Apache Belles prove that they do more than just dance

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High-kicks, leaps and turns are not all there is to the TJC Apache Belles. They may be known for their precision in dance, but they are also known as “good will ambassadors,” said Director of the Apache Belles Ruth Flynn. Most assume the Belles are an organization for only TJC performances and shows; however, many do not realize that they are also an organization of good deeds and charity. “As a classified non-profit organization, aside from halftime performances and spring show, the main things that we do are appearances for other non-profit and charitable organizations across the state of Texas,” said Apache Belle Administrative Director and Apache Belle Gold President Jasilyn Schaefer. Not only does each team member put in long hours of practice for every performance, but they are also required to have a full load of classes with 12 hours, and must maintain a 2.0 GPA.Many students do not know “the sacrifice they put forth for TJC and the love they have for not only the team but the college they represent,” said Schaefer. This includes representing TJC and its commitment to community service.The list goes on from appearances to performances all over Texas, such as the Association for Retarded Citizens Boo Ball on Oct. 30, 2009 and Senior Citizens Day at East Texas State Fair on Sept. 24, 2009.”It’s a tradition for us to do stuff like that, and it’s a great experience performing for the senior citizens at the East Texas State Fair, and they really do appreciate us as the Apache Belles, and it’s really great because the senior citizens of Tyler know about our organization and really respect us,” said Freshman Belle Hope Harrell.”It’s a great experience to give back to the community because they do so much for us and especially that age group because they know so much about us and our traditions,” said Harrell. The Belles made another appearance on Dec. 8, 2009 for the Children’s Advocacy Center.”We brought a bunch of coloring books and different sorts of items and things to donate for each family. We spent time with the children and their families and had a really good time with them passing out gifts with Santa Claus,” said Harrell. “It was a cool and amazing experience doing this for these families. It really made me feel very grateful and was great to give back to the community of Tyler as an Apache Belle.” In fall 2009, the team made 10 appearances and performances for non-profit and charitable organizations. “We try to make an effort for anyone who calls us for performances or appearances,” said Flynn. The office phone line is ringing off the hook constantly to book the Apache Belles for appearances, shows and performances. The directors and team make an effort to go out and make as many performances and appearances possible, which can be very time consuming but well worth the experience.”All the practicing and hard work that we put in for our performances really pays off in the end because we are the internationally famous Apache Belles, and we get a lot of crowd and community support,” said Harrell.According to Flynn, since the beginning in 1947, the Apache Belles have always been good will ambassadors. “It’s a part of what we do is entertain but in the same sense we help out any way we can” said Flynn. The Apache Belles will continue their title as “good will ambassadors” on Feb. 6 with their annual Belle Babes winter workshop and basketball halftime performance. The workshop is for children from 4 to 12 years of age. The registration was on Feb. 1. Walk-in registration is available, however, the uniforms for the children are first-come first-serve. To learn more about Belle Babes visit www.apachebelles.com/belle_babes.

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