The halls of Brownstown Elementary School filled with dancers.
Pop music, the stomping of feet and laughter vibrated down every corridor of the academia as the girls prepared for their big gig.
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A total of 93 kids, from kindergarten to the fifth grade, participated in a drill team camp last week.
Brownstown Central High School drill team coach Jamie Temple headed the three-day camp, which was highlighted by a performance during halftime of the Brownstown Central and Trinity Lutheran boys basketball game Saturday.
The stands were packed with family members supporting the campers.
Temple was assisted by girls on the Brownstown Central drill team with instruction. There are six total drill team members for the Braves.
The campers were divided into three age groups based on grade.
“My (younger kids) do something easier with a lot more repetition,” Temple said. “The next group does something a little harder and the oldest group does the most advanced dancing. I was excited to get more (fourth and fifth graders) because it’s harder to get (older) girls out to do it.”
Brownstown Central junior Jenny Runge was one of the drill team members helping out at the camp.
“We put this on yearly so we can extend our dance to the community,” Runge said. “It’s something really fun, and we hope that they will continue and join us at the high school one day.”
“We’re so excited we have so many girls. It’s amazing to have the community rally around us. It really pushes us to do our best working with the kids.”
Temple said that the camp typically averages 75 girls in attendance but saw a surge this winter. Multiple factors, including word-of-mouth, led to the large number of participants.
“We’ve started using more radio music that they hear every day,” Temple listed as one of the reasons for the growth. “We try to make it a good time. The girls come because they like interacting with (the high schoolers). Social media has also helped, we’ve gotten a lot of parents from there.”
Brownstown Central senior Nicole Steinkamp, in her fourth year on the drill team, said that dance offers a great opportunity for kids.
“Dance is such a great fine art,” Steinkamp said. “(Drill team) is not as big as it used to be, so hopefully doing this will encourage them to join the team once they get to high school.”
Brownstown Elementary fifth grader Audrey Fleetwood said that she has come to the camp for years.
“I’ve always loved dance,” Fleetwood said. “I like learning the new dances. It feels like the drill team is my family. I like to perform.”
Temple said that the camp’s a huge fundraiser for the high school team, which needs funds for various equipment and outfits.
While some schools have dropped drill team programs, the one at Brownstown plans on staying for years to come.
“It’s just a tradition,” Temple said. “I think that tradition has stayed strong. I think it’s the great coaches who have lead it and the support of the school that has made it great.
“It’s a huge entertainment for the school, especially at halftime. It has been going for more than 40 years. Our numbers have gone down, but the girls are a tight-knit family.”
Most of the drill team’s practices take place during a drill team class at school. However, the members of the squad stay busy after school at football and basketball games during the school year.
“We have a shirt that says ‘our season never ends,’ Temple said. “It really doesn’t. Tryouts are in March, and they then get April and May off. We then go all the way until the end of basketball season. It’s a great team and great for the school.”
Temple said she hopes to start a middle school drill team program to feed into the high school in the future.