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Why We Love This Place Wednesday: Little Grizzliette Dance Camp

By Terra Avilla

I was so excited to write about this week’s topic for a plethora of reasons. Number one, I absolutely, without a doubt, love the Lassen High School Little Grizzliette Dance Camp, hosted by the LHS Drill team.

Number two, it allows me another opportunity to write about my favorite human of all time, Shelley Bennett.

Those of you who were in attendance at last Friday’s football game were able to see the flock of little girls swarm the fifty-yard line of the field at half time to perform their totally adorable dance number. And boy, there were a whole lot of them, like at least seventy little princesses – bee-bopping on the ground.

But the reason I love this event is not contained between the goal posts of the football field. It’s the atmosphere Coach Shelley and her dancers create year after year for little girls in our community.

I love that my little girls get to be surrounded by older girls who are positive and uplifting. You are inclusive and kind. Oh, and patient. So, so patient.

Walking into dance camp, the cafeteria was filled with a circle of dancers playing “Little Sally Walker” (A camp favorite – and thank you very much, the girls continue to sing it days after camp is over).

The energy is tangible. Excitement and a little nervousness. And pink bows everywhere.

The Lassen girls circle the campers and encourage them to sing along and “break the ice.” Most girls are happy to play but those that need a little more convincing have a spot at this camp too.

The dancers are soft and make sure they aren’t intimidating. Making sure that the circle, both physical and metaphorical, is big enough for all the little girls.

Peach did this camp pre-Covid and she loved it as a five-year-old. She still loved it as an eight-year-old. And my very wild four-year-old loved it too, although I don’t know how much dancing she did rather than sitting on the dancers’ laps and taking breaks to color.

But she loved it, nonetheless.

I checked them in to camp and enjoyed the couple hours break knowing they were in good hands. Coach Shelley, even audited the lunch Pearl packed herself which was good because it consisted of chips, her wallet and her favorite rocks.

I picked up my girls and saw so many familiar faces. The beautiful Lively girls, a Hahn or too, Peach’s besties Harper and Katie as well other beautiful faces I have come to love over the years of living here.

The “camp” is so much more than a camp.

The night of the show, a group of moms had congregated at the field as we mapped out where we would watch and film our daughters dance. And while we waited for our stars to take the field, one of the best moments was watching them cheer, and the stars in their eyes, as they watched the drill team dance before them.

They were enamored with these girls, and I am totally okay with that. Also, as we waited, I sat on the damp grass with other mommas. Other mothers (and fathers) that I am friends with some just acquaintances and some I had never seen. But we all sat there together in solidarity waiting to cheer on our dancers.

It was fun for us too, because you see this camp is so much more than a camp.

One last thing struck me as I was leaving the field. I saw Beautiful Jen Wood hugging her dancer after she had performed. The beauty in this is that not that long ago, Jen was a Lassen High School dancer, and has probably put on camps like this for other people’s daughters, and now, with last Friday’s performance, a circle had been completed. A circle we have in our community. Our one-of-a-kind community, with this one-of-a-kind camp.

Which is, of course, more than just a camp, and obviously one of the reasons I love where we live.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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