Local preteens savor Vikings Cheer Camp experience


Princeton preteens – Tayah Falls, Amber Lemm and Sarah Lemm – still savor their experience earlier this fall in the Vikings junior cheerleader program that culminated in their cheerleading with the Vikings cheerleaders at a football game.

The football game was on Oct. 13 with the Carolina Panthers, in which the Vikings lost to the Panthers 35-10. While a winning game might have been more enjoyable to watch for Tayah, 10, Amber, 10, and Sarah, 8, their highlight was being on Mall of America Field at the Metrodome cheering alongside the Vikings cheerleaders during the game’s halftime.

Tayah, Amber and Sarah were among nearly 300 girls ages 3-14 in this year’s Minnesota Junior Cheerleaders program. It included a cheerleading camp Oct. 10-12 at the Vikings’ Winter Park training facility in Eden Prairie, plus pre-game training the morning of Oct. 13 and then the halftime performance.

“We love the Vikings and the cheerleaders are wonderful,” said Kelly Lemm, mother of Amber and Sarah, as the three recently talked about the experience. Lemm noted that the program is designed to promote self-esteem, pride, commitment and fun for the participants.

The three-day camp had warmups, and the Vikings cheerleaders taught the girls dance skills and choreography for the cheers. The participants also were in clinics to learn about healthy habits.

It wasn’t free of course. There was the approximate $200 per child participation fee, the cost of tickets to attend the football game and the optional professional photo with the Vikings cheerleaders. Lemm said the total for everything for her family to have Amber and Sarah in the program was $700.

But neither Lemm, her girls, nor Velvit Longtin and her daughter Tayah would have wanted to forego the experience.

“I thought it was awesome,” Amber said. While she remembers “getting a little tired” after doing cheerleading routines “over and over” during the training, she said she would “definitely do it again.”

It was actually Tayah’s third time of being in the program. She called this year’s experience “very fun” and said much of that was from meeting new people and the dancing.

The most difficult part was figuring out the designated spot to be in during parts of the cheerleading dance, Tayah said. She said this year’s camp had more girls than when she attended before.

“It’s expensive but totally worth it,” Tayah added.

There was a party in the Metrodome plaza for the junior cheerleaders prior to the game. During game time, the junior cheerleaders sat in the middle of the field while the Vikings cheerleaders did some cheering, and then both groups cheered together.