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.