When she was younger, Breana Wagner loved cheerleading. The incoming freshman thought she would have to wait, but when the opportunity came for her to begin cheering in 7th grade she took it. This summer Wagner attended a cheer camp where she was selected to be on the All-American cheer team and will travel to Philadelphia to perform during the city’s Thanksgiving parade in November.
By Melissa Anderson
“I’ve cheered for girls basketball, boys basketball and football,” Wagner shared.
The All-American camp that Wagner attended was held in Cavalier in early June with nearly 20 cheerleaders from the area looking to make the team that was set at five. At the camp, Wagner was one of the youngest to compete having just finished her 8th grade year.
“It was the Cavalier cheer team, Grafton cheer team, and Langdon cheer team. Five girls got picked, four from Grafton and me,” Wagner said.
The camps for Universal Cheerleader Association (UCA) range in type and focus. From the Elite to stunt to mascot, the UCA helps cheerleaders as young as 4th graders to college level learn and develop their skills.
At the camp that Wagner attended, the focus was on improving their skills. Wagner was taught different pieces of cheers and stunts. At the end of the camp, those who attended were given the chance to try out for the All- American team. If selected, the attendee would have had the option of either going to Philadelphia for their Thanksgiving Day parade or traveling to London, England, for the New Year’s Day parade.
“The All-American is not like a competition. It’s just a fun event to be able to cheer in front of a bunch of people like in a parade,” Wagner said. “If they pick you then you get to go to different places like London, Rome, Philadelphia, just places around the world.”
At the cheer camp, a dance and cheer are taught which the attendees are required to learn and will then perform both for the try-out. Going into the try-out, Wagner felt confident in her ability to make the list. She had taken practicing seriously and knew the words, was loud, sharp and knew what she was doing.
“Once I found out I actually was surprised and excited,” Wagner shared. “It’s going to be really fun. It’s nothing I’ve ever done before.”
This is not the first time that Wagner has gone to a cheer camp and competed. She has attended three camps with one being a jump-off with former teammate April Kratcha. The event is focused more on flexibility with the cheerleaders doing different jumps and cheers exhibiting their abilities.
“That was different and a good experience,” Wagner said. “We got to try-out for All-American, but we didn’t get in that year.”
Traveling to Philadelphia to cheer in their parade will be like nothing Wagner has ever done before. Not only will this be her first time cheering out of state, it will be the furthest she has ever been from home.
Wagner will be in Philadelphia for three days. When she arrives in the “City of Brotherly Love”, she will have rehearsal right away with her fellow All-Americans. The group will only have two days to rehearse their routine together before performing in front of the crowds on the parade route before the big finale on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum on Thanksgiving Day.
The All-Americans won’t just be devoting their time to working on the routines. The sponsoring organization, Varsity Spirit, also provides the cheerleaders and their chaperones with time to shop and sightsee- from being able to take a walking tour of historic Philadelphia with a guides in colonial dress, visiting such famous landmarks as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell to cruising the Delaware River while enjoying dinner.
“I feel like this is a great opportunity, and I would hate to turn it down. I would like to ask you for your support,” Wagner stated.
Her goal for this trip is to raise $1,500, and a donation of any kind is greatly appreciated. The money for the trip is due by October 1. For those interested in donating to help Wagner pay for her trip to cheer at the Thanksgiving parade in Philadelphia, donations can be mailed to
201 13th Ave.
Langdon, ND 58249