Rotterdam Raider Tiny Mites cheerleaders looking for fundraising lift (with 13 photos)

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.
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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.

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

Now the group of six cheerleaders, ages five-, six- and seven-years old are shouting and cheering in attempts to raise $10,000 to help defray the costs associated with the trip.

“That will cover the girls’ room costs 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.

That large number still doesn’t cover the cost of the trip.

“My parents are covering airfare, car rental and meals,” Sebring said. “We’re just trying to fundraise to at least cover the cost of the hotel rooms.”

Everything Rotterdam

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 taking part cheering on just four teams during the fall season.

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

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

“There was a bunch of girls and one coach,” Sebring said. “I said I haven’t cheered in a long time, but they’re five-year-olds. We’re not doing basket tosses, it’s the basics so I said I would coach my daughter’s cheer team.”

Last year was a traditional sideline cheer season for the Tiny Mites.

Then Sebring reached into her pom-pom past for this football season.

Photos (13)

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 GAZETTE
Rotterdam Pop Warner Tiny Mite coach Courtney Sebring works with a cheerleader showing the proper grip on a stunt STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
Practicing 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 GAZETTE
STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
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 GAZETTE
Several of the Rotterdam Pop Warner Tiny Mites practice their jumps, backing onto stacked mats in front of coach Courtney Sebring STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
The Rotterdam Pop Warner Tiny Mites STAN HUDY/THE 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 backyard. We found some music that five-, six- and seven-year-olds liked from Disney’s Descendants.”

The natural skills of the youngsters — flexibility, cartwheeling and more — allowed their routine to shine.

The Raider Tiny Mites won its local competition and advanced to the 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 my mind,” Sebring said. “When it came to competition time, the Raiders shined once again.”

Surprising everyone.

“When they announced first place and said Rotterdan Raiders, my jaw dropped,” Sebring said. “Are you sure? There were the Colonie Raiders, the Northtown Raiders, I kept saying “Are you sure?”

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

The group has five fundraisers planned to help offset the costs associated with the trips including a raffle for tickets to the NFL Jaguars at the NY Jets Dec. 22, Sundaes with Santa on Dec. 18 at Draper Middle School, Dine and Donate at Tops American Grill on Dec. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m., can/bottle drive at Green Redemption Center in Altamont (mention the Rotterdam Pop Warner account) and a portion 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 an airplane before, most haven’t been to Universal Studios or Disney, so this will be the first big trip for many of them,” Sebring said. “But you know, we’re down there also to work.”

While the practice time was filled with squeals, yells, a lot of running sound and Sebring instructing the cheerleaders with ‘girls, girls, focus, do it again,’ the group has shown they know when it’s show time.”

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

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

Categories: News, News, Rotterdam, Schenectady County, Sports, Sports

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