Camp is an important place for cheerleading squads to bond, build trust, learn in a safe environment, improve their skills, and prepare for the sidelines and the competition mat. Even if your camp is only for a few days, cheerleaders, coaches, and even parents should know how to prepare for camp. Follow our tips so you can arrive at camp knowing what to expect!

Coaches
As a coach, plan your camp months in advance. By now, you should have already secured a location and date and have paid any fees required. Once you've reserved your camp and set the dates, plan out what you will do with your team each day. Make sure you reserve time for fun team-bonding activities and down-time for your teammates to relax and recuperate.

Once you've planned out the details, create an itinerary for your cheerleaders and their parents. This should include details on each day's events, a list of what each cheerleader should pack, and all information regarding the camp location and contact details. Depending on your team's size and ages, it may be most effective to set up a meeting with the entire team and their parents. During this meeting, you can go over the itinerary, pass out copies to everyone, and get each cheerleader's emergency contact information, if you don't already have it. Address any questions or concerns your cheerleaders or their parents may have. This will help everyone be comfortable and not as nervous when they arrive (especially new members!).

Within a month before your camp begins, follow up with your camp host or company to confirm all the details of your reservation. File all confirmation emails and letters in a folder and bring this with you to camp. When packing your own items, pack a few extra toiletries, like toothpaste and soap, in case any of your cheerleaders forget.

Parents
A month or so prior to camp, talk with the team's coach about all the details of camp. If the coach hasn't provided one, ask for an itinerary or details on what your cheerleader will be doing each day. This will help you have a better idea of what your cheerleader should pack, including number of practice wear outfits. Also, if the coach hasn't provided it, get the camp's information, including the address and contact details.

If your cheerleader has any allergies or sensitivities, inform the coach. Include names of any medications and the doctor's contact information. Depending on the location of camp, talk with the coach about transportation. Will a bus be taking the team to camp or will the parents need to drive their cheerleaders? If parents need to drive, talk with other parents about carpooling to save gas.

Cheerleaders
A few months before camp, cheerleaders should focus on working out. Camp is all about physical activity! Get into a regular routine of stretching and working out before camp so your muscles will be able to keep up with the schedule without soreness. Work on your stamina by jogging or running and improve your flexibility by stretching. The more you're in shape, the better camp experience you'll have.
Create a packing list early (months ahead of time) to make sure you have what you need. You may need to purchase more practice wear, accessories, or travel-sized toiletries. Make sure you talk with your coach on what you'll need to bring. If your camp is overnight, you may need to bring your own towels and sheets, as not all camps will provide those items. Also ask your coach for a daily schedule. If you have significant down-time, pack a book or iPod so you have something to do while relaxing. Don't forget to pack snacks, as a camp is likely to only provide the standard meals like breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. If you're vegan, vegetarian, or have special dietary needs, make sure your coach knows ahead of time.