EDINBURG - Ten-year-old Denise Serna of San Juan might be considered young by some standards, but she is already old enough to pursue her dream of becoming a cheerleader.
"As far as I can remember I always wanted to be a cheerleader," Serna said. "I have a friend who is in high school and she is the best cheerleader I have ever seen and I want to be just like her."
Serna as well as more than 167 students from across the Rio Grande Valley gathered July 12-16 at The University of Texas-Pan American in an effort to sharpen their cheerleading skills at the 39th annual Cheerleader Camp.
Erika Pena, 17, of Mercedes agreed.
The week long camp served elementary, junior and senior high school cheerleaders, providing instruction in cheers, chants, stunts, pyramids, tumbling, fun poms routine, cheerobics, bleachers mania, jumps and much more, said Mary Munoz, Cheerleader Camp coordinator for UTPA.
"We try to build up the students self-esteem as well as help them develop their team work skills," Munoz said. "We also teach them to be goal oriented and to develop self-discipline, tools which will become very useful through out their lives."
As far as Serna is concerned, the camp has met all her expectations.
"The camp is so cool," Serna wearing her pink and white cheerleading uniform said. "I was a little nervous on the first day because I'm the youngest one here, but everyone turned out to be so nice."
"I have always loved coming to cheerleading camp," Pena said. "This is my fifth year and I had so much fun. There isn't pressure to do well here, but we develop a desire to do better."
Pena is hoping to attend the University of Michigan where she hopes to continue with her cheerleading.
For more information on the Cheerleader Camp, contact the UTPA/NCA Cheerleader Camp office at (956) 381-2230.