Terri Koepenick brings cheer to her community in an unconventional and inspiring way. Since 2019 she’s seen a radical dream come to life with the Sun City Shadow Hills Pom Squad, California’s first 55+ cheerleading squad. Ranging in age from 55 to 94, the members of the Sun City Shadow Hills Pom Squad show their community spirit at grand openings, parades, festivals, and nursing homes. For Joyce, it’s more than she ever thought possible.
After watching a movie featuring a group of friends who started a cheerleading squad at their retirement community, Terri was struck with a fantastic idea. Why not do the same in her community of Sun City Shadow Hills? To her, it seemed like a fun way to stay active and get involved. She shared her idea with her friend Joyce McPeek, who was supportive and equally ambitious. Their excitement was contagious – after approaching their friends and extended social circles, over 20 women signed up within a few days!
Community members loved seeing the team’s joy and spirit – and for the remainder of 2019, the Pom Squad was booked left, right, and center. They were even catapulted into overnight fame after being featured on major TV stations such as NBC Palm Springs. ‘Who knew I was going to be an It Girl now?’ Joyce exclaimed in that interview.
The team continued to grow in new ways and they soon welcomed Dennis, their first male cheerleader. To keep up with the incredible demand from their community, they began to hold extensive practice meets twice a week.
“It’s an incredible commitment and very commendable,” Terri says, “I have to acknowledge the time and dedication of everyone who got involved.” Terri balances her duties as President of the Pom Squad with her full-time career as Director of Operations for a science and engineering firm in San Diego. “It’s worth the joy our cheerleading brings to people in the community!”
After a long break in light of the pandemic, the Sun City Shadow Hills Pom Squad is back up and cheering. This time they’re working with the legendary Sherri Thompson, the longest-running cheerleading director for the NFL. She also boasts an impressive 35-year career coaching the Seahawks Dancers after being one herself. Sherri was inspired by the spirit of the Pom Squad and volunteered to coach the team to prepare for the many parades and festivities that begin this month.
Joyce, Terri, and the rest of the Sun City Shadow Hills Pom Squad love the rewarding result of getting out of their comfort zones. Bringing happiness to their community in this unconventional way has been highly fulfilling. They look forward to what the future brings, and they rejoice in the generosity of their sponsors’ and community’s endorsement.
“Sometimes you don’t feel like you have a lot to offer, but it’s surprising how you can help others, whether it’s getting them off the couch or even just giving them a smile,” Joyce says.
See your Sun City Shadow Hills Pom Squad at these upcoming events:
SCSH Golf Cart Parade, Dec 4, 2021
PS Festival of Lights Parade, Dec 4, 2021
Heritage Palms Golf Cart Parade, Dec 5, 2021
Dr. George Charity Car Show, Feb 12, 2022
Want to get involved in the team or book the Sun City Shadow Hills Pom Squad? Visit their site at www.pom-squad.org to learn more.