This is only the second year of the New York Jets Junior Flight Crew Cheerleaders Program, but the impact on a number of girls ages 7 to 14 can be major.
The fast-approaching deadline for registering for this year's camp is July 11, and the camp itself will be held Friday, July 29 — a meet-and-greet at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. — followed by two days of practices July 30-31 at Fairleigh Dickinson University's Madison campus across Park Avenue from the Jets' complex.
"I'm really excited for this year's Junior program," said Flight Crew director Denise Garvey. "We anticipate that registration is going to be higher than last year, so if people want to register by the deadline, they can make sure their kids get the opportunity to learn dance and cheer from NFL cheerleaders."
The pinnacle of the program comes on Sept. 1, when the Juniors and the Flight Crew will perform together at midfield on gameday at the Jets-Eagles preseason game at New Meadowlands Stadium. That performance will be preceded by a gameday rehearsal on Aug. 27 at the Atlantic Health Training Center.
Last year the first Junior Flight Crew class had a historic first, performing during the Jets' first game ever in their new stadium, in the opening preseason game against the Giants.
There are many more pluses to participation in the program.
"There's the benefit of being in a program with other kids who are enthusiastic about dance and cheerleading, and getting to know the Flight Crew cheerleaders and working with them one-on-one," Garvey said. "They'll get a chance to develop their showmanship and their presence while performing."
Their instructors will be the current members of the 2011 Flight Crew. They'll get to rehearse on the field where the Jets practice and they'll learn how to cheer and dance in a noncompetitive, supportive environment. The girls will also get to take home their Junior Flight Crew uniform and pompoms.
At the camp, participants will be grouped by age and taught dance technique, cheer and "pom" drills, and spirit- and team-building, all with an eye toward getting ready for that Sept. 1 spotlight at the stadium.
Then for the girls who dance all the way to the Eagles game, they'll have remembrances for a lifetime.
"Can you imagine going back to school in September and telling your classmates that you trained and performed with the famous New York Jets Flight Crew Cheerleaders?" Garvey has said. "I am telling registrants to make sure they bring their cameras so they can record these amazing memories. Who knows? Some of these young girls may grow up to be Flight Crew Cheerleaders!"
If you want to know more about the New York Jets Junior Flight Crew Program, click here to go to the page on the newyorkjets.com site.* *Also on that page, you'll the link to the Junior Flight Crew registration form that will ensure the opportunity to get in on the cheering, the dancing and the fun.
Mandisa at the Pro Bowl
One of the Junior Flight Crew instructors will be veteran FC member Mandisa. Recently nfl.com posted a feature on NFL cheerleaders who performed at February's Pro Bowl in Hawaii. You'll find an airborne photo and short bio on Mandisa when you click here.