Local Cheerleaders Change Lives and Inspire Others

How Harford County's Cobras Break Barriers

By Marisa Russell
A cheerleading team of 14 athletes and 10 helpers seems small, but the love that fills the Cobras is enormous. The Cobras are a part of the Vipers Cheerleading organization and represent the Special Olympics of Harford County.  The team competes at many local competitions and functions, Coach Nicole Dover says in the past two seasons the team has received gold at the Special Olympics in the highest division possible for a special needs team. Nicole Dover enjoys every minute of coaching the team, "Hands down I love our performances", but the experience doesn't come without difficulty for the coaches, the athletes, and the parents involved.

"Team helper" Emily Haskell, says that often times they have to come up with creative ways to teach the cheerleaders the routine but overall the experience is one she cherishes.  Emily has been a part of cobras for three seasons, "They're the ones doing the skills, I'm just there to help them if they have a question."   Her job as a helper in the routine is to assist any athlete in remembering motions or positions to make the routine look as good as possible.

One cheerleader, Lauren Kennedy, has been on Cobras for seven years and shown enormous improvement. She loves doing her jumps and having fun with her teammates at practices, competitions, and team bonding events. Her future goal is to be able to help others on the team grow and to become a team leader.  Lauren is already well on her way to achieving this goal.         

The Cobras have support from the helpers, the coaches and the very dedicated parents that work with the coaching staff to make the team an enjoyable experience for the girls. The Vipers Cheerleading Organization shares its gym facilities and gets financial support from the Booster's Club.

To see the Cobras perform a spectacular routine, sign up for the Special Olympics Inspiration Walk/ Run 5K.  The event takes place on April 27 th at 8:00 a.m. at Bel Air High School.

You can also see the Cobras compete at the Special Olympics this June at Towson University. The Vipers Cheerleading Organization invites anyone interested in trying out for Cobras or another All Star Cheerleading team to attend tryouts on May 11 th.  For more information on the team and the organization, visit www.viperallstars.com .

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