Not many cheerleaders are 41 years old, or in wheelchairs, but one honorary cheerleader for American Fork High School is both.
Camille Carver was born with cerebral palsy, the result of a difficult birth. She ended up living at the Utah State Training School until she was 17, when she was taken into the Warren home. Zella Warren had cared for her at the school and decided to have her join their family.
Carver has lived with the family for the last 25 years.
A graduate of Dan Peterson School, Carver now attends workshop, where she receives care and attention, watches movies, listens to music, goes for rides and does crafts according to her ability.
Those abilities have changed through the years. While she used to be able to do more, her movements have become less and less. At workshop, they do physical therapy to keep her as mobile as possible.
One thing that hasn't changed is her love for cheerleaders. She has always been interested in them -- their smiles, their routines and especially their pompoms.
She loved to shake her pompoms, but family members found that sometimes the ones purchased in stores didn't last very long. Kevin Warren, Zella's son, mentioned that to his wife Kharent, who works at American Fork High School in the counseling department. One of her aides is Kelsey Campbell, a co-captain of the cheer squad.
Kharent Warren mentioned the pompom problem and Campbell decided to help.
"One day she told me about her sister-in-law who loved cheerleaders," she said. "When she was little she had a problem which resulted in cerebral palsy. In her head she is a lot younger than she really is. She shakes her pompoms and gets so excited."
Campbell built on that interest.
"For Christmas I put together a little package for her," she said. "It had pompoms, a cheer uniform, some trophies and a cheer bear with an American Fork uniform on it."
Carver liked it so much that she came to a girls basketball game in her wheelchair, wearing the uniform and with the pompoms attached to her. She was no longer able to hold them and shake them like she had previously, but could move them if they were fastened to her arms.
"It was so fun," Campbell recalled.
Campbell's co-captain Braelynn Barron also enjoyed the experience.
"At the game I had the opportunity to stand by her," she said. "She was so cute. She was just shaking her poms. We wheeled her out, then performed. We had her stay out with us."
The squad enjoyed Carver's spirit so much at that game that they decided to honor her again as an honorary cheerleader at the showcase they had Friday.
"When I found out about the showcase I asked Kharent if she could come and we could recognize her there," Braelynn said. "She was so sweet and happy."
Carver being able to respond like that was unusual.
"They hadn't seen her laugh like that in months," Campbell said.
"She was trying to talk and say stuff," Barron said. "That is why we asked to have her come back and be recognized in the showcase in front of all her friends and family."
Not only did the cheerleaders have an effect on Carver, she had an impact on them.
"Everyone stood up and clapped," Campbell said.
"It is not like we wanted to be recognized at all," Barron said. "It made us want to be better people. It is something we want to keep on doing -- having her involved with the squad."
"Everyone loved it, seriously," she said. "It was like she was a real part of the squad. We are grateful we had the opportunity."