Belles Hold Camp for the Biggest Little Fans

Even experienced Highland Belles can discover something while serving as instructors at Junior Belle Summer Dance Camp.

This camp has allowed me to see how influential the Belles are throughout the community, and it is so rewarding to give back to those who support our organization the most.

Little girls grow up attending Highland Park football games to sit in the stands and praise the high school girls walking onto the field in their historical and traditional fringe.

That community support is why the award-winning drill team offers the annual camp for girls in the community from kindergarten to ninth grade.

The Belles and their directors put on this camp every summer to share some of the Belles’ magic with the whole community.

I love seeing how excited the little girls are when they run through the doors and hug their Belle leaders at the beginning of each day.

Ande Dugas teaches the proper form for a turn.

The girls come to the camp daily to learn choreography and improve their dance skills and technique.

“This camp has allowed me to share some of the joy of being a Belle with younger girls, and it is really special to see how much the few days we spend together impacts their life,” senior Belle Ande Dugas said.

During the week, campers will learn a dance routine for the showcase at the end of the week, create relationships with new girls, and discover more about the history and behind the scenes of the Belles.

Within their grades, the campers are grouped five to six per Belle so they can get to know their Belle leader and the Belle can form more personal relationships with their group members.

“I still see some of my campers when I am out around Highland Park, and the way they still remember my name and the time we spent together makes working the camp so much more worth it,” Dugas said.

At the end of the week, a showcase for friends and family allows campers to show off everything they have learned that week during camp.

The younger campers will perform their dance, and along with performing their dance, the ninth graders will show off their high kicks.

Teaching this camp has brought me nothing but joy.

Carley Hutchison, a graduating senior at Highland Park High School and member of the Highland Belles, interned with People Newspapers in the fall.

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