Posted: Jun 24, 2010 2:00 PM by Allyson Weller
Updated: Jun 24, 2010 7:44 PM
MISSOULA - A team of special needs cheerleaders is looking to expand its squad with a little help from Missoula.
Victoria Lebsack joined a special needs cheer team three months ago, "My favorite part would have to be getting exercise, and having a blast, and being a dork doing it."
She practices with one other teammate and a coach once a week, for an hour.
"She is so excited, she's doing her whole room in lime green, and on Facebook it's all cheerleading, everything is cheerleading now, she's just got a self confidence that she's never had, and making friends, she's never had a real friend, it's just been awesome," mom Nanci Lebsack told us.
The program allows any athlete with special needs a chance to be part of a team. They get to travel with the other teams to competitions in Montana and out of state.
"To have a program like this, for them to come and progress at their own pace and to get as far as they can and have other kids that are at the same level as they are, is just really amazing for them," explained Special Needs Head Coach Toni Malek.
"We have tried other things, she tried soccer and team sports, autistic kids, you know it's hard for them because the rest of the kids go up and they keep moving up levels and she stays behind, so around third grade there was nothing left for her, team she can be apart of," Nanci Lebsack said.
The team has two athletes right now and are hoping to add more to the roster. It's the only special needs team in Missoula, so they want to get the word out.
"It's been good for everybody, for our special needs athletes and for our other athletes learning how to accept other for who they are and be caring," Galaxy Elite Atheletics Owner Jessica Lee commented.
Victoria is now a cheerleader like her sister, and has coaches teaching her new moves every week. Find out more about the program by calling Lee at (406) 544.6646 or be sending her an email.