Going off to camp is always exciting, since it signifies the ultimate summer get-away for dedicated cheerleaders. It’s all about having fun! Plus, learning new stunts to bring back to the mat or the sidelines for next season is going to make performances look super sweet. Camp is a perfect time to bond with your team–considering you finally have some quality downtime together that’s missing during the season–and the more you know your teammates, the better! But, there isn’t a rule against making new friends, too! Camp draws teams from all over the country to learn together in unity, so might as well make some lasting friendships while you’re at it. Your teammates know you pretty well, so getting to know people beyond your immediate cheer circle might serve as a challenge. Never fear, introverts of the cheer world, here are three fun ways to [comfortably] step outside of your comfort zone to make new friends at camp. 

Keep competition friendly.
Traditional cheer camps are made up of many squads, working on skills all day long side-by-side. Your rivals could even be there! It’s natural for athletes to compete against each other in these circumstances, just do so in a constructive manner. Instead of trying to ‘out-stunt’ other teams or engage in trash talking, encourage the progress of other teams as your team makes strides of your own. By acknowledging another team’s successes, your team will be true cheerleaders–the kind others want to be around and emulate! Avoiding negative behavior is especially crucial if another team starts being a bad sport first; don’t sink to their level, be the bigger team! Chances are that by the end of camp, you will have made some new friends by taking the high road. Camp is supposed to be fun, anyway!

Keep compliments flowing.
You don’t have to go out of your way to give someone a compliment. In between camp activities, try to give someone you don’t know a compliment to break the ice. Everyone loves to be complimented! This is easy to do if you focus on an element of clothing or how they do their hair that day–whatever would make a stranger feel that you’re observant and acknowledging! Outfit accessories are pretty custom apparel to cheerleaders, so find someone with the coolest bow in their hair and ask where they bought it. Repeat this exercise often, and you might just leave camp with hundreds of new Facebook friends.

Keep on keepin’ on.
In other words, maintain a positive attitude the whole time. If you consistently have a good outlook on life, you will notice that others start to appreciate your eternal optimism and want to be around you. Be a beacon of light that draws others in. This applies to camp in many ways. First, stay calm under pressure: you’ll be in the heat all day, and stress can run high if your stunt isn’t working. Keep your cool. There’s an even simpler way to show how you are an easy-going, fun-loving person–smile! Smiling and laughing is contagious, so show off your pearly whites at strangers to make them feel at ease enough to approach you. If they do, use your natural cheerleader charm to get a lasting friendship off the ground.

How do you make new friends at cheer camp? What were some of the ways you’ve broken the ice with somebody new, and have it turn into a friendship? Tell us your story in the comments!