In the glittering world of cheerleading, retirement often marks the end of an era filled with high-flying stunts, infectious cheers, and spirited camaraderie. For many, hanging up the pom-poms can be an emotional journey, transitioning from the adrenaline-pumping cheers to a more subdued rhythm of life. Today, we delve into the stories of two remarkable cheer alumni, Maggie Schoen and Risa Sorenson, as they share their experiences navigating the rollercoaster of emotions that come with retiring from the cheerleading spotlight.
Maggie Schoen's Reflection:
"When I retired from cheerleading, I really missed the camaraderie, the practices - learning cheers & dances, and the connection & excitement of the game and the fans," reminisces Maggie Schoen. Life took an unexpected turn, leading her away from the cheerleading sidelines, but the void left behind was palpable. "I wasn’t quite ready to retire, but life presented the need to. Life without cheerleading definitely required a shift."
Maggie found solace in her full-time career, which consumed a significant portion of her time. However, her love for the Tiger Cats endured, and she continued to attend games as a devoted fan. But it wasn't until the Cheer Alumni Organization entered her life that Maggie felt a missing piece fall into place. "The opportunity for membership with the Cheer Alumni Organization added another missing piece - greater connection with other cheer alumni, the Tiger Cat organization, the fans, and the opportunity to perform."
The organization became the bridge that spanned the gap between the cheerleading days of yore and the present. "Loved that it filled a missing piece I didn’t even realize was empty," Maggie concludes, emphasizing the profound impact of rekindling connections and sharing the stage with fellow alumni.
Risa Sorenson's Journey:
Risa Sorenson, a cheerleader with the Q-Tees in 1973, embarked on her cheerleading odyssey with CHQT, Edmonton's sport radio station, as their sponsor. After a decade of cheering, she gracefully retired when The Edmonton Sun took over, and life beckoned her in a different direction. "I never felt disconnected from the new teams, and I feel very proud to be an EE alumni," shares Risa. Her cheerleading family, forged between 1973 and 1983, still holds a special place in her heart.
The enduring friendships formed during those years have stood the test of time, and Risa is grateful to continue dancing and reconnecting with her cheer buddies. "When the CFL allows, it's absolutely the best feeling to get back on the field with the alumni," she enthuses, highlighting the sheer joy that comes with reliving those spirited moments.
Retiring from cheerleading is undoubtedly an emotional journey filled with highs and lows, cheers and tears. Maggie Schoen and Risa Sorenson's stories serve as a testament to the enduring spirit of cheer alumni, showcasing that the end of one chapter can lead to the beginning of another. The Cheer Alumni Organization provides a haven for those transitioning from the roar of the crowd to the quieter sidelines, offering the opportunity to reconnect, perform, and fill the void left by retirement. As these alumni continue to dance through life, their cheerleading legacy lives on, forever woven into the fabric of their hearts and the history of their teams.
Join us in celebrating the enduring joy found within the CFCAO. This community keeps the cheerleader spirit alive and fosters lifelong connections. Let's raise a cheer as we explore the lasting happiness our Alumni Association brings.
1. Lifelong Bonds:
Our Alumni Association ensures that the friendships formed during our cheerleading days remain strong. Discover how we support each other through life's ups and downs, creating lifelong bonds that endure.
2. Inspiring Generations:
As alumni, we have the opportunity to inspire and mentor aspiring cheerleaders. Through workshops and sharing experiences, we pass on the values of teamwork and perseverance, continuing our cheerleading legacy.
3. Uniting in Spirit:
No matter where we are, our Alumni Association keeps us connected through shared events and activities. From cheering on current teams to organizing reunions, we stay united in spirit.
4. Celebrating Milestones:
Within our association, we celebrate the achievements of our members. We cheer each other on, providing a support network that extends beyond cheerleading, celebrating both personal and professional successes.
5. Giving Back:
Our cheerleader hearts are always ready to give back. Through charitable initiatives and volunteer work, we make a positive impact in our communities, spreading joy and kindness.
Let's raise our voices in cheer and toast to the enduring joy of our Cheerleader Alumni Association. It's a place where friendships thrive, spirits stay high, and the cheerleader legacy lives on. Together, we embody the true spirit of cheerleading, bringing happiness and unity to our lives and beyond. Cheers to the everlasting joy of our Alumni Association!
It was an honour to interview Terri Lamb, Co-Founder of the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization (NFCAO). As the leader of such a powerful and influential group, she has the power to make an impact far larger than the individual members of her organization. From her unique perspective, she can help shape the future of her organization and the alumni community at large.
In this interview, we explore the impactful work of Terri and her organization. We discuss how the organization works to support the alumni community and how it has grown over the years. We also discuss Terri's NFL cheerleading experience, which includes a Taiwan tour, and a Hall of Fame induction!
I hope this interview highlights the importance of an alumni organization and the impact they can have on their members and the broader community. By fostering a sense of connection and support, alumni organizations can help create a lasting legacy of learning and growth.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience with NFL Cheerleading-
I was a Washington Redskins Cheerleader "Redskinette" (WRC) for 5 seasons, 1979-1983. During my tenure as a Redskinette, I served as a captain and co-captain; appeared in the first WRC calendar; was a member of the first WRC Show Troupe, which toured Taiwan; performed in the first WRC Department of Defense video that was aired to troops stationed around the world; and performed at Super Bowls XVII and XVIII.
I was the Founder of the first NFL Cheerleaders Alumni organization in 1984: The Washington Football Cheerleaders Alumni Association (WFCAA), formerly known as the Redskins Cheerleaders Alumni Association. The purpose was to maintain the camaraderie that was formed when we were cheerleaders and to continue to support local and National charities. In 2009 I co-founded the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization (NFCAO) for all former NFL cheerleaders and have served as the Chair and President since inception. The NFCAO's mission is to enable former NFL cheerleaders to connect, contribute to local and national charitable organizations, and support fellow alumni when in need. On July 23, 2022, I was honored to be the first of 6 NFL Cheerleaders inducted into the Pro Football Cheerleaders Hall of Fame during the National Football Cheerleaders Reunion Gala in Jacksonville, Florida. My induction was based on my commitment, dedication and leadership, which has contributed to the rich legacy of NFL cheerleaders on and off the field. My contributions had significant and enduring value, showing character and integrity for the good of the alumni.
2) What made you start the NFCAO? How did you get it up and running?
The idea started soon after I founded the WFCAA. Former NFL cheerleaders started reaching out to ask for guidance on how to form their own organization. Based on all the interest and our desire to unite all former NFL cheerleaders, the WFCAA set a goal to start a National NFL Cheerleaders Alumni Organization. This became a reality 25 years after the WFCAA inception, when the WFCAA hosted a conference call on January 14, 2008, with the 7 existing alumni groups. The purpose of the meeting was to propose annual meetings/reunions to get to know and support each other; partner to support National charities; and continue to grow as a National group. Each annual meeting/reunion would be hosted by a different alumni team. Everyone agreed to what was proposed and in 2009, the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization was formed. The first official Reunion was hosted by the WFCAA in DC.
3) Tell us a bit about the organization and its mission-
The NFCAO currently has 23 official Chapters representing current and former NFL teams. Our mission is to enable former cheerleaders to connect, continue to contribute to local and National charities, and support fellow alumni who are in need of charitable support.
4) What is your favourite part about running an alumni group?
My favorite part about running the NFCAO would be getting to know everyone from around the NFL and discussing our experiences. Also enjoy participating in national events alongside fellow NFL alumni cheerleaders and former and current players.
5) Favourite memory from your Cheerleading days-
I have several favorite memories from my cheerleading days…but the two that really stand out are performing at Super Bowls XVII and XVIII and performing in the first Redskins overseas tour in Taiwan.
6) What are your future plans/goals for the organization?
Our future plans and goals for the NFCAO is the continue to recruit and form Chapters for the remaining 9 NFL teams; expand our partnership with the NFL Alumni Association by participating in more national events; host our own charity golf event; and to convince the Pro Football Hall of Fame organization to add a Pro Football Cheerleader section to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio,
7) Anything else you would like to add about yourself, or the NFCAO?
In 2015, representing the Washington Commanders, I was inducted into the Pro Football Ultimate Fan Association in Canton, Ohio. The induction was based on my numerous charitable activities, leadership, enthusiasm, and fellowship and sportsmanship towards all fans in the NFL.
In conclusion, I wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude for the guidance and support Terri provided us when we were creating our organization. Her mentorship has been instrumental in helping us bring our vision to life and make a positive impact north of the border!
As former cheerleaders, we know the importance of teamwork and camaraderie. It's these values that inspired us to create our alumni organization, where we can continue to support each other and stay connected to the cheerleading community.
Our alumni organization brings us together in many ways. First and foremost, it provides us with a network of like-minded individuals who share our passion for cheerleading. Whether we were teammates in our teens, 20's or beyond, we can come together to reminisce about old times and share our experiences since then.
But our organization is more than just a social club. We also work together to support our local CFL cheerleading teams by organizing fundraisers and local events. By working together towards a common goal, we are able to strengthen our bonds and make a positive impact on our community.
Another way that our alumni organization brings us together is through regular events and activities. We host reunions, virtual parties, and other social gatherings where we can catch up and have fun together. We also organize a cheerleading Social at Grey Cup where we can share our stories and experiences with other CFL cheer alumni.
Perhaps most importantly, our alumni organization provides us with a sense of belonging. As we navigate our post-cheerleading lives, it can be easy to feel disconnected from the sport and the people who were once our teammates and friends. But by staying involved with our alumni organization, we can stay connected to the CFL cheer community and continue to feel a sense of belonging.
In short, our alumni organization brings us together in so many ways. Whether it's through community service, social events, or mentorship, we are able to maintain our bonds and continue to support each other long after we've hung up our pom-poms.
Cheerleading is a popular and beloved activity that has a special place in our lives. It's a time-honoured tradition that has brought joy and excitement to generations of people. Cheerleading is not only an opportunity to express our enthusiasm and spirit, but it also has many practical benefits that can help us grow and develop. In this post, we'll take a closer look at the value of cheerleading and why it's worth the time and effort we put into it.
Cheerleading is a great way to stay active and stay fit. It requires coordination, agility, and strength and can help keep us in shape. It's also an excellent way to improve our cardiovascular health and build our endurance. Cheerleading can also help us stay flexible and build our balance.
Cheerleading can also be a great way to make friends and develop our social skills. We can make connections with teammates and people we cheer for, and it's a great way to express ourselves and our creativity. Being part of a team can also help us learn important values like teamwork, dedication, and commitment.
Cheerleading can also help us develop our confidence and self-esteem. We can feel great about ourselves and let our inner spirit shine through. It can help us feel empowered and be proud of our accomplishments.
Finally, cheerleading can also help us learn important life skills. We can learn how to work with others, communicate effectively, and be a leader. We can also learn how to set goals, plan ahead, and manage our time.
We can see that cheerleading is a valuable activity that is worth the time and effort we put into it. It offers us so many exciting opportunities and can help us in many ways. Whether we're cheering for our school, our community, or a competition, we can find joy and growth in cheerleading.