By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Last fall, Madison Crowe became the first EBCI tribal member to take the field as a college cheerleader as she cheered for the Mars Hill Lions. This fall, Kayla Bigmeat, also an EBCI tribal member, will join her as a Lion.
The two young ladies decided to give back to their community this summer and helped organize and host Madison and Kayla’s Mars Hill Lions Cheer Camp at the Cherokee Life Center on Thursday, July 19 and Friday, July 20.
The event was being held as a fundraiser for their Mars Hill college cheer camp next month.
“We decided to do this as a fundraiser and also give back to the community and teach the little girls that you can be a college cheerleader and that it is possible and reach for your dreams,” said Crowe. “The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians needs more role models that are our age. The little girls need someone to look up to. That was the whole idea and concept behind the camp.”
Both Crowe and Bigmeat started cheering with the Cherokee Youth Cheerleading as pee wees. Crowe cheered for four years at Cherokee High School and Bigmeat cheered at Swain County High School.
“We could have done a concession or a raffle, but we decided that it’s best for us and our community if we give back,” Crowe commented.
Bigmeat also spoke of the importance of helping the younger generation. “My schedule is pretty packed, but I would have taken any time to do this. I love that I am helping little kids. I remember when I was there age.”
She said that she hoped to make a positive impression on the younger girls.
Crowe added, “When I was younger, I really didn’t have anyone to look up to and there wasn’t anyone young teaching us. There were no college athletes to look up to.”
Jessica Daniels, of Birdtown Recreation Center, worked with Crowe and Bigmeat in the Cherokee Middle School cheerleading program and helped out at the camp.
She spoke highly of Crowe’s and Bigmeat’s efforts, “I think it just shows the hard work and determination that they had to be successful cheerleaders. They wanted it, and they worked hard for it every day.”
“It’s one of those things where you give them the tools and they take it from there and do what they need to do to get where they need to be.”
Daniels concluded, “I think the community should be proud of what they’ve done. They give these girls someone to look up to.”
In all, a total of 31 girls attended the camp.