Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D For Decision - Deciding on Cheer Camp

Cheer camp is an event that can be the best part of the year or an icky stain on your season.  Choosing the camp that is right for you and your team is key.  There are 4 types of cheerleading camp with numerous options for each one at a coaches disposal.  Before deciding on whether to host a private camp for just your squad, attending a commuter camp, or heading out for an over-night or resort camp take some time to evaluate what your team needs.

A Private camp is a camp where the cheer company sends a few instructors to your location and customizes the material taught to your specific needs.  If you want to spend three days learning dances, then they will tailor that to you, or if your team knows how to stunt but needs new game material they can work with that.  You can also get a little of everything cheers, dance, stunts, team bonding, etc.  The point is they focus on just you and what you need for your team.

If your team is young, meaning that there are not a lot of returnees, or that the skill level as a whole is not high then I would suggest a private camp or a commuter that specializes in core skills. Private camps are also good for very advanced teams that have some specific goals they want to work on and don’t want all the frills of a commuter or over night.  Private camps can be spendy depending on the number of people on your team and how many instructors you want them to bring.  You will be in charge of feeding your team for lunch breaks.

Commuter camps are centered on teaching a little bit of everything over a few days in a shorter period.  These camps are hosted at a local school or gym and run for 2-3 or 4 days from 9am to 5 pm.  The skills are taught somewhat quickly.  There is some one on one time but depending on the commuter you may only see individualized attention for 30 minutes to an hour a day.  Commuter camps can be less

If your team has a good grasp of skills, many returning members or just learns quickly, a commuter may be good for you.  These are good for teams that want to get a lot of knowledge but do not have a ton of money to spend in traveling.  You still get a great camp experience with daily evaluations and usually a camp competition at the end against other teams.  You will be in charge of feeding your team on breaks here too.

Over-night camps are the most involved.  These camps are usually 3 to 4 day camps held at a college or university.  Your team will attend classes all day long and lodging and meals are provided.  The classes are considerably longer and more involved.  They run from 9 am to 7 pm with breaks throughout the day.  There are more classes offered and usually more instructors.  The one on one time is still about an hour.   These camps can be exhausting and will push your teams ability to work together for long periods of time.  These are great for team bonding and total immersion into the cheer world.  These camps can be costly, but since most everything is provided it can be a good choice.

Another option is a Resort camp.  These pretty much take the overnight option and offer “down” time during the day so that your team can go play.  They are hosted at locations near theme parks, beaches, mountains, etc.  These are the most costly, but can be treated as a Team Retreat.  Also great for bonding.

When choosing your camp, do your homework.  Take to the camp director and determine what the theme of the camp is.  Make sure that it is right for your team.  There are so many camp companies out there, there will be one that works for you within your budget.


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