Proud Mama

I am a mid westerner at heart.  Kind, thoughtful, reserved…  So being at a cheer leader camp is a little out of my comfort zone…  450 plus high school cheer leaders, coaches, leadership staff and the National Cheer Association staff all in one gym is a little beyond my normal tolerance for “HAPPY”… But…  It is amazing!

I can not believe Dev is able to learn so many cheers/chants, dances.  Each day they are taught a new cheer and chant that they then perform in the evening.  Here is Wednesdays:

She just learned that routine that morning, and they just added positioning in the afternoon and the “We R Nathan Hale” transition about 5 min before performing!  All of the girls are amazing, and so is Dev!  I know I would have trouble learning it, then performing it!  I am so impressed!

She is a born Cheer Leader!

The girls on her team are great.  They give her a little leeway but know to stagger (place her in the line up) her so she can keep up with the routine.  They work to her strengths.  They invite her to sit at the table, they invited her to stay in the dorm room, they help with her hair in the morning and she feels/is included.



Cheer Try-Outs

Here we go!
Here we go!

Here we go!

Hey guys so on last Friday night some girls from cheer came to my house they took me in a car blindfolded I was told not to speak so I fell asleep it was so late so when we had all girls at a friends house we took our blindfolds off we saw everyone that made the cheer team so I was one of them so while we waited for the pizza to come so I ate one piece of pizza and that was it so we also made t-shirts and that’s how I knew that I made the cheer team again .

This blog is all by Dev!  No edits, no corrections :-)  More to come




A Mom’s Oversight, True Inclusion???

So, I’m working on another post that has been swimming in my head, but just has not fully formed yet about the Nature vs. Nurture aspect of parenting. Then last night happened… I was not prepared, so I do not have any great pictures, but I will have the memories.

Just one of the crowd

Just one of the crowd

As so many of us know, days get busy and plans do not always work out. Dev is a busy kid, her older sister and younger brother are busy too. Last week Dev had 4 playoff basketball games that we had to work in to the schedule last minute, requiring canceling of piano lessons, numerous family dinners, homework help, blah blah blah. So when Monday evening rolled around and we got word that Dev was expected to be at school for another Cheer leading thing on Tuesday night 5:30-7:30 we were a little frustrated.

The cheer leaders were expected to be school ambassadors for the “Prospective Students Evening”. A little added pressure was given to the girls that are planning on trying out again for the squad next year as it would “show their dedication”… They have been asked to help out at school for all kinds of things where they usually stand around looking cute, handing out fliers show people around the school. OK, we will do it, Dev loves the squad.. Since we missed last weeks piano lessons I reworked the schedule so that Dev would go to piano early, her sister would take her to school so she could be there from 6-7:30. I thought a good effort!

So all goes as things go (left overs for dinner).. I head out to pick her up getting to school around 7:25 as she is supposed to be done at 7:30. I text Dev that I’m parked in the usual spot and she responds “k” (how cool that she totally uses the phone well). So I wait… and think about all the times the squad has had to be at school and hold doors, set up chairs, hand out flyers… And wait… I think how great it is that Dev is part of the squad… I call, text… Wait… 20 min later I call again… I get frustrated… 8:00 still No response… It’s time to go in…

The school is deserted, the janitors are finishing up… I start to worry a little, but keep going. I find a few people near the auditorium, so I wonder that way. I open the door to the auditorium and find it packed with parents and potential new students for next year. And who do I see right in the middle of the stage with about 20 other kids taking questions from the crowd… (If only I had been a good mom and turned on the camera…)
Parent from the crowd, “What do you like best about Hale?”
Student to the left of Dev “the Japanese program”
Dev, “the teachers, they really know how to make learning fun”
Student to the right of Dev, “the Drama program”

No fan fair, no mention that Dev has Down Syndrome, no “wow, you did great”, no trying to slipping the microphone past… She’s just a regular kid to all the kids on the stage. Wow…

There was no preparation– for her or for me…  No, “Hi Sue, we would love if Dev could be on stage to show that we are an inclusive school”, no script for her to remember… It was REAL…



Cheer Camp 2012 What an Experience!

What a week!  First Dev got her new cheer uniform:

Dev in her new uniform 2012

Some how the uniform makes it all real.  It was a very nice afternoon, all the new kids on the team got together with the coaches and received their uniforms.  Lots of screams and excitement!

Then on Monday the team headed out a tour bus, off to a week long National Cheer Association cheer camp!

And the team is off to camp

I was a little anxious, I was going to meet the girls a few hours later in central Washington.  During the bus ride the girls were going exchange secret pal gifts, hang out, then change into their uniforms for pictures once they got to the camp.  Dev is very independent, but changing on the bus into a tight cheer uniform with a bus load of “typical” kids…  Of course she did well.  She is amazing.  When I found them on the university campus, she looked great!  She was proud she was able to do the button on her skirt independently!  I just put the bow in her hair and she was picture ready!

The squad at cheer camp, fresh off the bus

The plan was for Dev to spend the day with the squad, then rather than sleeping in the dorms with the girls, she would share a room with me in a separate dorm.  We were OK with this plan.  Dev got to go to camp, she would get to sleep, all would work out.  BUT…  after a great day with the squad, they offered for her to stay in the dorm with the squad and the Leadership staff.  Dev was thrilled!  She got her own room in the dorms.  She did not join in all the crazy night stuff with some of the squad, but she was included!

Dev received a “gold medal moment” tag for being inspirational, AND was invited to stay in the dorm with the squad!

What a great experience!  The camp went on for a week!  Each day they would learn new dances, chants and cheers.  They worked on stunts, team building and having fun.  I am still amazed with number of routines they all learned and performed!  What I am more impressed with though is the way the camp and especially the cheerleaders treated Dev just like any other cheerleader.

Hot and tired the kids relax and laugh together

I think the more time spent together the more we all realize we are far more alike than different.  The future is bright.

Real CheerLeading is Leading! This is what Dev and the squad are doing in 2012!