Yes!!! Adaptive cheerleading, in other words, cheerleading in a wheelchair does exist AND IT'S PURE AWESOMENESS. We even have an awesome new name for it: CheerAbility!
On Saturday morning, August 29th, 2015 a group of young women filled up the Faith Fellowship Church in Rocky Mount, Virginia with much excitement and joy for the day ahead of them. As they walked in through the gates, they stopped by the table at the entrance, set up by the ABC table to pick up their pompoms and shirts. Some were in wheelchairs and some were not. Some were cheerleaders on their high school teams, some college students and some had never even tried it before.
Regardless of the ability level and age, they all shared the same passion and that was cheerleading. As soon as they walked in through that door and picked up their Adapt.Believe.Compete. pompoms, they got rid off every other label that they had, because "cheerleader" was the only label they wanted to be identified as that day. We are fortunate to have Brittany Yates and Pam Cobler with us who helped organize the Second Annual CheerAbility, an inclusive camp for young and aspiring cheerleaders who have a disability. We cannot be happier to have had the opportunity to sponsor such a special event, even though it was miles away from our hometown in Philadelphia.
Thank you all for coming out and enjoying Cheer Ability with us.
Below are former Ms Wheelchair VA Brittany Yates's remarks from the day along with pictures we obtained from her and Angela, Ms. Wheelchair VA 2015:
ABC Medical hosted the 2nd Annual Cheer Ability event at the Faith Fellowship Church in Rocky Mount, Virginia on Saturday, August 29th. We had 2 cheer teams volunteering from local high schools and colleges. The first part of the day was the Ferum College cheerleading team and the second half of the day was Franklin County high school cheerleaders.The girls did a fantastic job engaging our participants and showing them adaptive motions. Thank you all for coming out and sharing this joyful day with us! CheerAbility is an an annual adaptable cheerleading camp designed to teach simple cheerleading motions to young people in wheelchairs and to show them that they could still become a cheerleader if they want to, regardless of their ability level. Compared to last year's event, we were a lot more prepared and experienced for this year's camp. There was about 19 participants and approximately 75 people in total, including volunteers, family members, and caregivers. The majority of participants was females at our event, their ages ranging 8-30.
I am proud to say that ABC made this event posssible for me and all the participants. We set up a display at the front of the door, where we greeted everyone and gave them their pom-poms shirts and provided information about our great sponsor. The energy was so positive and everyone had big smiles on their face!
On the left is our smiling Angela, this year's proud Ms. Wheelchair VA:
I made sure I spoke to everyone during the event and told them about why this event was so special to me. I also talked about about my experience being a cheerleader from a wheelchair.
I also helped cheerleaders show our participants some adaptive motions that they could still do from their chairs. I went up to several different people to find out what their ability levels were and showed them how they could use their hands for different motions or turns to be able to cheer.
Because, cheering is possible with any ability level as long as you have the right spirit! This event made me feel so great as I had the chance to show participants that they have the ability to do whatever they want to.
Lastly, I'd like to end it with a short message from Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2015, Angela West, who was also present at the event:
"Thank you everyone for making CheerAbility possible! I absolutely loved seeing lives being changed! I had the opportunity to talk to a mom who broke into tears as she told me that she has not seen her daughter smile that big in a long time! How about witnessing a quiet little one finding her voice to cheer! These are just some of stories I hold in my heart! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it!"
Below is our group picture:
I want to say thank you to all the family members, caregivers, and participants that helped out throughout the day. The event was such a positive experience and I am proud of the outcome. I feel like we really made a positive impact on so many people's lives.
Thank you everyone for making this event a big success and my dear friend Pam Cobler for all your help organizing, advertising and hosting it.
Looking forward to the next CheerAbility!
Click on the link below to watch the video and hear the Adapt.Believe.Compete Cheers of our young participants.. Thank you all!