and the support our school gets from the community is amazing. Plus, it helps that our teams are always really good.”



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