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Twin Falls color guard team blazing trail for others

Coach Jennifer James said in the early days of the program, she is most proud of her team’s work ethic
Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 5:31 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — At a time when many schools nationwide are reducing their offering of extracurricular activities, one local high school has added a new program.

During the first week of August, Canyon Ridge High School in Twin Falls held its first color guard camp. While expectations were modest at the time, just over a month later there are now 14 enrolled participants.

Coach Jennifer James said in the early days of the program, she is most proud of her team’s work ethic.

“These guys work their tails off,” James said. “They get up super early to be here from 7:00 am to 7:45 am and then they do it during their advisory for 15 minutes, and they take part of their Saturday and dedicate it to color guard.”

James is additionally a Parent Educator at Canyon Ridge High School. She said coaching the team has allowed her to rediscover the passion she has for color guard, an activity in which she participated during her teenage years. She believes that personal experience has allowed her to be a better coach for the team.

“I get to tell them the stories of the fun things I did, so I get to bring all of those things with me that I learned,” James said.

One member of the team joined after encouragement from a parent.

“My mom said it would be fun and I wanted to give it a try,” said color guard participant Rebekah Beavers, who added she has made new friends since joining the team.

This color guard team is a first for the school. Some members have already seen benefits from performing with the team.

“It’s actually helping me with stage fright, which I have a major case of,” said team member Cheyenne Medley.

Medley added when she joined the team she initially did not realize they practice before school, but she decided to join nonetheless.

“When I found out it was before school it kind of gave me a heart attack because I’m not a morning person,” Medley said. “I came anyway and it turned out it’s actually a lot of fun.”

10th-grade student Esther Jasmine said she participated in cheer and color guard while living in Africa prior to immigrating to Idaho. She said she has found her experience at Canyon Ridge to be different than what she had abroad.

“The coach is like connecting with you and she’s teaching like all of these moves she feels like you can know,” Jasmine said. “She believes in you.”

While twirling tall flags may look easy to some, both team members and James mentioned the activity’s physical difficulty.

“It’s a lot of arm and shoulder movement,” said James. “We do a lot of running and it’s jazz runs, so flexed feet. It’s not easy. It’s a really challenging sport.”

On what is a team of trailblazers, members said they are proud of how the team has unified and pushed each other towards success.

“If you want to do something really badly, you just put it in your heart and you do it,” Jasmine added. “That’s exactly what they’re doing. So, they are literally taking time out of their lives to do it, which means they love it.”

While the 13 participating members of the team are currently all girls, James encourages anyone at Canyon Ridge High School who is interested to join.

James added the lessons learned in color guard transcend the activity itself, as team members are held to a high standard both in and out of the classroom, as they are representatives of the school at all times.

Correction: Original story incorrectly said this was the first color guard in Twin Falls School District.

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