submitted by Allyson Mueller
CHS’s varsity dance team started off the 2018-2019 season with a unique bonding method. Beginning the first week of June 2018, returning dancers were partnered with at least one newly joined teammate in hopes of encouraging team bonding. Overall, there are six big sister and little sister partners.
While the dance team is the first of Chilton’s sports or clubs to introduce a required program to promote members spending time together outside of school and co-curriculars, it has been a success.
“I feel the program has helped us connect as a team to the point where we are going out of our way to help our big or little sister (and) do things with them outside of practice,” said sophomore co-captain Allyson Mueller, a big sister.
Seeing as most incoming dancers are freshmen, the setup also pushes a new environment on CHS, one club at a time. As freshman Cambria Deehr, Mueller’s little sister, said, “It has helped me start high school with someone to show me the way.”
The idea was brought to the team by head coach Ms. Kristen Bartel. “The mentorship program has really helped the team bond with their partners and with the entire team, which helps provide more trust and respect for each other as athletes and as people,” said Bartel.
CHS staff have been encouraging upperclassmen to welcome freshmen to the high school in a variety of ways, and it seems that the dance team may have found the perfect way to integrate younger students into co-curriculars. While most freshmen can find high school daunting, the girls on the dance team have had a team sister there to help them along the way.
“They have someone to go to . . . they don’t feel less valuable as a team member,” said Mueller. The program gives the incoming members someone to help them get their high school experience and dance season off to a great start.
“I’m excited for new challenges with my big sister!” said Deehr. Everyone on the dance team hopes this program continues every year. The program inspires the girls to be the best team they can be.
The team is set to perform in La Crosse for the state competition on February 2.