Cheerleading camp is a summer tradition for cheerleading teams. It is an activity that cheer teams look forward to for months, and a place that they go to learn new skills, perfect their technique, connect with their team and have some friendly competition with other cheer squads. At today’s cheerleading camps, the industry’s star coaches, college-level athletes and All Star celebrities – as well as Olympic and World champions – join the team of staff and work together to lead cheerleading’s future generations. For the estimated half-million annual camp attendees, their opportunities are very different from those who attended the first cheerleading camps. Here’s a look at the history of cheerleading camps: Cheer Camp Beginnings The first cheer camp was help in 1948, and was known as a “clinic’. Lawrence Herkimer organized the first camp and brought 52 students to Sam Houston State to learn routines and get fitness tips. The next year Herkimer held camp again, and the number of attendees increased to 350 cheerleaders. Colleges were the first institutions to participate in cheerleading, so the first few camps were attended by college cheerleaders. Cheer Camp Expands The first high school cheerleading squad attended cheer camp in 1950. Herkimer decided that to focus all of his time on cheerleading, and created an association to employ camp instructors and recruit new camp attendees. Cheer camp begins to become a cheerleading tradition, and new jumps and stunts start to debut exclusively at cheer camps. Cheerleading continues to grow through the 1950s, spawning even more organized teams and cheerleading supply companies. By the late 1960s, cheerleading had reached all the way to pee wee football. Cheer Camp Becomes a Staple Cheer camp continued its reputation as the place for cheerleading by debuting the first liberty in 1976, and the first basket toss in 1979. Not only were the moves debuting at camps – camps were the only place for cheerleaders to learn the proper technique for new moves from the experts! All Star squads starting forming as stunting and tumbling became more and more prominent in cheerleading, creating another sub-category in the industry. Today, there are pee wee, youth, middle and high school, college and All Star cheerleading teams. With all these different styles of teams, there are different types of camps needed. Here is a sample of some of the camps offered today: Traditional Camp: High school teams that are looking for game-time material and a taste of life on a college campus can attend a resident camp at their local college. This is a great option for teams on a budget, since they won’t have to fundraise to cover travel expenses. Teams can also experience a little friendly competition with other local cheerleading squads. Private or Specialty Camps: These camps allow a team to have a lot of individual attention, and can even be hosted by a company that focuses on advancing a team’s technique for a specific skill set, like stunting, tumbling or choreography. The disadvantage is that teams don’t get the full, tradition camp experience since they would just hire a company to come to them instead of traveling off-site and joining other squads. Resort Camps: The newest option for camp is all about location. Resort camps have all the ingredients of tradition camps, but instead of a college campus or park property, they are held at fun locations like the mountains or the beach. Resort camps kind of double as a vacation – but they are also the most expensive option. There are hundreds of camps held every summer! It is clear that in its 60+ years of existence, cheerleading camp has become as important to cheerleaders as their uniforms!