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State Honoree

Sydny Koch

North Dakota

Sydny Koch, 11, of Fargo, N.D., a sixth-grader at Agassiz Middle School, organized a cheerleading camp to give younger girls in her neighborhood something fun and safe to do on Saturday afternoons. Sydny began thinking about starting a “camp” after her young cousins showed her a children’s cheerleading video. “I loved to see my cousins having so much fun,” said Sydny. “I thought the little girls in my neighborhood would like to have fun cheerleading, too.” Sydny also thought they needed an activity to keep them from playing in the street and possibly getting hit by cars. The only problem was: Sydny didn’t know much about cheerleading. So she researched cheerleading squads, cheers and routines; interviewed cheerleaders; and attended a special cheerleading day camp. With the help of a friend, Sydny inaugurated her camp last September with sessions every other Saturday afternoon. “The girls have learned confidence, leadership, and lots of athletic skills,” said Sydny. “And the parents know their children are safe.”