The Rotterdam Raider Tiny Mites cheerleaders are looking for a fundraiser

ROTTERDAM — The Rotterdam Raider Pop Warner Tiny Mite cheerleading squad surprised the competition, themselves and especially their parents when they swept two straight cheerleading competitions to advance to the 2022 Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships in Orlando Dec. 4-8.

Now the group of six cheerleaders, ages five, six and seven, are shouting and cheering in an effort to raise $10,000 to cover the costs of the trip.

“It will cover the cost of girls’ rooms at Universal Studios along with the two coaches,” coach Courtney Sebring said at a recent practice at Draper Middle School on the Mohonasen campus in Rotterdam.

The large number still does not cover the cost of the trip.

“My parents cover the plane tickets, rental car and meals,” Sebring said. “We’re just trying to raise money to at least cover the cost of the hotel rooms.”

The group has a Go Fund Me account set up as Rotterdam Pop Warner Cheer among other fundraisers planned.

According to Sebring, the Rotterdam Pop Warner Football program has 20 cheerleaders who participate as cheerleaders for just four teams during the fall season.

Everything this year for Raider Tiny Mites has been a surprise.

Sebring signed up her daughter, Alivia, for Pop Warner cheerleading last year. When she came with her daughter – they needed help.

“It was a bunch of girls and a coach,” Sebring said. “I said I haven’t cheered in a long time, but they’re five-year-olds. We don’t throw baskets, that’s the basics, so I said I’d coach my daughter’s cheer team.”

Last year, a traditional cheering season was on the sidelines for the Tiny Mites.

So Sebring tapped into its pompom past for this football season.

The Rotterdam Pop Warner Tiny Mites with their regional championship trophy are Avaliesse Steele, Juliana Hill, Adream Hill, Linden Fikes, Abigail O’Keefe, Alivia Sebring, Vivienne Collins at a recent practice at Draper Middle School. STAN HUDY/THE DAILY TIME

Rotterdam Pop Warner Tiny Mite coach Courtney Sebring works with a cheerleader showing the correct grip on a stunt STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE

Coaches are: Avaliesse Steele, Juliana Hill, Adream Hill, Linden Fikes, Abigail O’Keefe, Alivia Sebring, Vivienne Collins at a recent practice at Draper Middle School. STAN HUDY/THE DAILY TIME

Avaliesse Steele, Juliana Hill, Adream Hill, Linden Fikes, Abigail O’Keefe, Alivia Sebring, Vivienne Collins at a recent practice at Draper Middle School. STAN HUDY/THE DAILY TIME

Several of the Rotterdam Pop Warner Tiny Mites practice their jumps, back on stacked mats in front of trainer Courtney Sebring STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE

Rotterdam Pop Warner Tiny Mites STAN HUDY/DAILY GAZETTE

“I wanted to dip my toes into doing a competition with them,” Sebring said. “I started working on a routine with my daughter in my garden. We found some music that five-, six- and seven-year-olds liked from Disney’s Descendants.”

The natural skills of the youngsters — flexibility, cartwheels and more — let their routines shine.

The Raider Tiny Mites won their local competition and advanced to regionals in New Jersey on Halloween weekend.

“There was an indoor pool, the girls hung out, they went trick or treating through the hotel, the competition was kind of in the back of their minds,” Sebring said. “When it came time to compete, the Raiders shined once again.”

“When they announced first place and said Rotterdan Raiders, my jaw dropped,” Sebring said. “Are you sure? It was Colonie Raiders, Northtown Raiders, I kept saying ‘Are you sure?’

Immediately after the victory came the request for room allocations, along with a room deposit followed by fundraising discussions.”

The group has planned five fundraisers to help offset the costs associated with the trips, including a raffle for NFL Jaguars tickets at the NY Jets on Dec. 22, Sundaes with Santa on Dec. 18 at Draper Middle School, Dine and Donate at Tops American Grill December 21st from 4pm to 8pm, can/bottle drive at the Green Redemption Center in Altamont (mention the Rotterdam Pop Warner account) and part of the Rockstar Raider T-drink from Rise Up Nutrition on Hamburg Street in Rotterdam.

It will be a trip of a lifetime.

“Most of them haven’t been on a plane before, most of them haven’t been to Universal Studios or Disney, so this will be the first big trip for a lot of them,” Sebring said. “But you know, we’re also down there to work.”

While practice time was filled with howls, shouts, lots of running noises and Sebring instructing the cheerleaders with ‘girls, girls, focus, do it again’, the group has shown that they know when it’s show time.”

“It must be my voice in their head because when they go out there to compete, they hit their heel stretches, they hit those jumps and they point their toes out when they jump,” Sebring said. – We want to do well down there.

To contribute by visiting the cheerleaders Go Fund Me account, go to https://gofund.me/674fb669

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