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McConnell’s first youth cheerleading program to begin in March

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erin McClellan
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Beginning March 13, Team McConnell’s youngest members will have the opportunity to participate in cheerleading on base for the first time thanks to the efforts of one Airman.

Staff Sgt. Angela Wilkerson, 22nd Air Refueling Wing command chief executive assistant, coached at her previous duty station and knew when she arrived here that she wanted to implement a cheerleading program.

From March 13-May 17, classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays for two age groups. Children ages 3-5 will practice from 5-6 p.m. and ages 6-8 will practice from 6-7 p.m. The cost for participants will be $85 and will include a shirt, shorts, pom-poms, a bow and a trophy.

“We haven’t had anybody here to step up and want to do something like this,” said James Jolliff, 22nd Force Support Squadron director of youth programs. “Angela came to me and said she [coached] before, so we said, ‘Hey, let’s give it a shot.’”

Cheerleading has been a large part of Wilkerson’s life since she was 4 years old. She was a cheerleader most of her life and turned to coaching after high school.

“Cheerleading is important,” said Wilkerson. “The passion I have for cheerleading and the passion I have for mentoring can help these young boys and girls come into their personalities and come into who they are as people. It’s giving them purpose and it’s giving them a mission to complete. I think that if I can instill in these young men and women at this age how important it is to set goals and to accomplish them, then I’m doing my job.”

During practices, the cheerleaders will work on things like cheers, chants, stunts, flexibility and tumbling.

“If parents have kids who need to become task oriented, then this is a great program, because we’re going to have goals to accomplish each week,” Wilkerson said.

In addition to attending practices, the children will participate in community service activities, have a movie night party mid-way through the season and put on a showcase May 20 to show off what they learned during the 10-week program.

To register, call the Youth Center at (316) 759-4070 by February 24.