This year, the Wasco Bengals Cheer season kicks off with two clinics on March 15 and 17 at Barker Park from 6 to 8 p.m.
Tryouts for girls ages 6-14 will be held on March 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Grace Community Church. Those selected will go on to join the Wasco Bengals Cheer team.
"Wasco Bengals is a nonprofit organization with a mission to keep our kids off the streets and participating in activities that not only teach them a sport, but also help them develop life skills they can take into their adulthood and beyond," Wasco Bengals Cheer Representative Cynthia Torres said. "Throughout the course of the season, it is incredible to see these girls blossom. It takes much courage to perform in front of a large crowd, and this builds self-confidence instilling in them a belief that they can accomplish anything. They learn to be responsible, respectful and on time while dedicated to their school work. It is amazing to see how passionate they become."
The cheer clinic is an open-mat cheerleading practice that allows interested participants to better prepare for tryouts and meet current cheerleaders.
"It is a great way for the girls to become acclimated with the cheer environment and practice before they have to try out," Cheer Advisor for the Varsity squad Ruth Loza said. "The best thing about the clinic is seeing the girls excited to be out there learning and working with their coaches. One needs to make at least one day of the clinics to participate in tryouts. However, we encourage that they attend both days as one day they learn the cheer and the other day they learn the dance routine."
In 2020 and 2022, the Varsity Wasco Bengals represented Wasco in Las Vegas, winning first place national championship titles.
"That is a testament to how hard they worked. They were so happy to return home wearing their Jamz National Championship jackets," Loza said.
As soon as a cheerleader graduates eighth grade and moves on to their freshman high school year, they can become coaches for the younger girls.
"In this sense, they are giving back to the community and sharing what they learned. It is a great experience for them and something they can use on their resumes for jobs and college," Loza said. "The program would not run without the coaches. We have coaches in their high school years, with some in college. It is all volunteer work, and we couldn't do it without them. They put their hearts and souls into teaching."
The team is run on support from their sponsors.
"We are so grateful for the sponsors that have been with us over the years. It is awesome how they come out to support our girls. With their help, we can encourage those that would not otherwise be able to participate because of financial limitations," said Torres.
"I am doing this for them. Their happiness brings so much joy into my life. We are all excited about the new season, and I can't wait to be national champions again," Loza said.
For more information about Wasco Bengals Cheer, contact Cynthia Torres at 661-910 6267.