The WolfPack cheerleaders are everywhere. Whether it’s a community event, a WolfPack game or just walking around campus, it’s hard to go anywhere in Kamloops without seeing a bright orange hair bow bouncing up and down with enthusiasm.
“Community involvement has been a core part of this cheer team for years. Part of it is that we like to give back to a community that gives so much to us. They really support us, whether it’s at WolfPack games or when they see us in the community, they’re fantastic,” said cheer team Head Coach Kelsey Boule.
The members of the cheerleading team volunteer at anywhere from 10 to 15 community events throughout the year, which adds up to about 50 to 75 hours of their time. This community involvement is tacked onto an already busy schedule that includes not only leading the cheers at WolfPack games but also three practices a week, a special gymnastics practice and mandatory gym sessions.
For team captain Alexis Gosselin, volunteering in the community is something that comes naturally.
“I am taking the Bachelor of Social Work program here at TRU, and being a part of the team keeps me involved with working with people in the community. I have a huge heart and a driven passion to work with others,” she said.
The team was out at Westsyde Secondary School on Friday night to cheer on both teams in the annual Friday Night Lights high school football game, and while those type of events are fun, Boule says that her favourites to attend are the ones that feature a good cause.
“A lot of these events are for such good causes like the CIBC breast cancer walk. It is a fabulous one for young women to get involved in. This is an important cause, and for me as a coach it is important for my team to be more than a team that just competes, but to have more things that help them with their future,” Gosselin said.
The team features 21 full-time athletes and four alternates that Boule says decide to join the team for a multitude of reasons. “ A couple of our girls are long-time gymnasts, as well we have girls who have never been on a cheerleading team, from smaller communities who always wanted to cheerlead. We give them that opportunity and they like the community involvement so we really get a mix on the team.”
While competitive cheerleading is growing in B.C., TRU is one of the only a few schools in the province to enter into competitive cheerleading events. The team focusses more on community involvement in the first semester of the school year before entering into multiple cheerleading competitions in the second half of the year. Last year in the two competitions that they were matched up against the cheerleading squad from the University of British Columbia, TRU managed to split the season’s series, winning one of the competitions.