Q: Some of the girls on my team are not only new to the squad, but also brand new to summer camp. I can’t wait to show them all of our team traditions, but I’m nervous that the stress of camp is going to be overwhelming for our younger members. What can I do to help prepare them?

Four straight days of cheerleading can be the best week ever, but you definitely need to be ready for it. Make it clear to your rookies that camp requires a lot hard work; you have to wake up early and be excited to practice all day. Explain the process of evaluations and other times where the team needs to focus and work together.

Of course, you should also tell them how rewarding the camp experience is and let them see how excited you are. Get them pumped about team bonding and fun activities at your camp like dressing up, participating in the rally and performing in front of an audience. Your excitement will pass right on to them!

Another great idea is to pair a rookie and veteran together as “big and little sisters.” This way, each new member will have someone looking after them. Having a friendly face they can talk to after a long day will make their camp experience extra special and will give each vet a sense of responsibility to the squad.

Finally, it’s helpful to provide a packing list for everyone. The newbies will really benefit from this because they won’t have to stress about forgetting anything.

– Liza Herth, @UCALiza