CLAY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The parking lot is all the Baldwinsville Pop Warner Cheer team can access at Great Northern Mall these days.
“We used to have a location inside here at Great Northern,” explained Baldwinsville Pop Warner Cheerleading Commissioner Michelle Dautrich. “It is of course since closed. We have some very specific guidelines we need for practice facility.”
They’ve been looking for a new space to practice since the mall closed in November. They’re facing a number of challenges finding somewhere to fit those guidelines.
“We have nine panel mats that are just over 2,000 square feet, those have to be in whatever facility we’re in. We also need higher ceilings. We have girls that we’re building pyramids with, building stunts with and throwing in the air,” Dautrich said.
She said the ceilings have to at least be 14 feet high. Another challenge is the cost, since they are non profit they have a certain budget to work with. All of this has made it hard. The team’s last practice was in October.
“It’s been kind of sad because I haven’t seen my friends from the other schools,” said Evelynn Brunner, a cheerleader.
“Their skill set can be at risk,” Dautrich added, “Even if it’s a couple days a week to get them into the gym, to get them conditioned, to work on new skills.”
They’ve already missed out on competitions. They hope not to miss anymore, but they need a space to help them hone their craft.
Dautrich also said they’re not the only Pop Warner dealing with this. They would be willing to collaborate with another group if they could make it work.
You can contact Dautrich at email@example.com