Spirit sticks are used in pep rallies and competitions by cheerleaders to rally team spirit. One of these decorated sticks can be awarded to the person with the most team spirit or used to help lead the audience in cheering a sports team. Create a durable spirit stick for cheerleaders or get the kids to make their own from paper towel rolls in the classroom.
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History of the Spirit Stick
In 1945, the "grandfather of cheerleading," Lawrence Herkimer created the first cheerleading spirit stick. Herkimer was a man who helped create a number of firsts in the sport -- from the first uniform company devoted to cheer uniforms to the first cheerleading clinics where teams could practice and learn new routines. During a summer cheer clinic, Herkimer noticed the inspiring spirit of one of the teams. They arrived early, stayed late and cheered on other teams no matter what. He felt their spirit was something that all cheerleaders should have and wanted to recognize it. He cut down a tree branch, decorated it and presented it to the team in a small ceremony. This started the tradition of the spirit stick.
Quick Spirit Stick Craft for Kids
Get the kids involved in some school spirit by having them craft a quick spirit stick project. Use dowel rods or paper towel rolls, colored tissue paper, scotch tape, ribbon and packing tape. This project goes quickly because you won't need to use paint. Wrap a few layers of the tissue paper around the base of the stick and tape into place. Have the kids decorate the stick by wrapping colored ribbon around the stick and decorating the ends with curled ribbon. Secure everything by wrapping clear packing tape all the way around the spirit stick.
Painting a Spirit Stick
You can also craft a more durable cheerleading spirit stick with paint. Use a wooden dowel rod for this project. Find the exact center of the dowel rod. Wrap a piece of masking tape around the dowel rod just to the right of the center mark. Paint the spirit stick to the left of this masking tape all in one color. Allow the paint to dry. Remove the masking tape. Wrap another piece of masking tape around the painted section of the dowel rod just to the left of the center mark. Paint the right side of the dowel rod in another color. When dry, decorate the ends of the spirit stick with curled ribbon using hot glue.
Fun Spirit Stick Ideas
You can get extremely creative with the cheerleading spirit stick. This is one project where less definitely isn't more. Consider decorating the ends with piles of curled ribbon, bows and faux flowers. Glue on foam letters to spell the recipient's name, the team name or something inspirational. Pick up wood cutouts of stars, moons or a football to decorate and glue to one end of the spirit stick. Or you can use plastic tubes and fill them with candy. This is a good one for awards and little kids.