Those who think cheerleading is not equal to the athleticism involved in any other athletic program would be admittedly mistaken if they saw the Panther cheer squad participating in the annual Cheer Camp held at the Gaylord Texan Hotel on June 26.

Backflips and high kicks are important aspects to cheerleading which require as much, if not arguably more, physical effort than that of the football players they cheer on from the sidelines on Friday nights in Van Alstyne every fall. The cheerleaders of Van Alstyne Middle and High Schools, however, are just a small part of a much bigger picture.

The camp focused on improving skills and a comprehensive understanding of the basics of the University Interscholastic League regulations of the Texas cheer program. Throughout the camp, cheerleaders improve through conditioning and push their limits by learning new moves and routines. The Van Alstyne High School and Middle School Panther Cheer Squads will return to root on the Panthers at the beginning of football season in August.