Midstate cheerleaders with special needs heading to nationals

Carlisle/West Shore

Cheer Tyme Inspiration is heading to cheerleading nationals in Orlando, Florida.

“Cheer Tyme Inspiration is a squad of exceptional athletes all who have an intellectual disability, and they come here and they do a lot of physical activity, a lot of interaction, a lot of communication,” said Bobbi Segin, a coach and the director of special needs at Cheer Tyme.

“I like to go to Disney,” said cheerleader Olivia Frese. “I like to do all the jumps.”

The Mechanicsburg-based team includes about 20 cheerleaders and 10 volunteer buddies who help the coaches.

“I like to work with children with special needs,” said buddy Holly Balchunas. “Why do you like to cheer?” she asked her buddy.

“Jump and run,” cheerleader Kairi Fagan answered.

“Sometimes it’s really happy and really exciting and sometimes you have to be very focused,” said Alexa Ramos, who is another buddy on the team.

For this squad, cheerleading is more than just a sport. It’s about gaining confidence, learning new skills, and making lifelong friends.

“It keeps her active,” said Ricky Hoon, whose daughter Sydney is on the team. “She just loves the joy of meeting other people.”

Some of the cheerleaders call their coaches and buddies their heroes.

“My favorite part about Cheer Tyme is working with an amazing coach like Ms. Kim,” said cheerleader Katie Sheppard.

“It’s super fun,” said cheerleader Nia Wheele about working with her buddy.

Parents and team members are raising money for their big trip in April.

“They can give money to Cheer Tyme Inspiration, they can give money to a Go Fund Me which is on Facebook under Bobbi Segin or they can donate money through a 501 which is called Bobbi’s Project Incorporated,” said Segin.

The group competes in the Cheer Abilities Division.

“To come into the season and have our special needs team ranking fourth in the nation is like a huge ordeal,” said Kim Braasch, the co-owner of Cheer Tyme.

Cheer Tyme Inspiration is one of five teams from across the country that’s being invited to nationals.

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