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Natascha Calnon, a junior at Heidelberg High School in Germany, practices the “Extreme Routine” during the first day of cheer camp Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Natascha Calnon, a junior at Heidelberg High School in Germany, practices the “Extreme Routine” during the first day of cheer camp Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Natascha Calnon, a junior at Heidelberg High School in Germany, practices the “Extreme Routine” during the first day of cheer camp Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Natascha Calnon, a junior at Heidelberg High School in Germany, practices the “Extreme Routine” during the first day of cheer camp Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Holly Bellamy, a senior at Ramstein High School in Germany, is tossed aloft during stunt training at cheer camp on Friday.
Holly Bellamy, a senior at Ramstein High School in Germany, is tossed aloft during stunt training at cheer camp on Friday. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Custom decorated shirts and pony tails in bows were Patch High School’s ways of showing team spirit during the first day of cheer camp Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Custom decorated shirts and pony tails in bows were Patch High School’s ways of showing team spirit during the first day of cheer camp Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Piles of sleeping bags, pillows and gym bags cover the bleachers during the opening night of cheer camp Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany. More than 200 cheerleaders camped out on the gym floor at Kaiserslautern High School.
Piles of sleeping bags, pillows and gym bags cover the bleachers during the opening night of cheer camp Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany. More than 200 cheerleaders camped out on the gym floor at Kaiserslautern High School. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Leah Fayson, a junior at Kaiserslautern, enjoys the view from the top of a “mount” during stunt training at cheer camp on Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Leah Fayson, a junior at Kaiserslautern, enjoys the view from the top of a “mount” during stunt training at cheer camp on Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

The sound of more than 200 cheerleaders screaming at one time is resonating through the doors of the Kaiserslautern High School gym this weekend. Welcome to the eighth annual Cheer Camp, led by the Universal Cheer Association.

Jane Varalli, varsity cheerleading coach and a teacher at Kaiserslautern High, has been camp director each year.

“I’ll tell you, the enthusiasm, spirit and eagerness to learn is mind-boggling,” said Varalli.

“It’s my most worthwhile time of the year.”

During the opening night’s stunt session Friday, three to four “flyers” were flung into the air from a sea of cheerleaders. Meanwhile, UCA staff offered tips as they made their way through the throng.

UCA, the largest cheerleading camp and competition company in the world, is leading students through a rigorous three days of sideline chants, dances, partner stunts and safety techniques. It can be quite a challenge, given the amount of experience most students have coming into the weekend.

“Fifty percent have never been a cheerleader,” said Varalli. “This camp makes them cheerleaders.” Teams are evaluated and awards are presented at the end of the camp Sunday.

Oblivious to the stress of impending evaluations though, a dance circle broke out into a chant and cheerleaders jumped in the middle to show off their moves during lunch break on Saturday.

The stunts and dance portions of the camp are definitely the most fun, said sophomore Jennifer McNeill, echoed by her peers from the American Overseas School at Rome, Italy. AOSR traveled the longest distance to participate.

UCA holds more than 1,100 sessions each summer and focus on junior high- and high-school-age pupils in over 450 locations throughout the U.S. and Europe.

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