On August 2nd, Youth Matter Inc. started a cheerleading group called the “SAPPHIRES” with ages ranging from 5 to 14 through a summer camp program – The Sapphires Cheer Program is a “TROOPS TO YOUTH” initiative under the Focus area of “Fit Body” because it promotes getting the youth moving and being active. Tanisha Ward, a Navy Reservist, will begin in September as their Cheer Coach.
Within 2 weeks’ time the group grew from 6 to 24 girls having registered, and girls are still signing up to become a member of the Sapphires. The Sapphires Cheer program is split into two different age groups, the young girls are the Sapphire Sparkles and the older girls are the Sapphire Gems.
The summer program was started at the Vision Centre 1, a multi-purpose center, in Portsmouth, VA that is owned and managed by Mount Sinai Church located across the street from the Vision Centre 1. Youth Matter Inc.’s partnership with the Vision Centre 1 has been instrumental in being able to get programs off the ground, and we are most appreciative.
All of the young girls that came to the cheer camp are still going strong with the practices that have been held twice a week for 3 hours each session. Their practice routine has included warm-up exercises, learning basic moves of cheer and dance, cheers, along with team building skills. The girls that are participating in the Sapphires program will not only learn how to cheer and dance, they will also take a lot from this program with it being a part of the “TROOPS TO YOUTH” initiative, as they will also be able to take advantage of the educational component as well as mentoring.
During the summer camp program, Jacquelyn Bates, College Student at Chowan University and Miss Youth Matter 2011, was the lead coach for the Sapphires Summer Camp. Raven Tatum from Chowan University, Kayla Outlaw of King’s Fork High School, and Jazmine Simmons of Atlanta, GA, also came out several days to assist with the cheer camp. See the photo below of Jacquelyn with the girls on her last day with the girls before she returned to college.
The summer program has continued with the aid of Destani Cox, Iesha Wilson, and Tatiana Britt, summer employees of the HILTEK Group that volunteered to assist with the Sapphires program for the summer so that the girls will stay active and continue to learn their craft as a member of the Sapphires cheer team.
We also salute the parents that have come out on a regular basis to the Sapphires camp and practices to cheer on the girls, encouraging them, and assisting with learning moves, and the parents have even joined on in the exercise sessions with their children – GO SAPPHIRES CHEER PARENTS!!!