Cheerleaders pay visit to Park River residents

Girls from the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Junior All-Stars spent Saturday morning visiting with residents of Park River Estates Care Center, Coon Rapids.

Emmalee Eslinger, 9, who is a Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Junior All-Star, works on a flower arrangement watched by Julia Walz, a resident at Park River Estates Care Center, Coon Rapids.

Emmalee Eslinger, 9, who is a Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Junior All-Star, works on a flower arrangement watched by Julia Walz, a resident at Park River Estates Care Center, Coon Rapids.

It’s the second year that the junior all-stars have teamed with Forever Floral, Coon Rapids, to make fall flower arrangements with residents and to show them a few cheers.

According to Heidi Brady, a state award-winning floral designer at Forever Floral and a mother of a Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Junior All-Star, the flowers for the event were donated by Forever Floral and Koehler Dramm floral wholesalers.

Besides Park River, Forever Floral and the junior all-stars have collaborated for events at other nursing homes in the area, including Camilia Rose Convalescent Center, Coon Rapids, and at schools, Brady said.

“Park River is one of our customers and we at Forever Floral are hugely into supporting the community,” she said.

The Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Junior All-Stars are one of the first competitive junior all-stars squads in the National Football League (NFL), Brady said.

“The focus is on community skills and life service as well as being competitive cheerleaders,” she said.

According to Krisan Shimpa, one of the junior all-stars coaches, there are 40 members of the squad from first through eighth grades.

The girls have to apply to be a member of the squad, are chosen through try-outs and have a competition season from September through March, Shimpa said.

They are required to perform several age-appropriate dance skills, she said.

For competition, the girls are divided into three squads according to age – first and second grades; third and fourth grades; and fifth- through eighth-grades.

Co-captains of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Junior All-Stars are Meghan Brady and Leah Kays.

Community service, like the visit with Park River residents Saturday, is an integral part of the junior all- stars program, according to Shimpa.

So is public speaking and interacting with people, Shimpa said.

And they also get to perform at one Minnesota Vikings game each season, she said.

That happened to be Sunday when the Vikings beat the Detroit Lions 34-24 at the Mall of America Field.

Shimpa is one of four junior all-stars coaches and all four are former Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com


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