We know that cheerleading requires a lot of teamwork. Forming friendships within your squad is key to a successful season, and summer is the perfect time to get started. Here are some ways to make it happen.

Show rookies the love.

Welcoming new team members can be really exciting. Think of it as a fresh start with a whole new atmosphere! Keep an eye out for newbies that may be shy and go talk to them. Even better, pair them up with a veteran cheerleader for the summer. You should also get the team together for bonding outside of the practice gym. It could be going out for ice cream or having a movie night. The most important thing is that you have fun and use this time to get to know one another.

Have fun in the sun.

Looking for ways to beat the heat? Set up a pool party, organize a car wash, or host a sign painting party and knock out some of those signs for football season. Getting involved with charities and community organizations is another way to bring you closer to your teammates in an entirely different setting.

Work hard, play hard.

With no games or classes to attend, summer gives you the opportunity to focus solely on your squad. Work diligently in the gym to accomplish team goals and prepare for the upcoming season. When you need a break, plan a team building activity like a post-practice scavenger hunt around town. If you have an entire day of choreography or camp, incorporate breaks to play games. Or, always a squad favorite, turn on some music for an impromptu dance party!

by: Kallie Maschino, as seen in the summer 2015 issue of American Cheerleader