Schyler Clark has been a cheerleader most of her 18 years. As an assistant coach with the All American Cheer team, she wants young girls to enjoy the sport as much as she has.
As mini- and junior-cheerleaders performed stunts during a showcase Saturday, at Tolson Youth Activities Center, Clark kept a special eye on one cheerleader in particular — her little sister, Ava, 9.
“I’m very proud of her, and I think it’s an honor to say that I’m coaching her,” said Schyler, who coaches alongside Tiffanie Woods.
From cheerleading, Schyler learned to be a team-player and how to work hard to achieve her goals, said her mother, Chae.
“Schyler has been in cheer since Ava’s age,” said Chae. “So, I’m hoping the same attributes will fall upon Ava. It definitely gives them a sense of purpose and a confidence that you don’t see in a lot of sports.”
Mehayla Parks, 13, has been a longtime cheerleader as well. She was recognized for being a team leader at Saturday’s showcase. A rising freshman at Jack Britt High School, Parks said she plans to try out for the cheerleading team next school year.
What specifically does she like about cheerleading?
“What isn’t there to like,” she quips.
This year, Parks worked on her flexibility and improved her ability to do flips, as well as to act as team leader for younger youth, she said.
Parents Jill and Ryan Enos have also watched their daughter, Felicity, 6, build her leadership skills as member of the AAC cheer team.
“Cheering improves her confidence skills, and helps her become a good leader,” said Jill.
At 7-years-old, Alyssa Chambers isn’t yet concerned with leadership skills, though they may be budding. She seems to enjoy cheering as a sport.
“We get to throw girls up (in the air) and catch them,” said Chambers who practiced her cartwheels just before completing the showcase in front of an audience.
All American Cheer is Fort Bragg’s first competitive cheer team for ages 3 to 18. It has been offered through the SKIES Unlimited program, designed to compliment youth experiences as military dependents.
The junior cheerleaders (ages 7 and older) won first place in their first national competition in April, said Woods, who added that she enjoys being a cheer coach and will spearhead various summer camps this year.
“I like knowing that I have a positive influence on my kids, it’s so amazing,” Woods said.
For more information about joining the team, visit www.fortbraggmwr.com, like the All American Cheer Factory on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AllAmericanCheerFactory or call Tiffanie Woods at 584-1337.