By Kurt Johnson
Service in the community has become a common theme for the drill teams at schools all across the state. Squads grow stronger as they reach out to help the people around them, and in the process these young ladies learn and teach valuable life lessons.
Dressed for their dance routine, the Alta Las Scelles.
“For me it was great to help us appreciate all the things we have,” said McKell Crook, one of the leaders of the Alta High Las Scelles in describing her experience in the team’s Sub-For-Santa effort in December. “We have a sturdy support system and we have a team to go to, and these families just have their families. They don’t have a lot and the parents can’t give their kids a lot. It made me a little more thankful for what I have at home.”
The Las Scelles got together with their coaches at the beginning of the year to set some goals for this season. Among those was a decision to do something that would make a difference in the community. Having completed a successful Sub-For-Santa effort the year before, they decided to repeat that project in hopes of creating a tradition for team that follow.
The was not a team-bonding experience thrust upon these girls, but it was an activity they chose and one they planned and executed.
“As a team, the girls decided they wanted to do the Sub-For-Santa again,” said coach Alisa Horrocks. “They really enjoyed that last year and wanted to carry on that tradition. They did all the communication with everybody and they found out what they needed and they organized all of that.”
The first step was to locate a family in need of their assistance so the officers turned to a mother from one of last year’s team members, who had helped with the planning a year ago.
“She found one of her old teachers who does a lot of refugee work,” said Olivia Harris, another of the team’s officers this season. “I contacted him and he found a family for us, and told us their needs and their ages so we would be able to buy for their needs.”
The family they found are refugees from the Congo, who have been in the United States for just about a year. The family includes three children, one a newborn baby.
“This family had very little clothing for the baby and the rest of the family,” Horrocks said. “Our officers discovered what the needs of this family were. The team pooled resources together to provide this family with mostly the very basics to live. They were in need of food, clothes, shoes, coats, diapers and toys for the kids.”
“They came from the Congo,” said another of the team officers, Chloe Smith. “The mom recently had a baby, who was premature and she was stuck in the hospital. They don’t have a lot of money and they had two other really young kids. The mom also had been in a refugee camp for like 16 years. She didn’t speak English very well, so all we know is she had been in a refugee camp.”
The officers compiled a list of items that were needed to put together gifts for this special family and then the girls on the team picked an item from the list to purchase and contribute. Perhaps the best part of the experience was the opportunity to deliver the gifts to the family’s apartment.
“It was just such a great thing to go meet the family last year and be able to take it to them, and see how happy they were to get the gifts,” Harris said. “That was the same as we did this year. We just got to meet them and give them the gifts. The kid’s faces, they were just in shock. It was probably the only presents they were going to get. It really shows that you should always give back, and focus on someone other than yourself.”
The project did wonders for a family that was unable, at the present time, to do something for itself, but it was more than that. It provided a chance for a team to come together to make a difference.
That is the goal when drill teams reach outside the gym and get involved in something much bigger. The Las Scelles are another example of the good that is happening everywhere you look.
“It’s something different,” Smith said. “Coming to drill every morning is just dancing, but I feel like this bonded us more as a team, having something to do as a team rather than just coming and dancing together. It had us communicate more with each other. I feel it all has more of a unity quality to it. You can tell when we’re dancing that we have a team bond. Doing stuff outside instead of just dancing together, it really helps that unity.”
So, as next year’s Las Scelles gather to prepare for another season of training and competition, they will once again pause to think of ways they can change their little corner of the world.
“This was a very rewarding experience for our team,” Horrocks said. “This is something we fully enjoyed and want to make a long standing tradition for our team.”