Green Bay Elite making a difference

It can be challenging for people with disabilities to find activities they can take part in.

A local cheer team is proving, no matter if you have Down syndrome or are in a wheel chair, anyone with special needs can still enjoy life one cheer at a time.

From high flying trick to unbelievable flexibility, the Green Bay Elite All-Stars has some major talent. That includes 11-year-old Aubree Bahr.

This is Aubree’s second season with the team, but it’s her 13-year-old brother who is stealing the spotlight on the mat.

“He would come here with his sister when she would be having practice and one day we were sitting here with coach Kayla and he told her, ‘Kayla, I want to be a cheerleader too!’” said Amber Bahr of Appleton.

Caleb has autism. His parents Shane and Amber say finding different activities to help meet his needs can be somewhat of a challenge.

“A lot of sensory issues. He has, cognitive issues, he’s delayed quite a bit. Obviously size issues, he’s smaller but he’s just kind of himself,” said Amber Bahr.

So, the coaches at Green Bay Elite of the Fox Valley came together and formed a team for those with special needs called the Green Bay Elite Shining Stars.

“We’ve got nine on the Shining Stars, this is their first season! So, we are so excited for the support that we’ve had from our program and from their parents,” said Julie Spranger, Green Bay Elite Cheer.

Each Shining Star is partnered with a student coach. They show them how to tumble. Teach them the motions and lead them around on the floor.

“I… really… love… cheerleading,” said Brittany Giesen, Green Bay Elite Shining Star.

This is Brittany Giesen’s first time cheerleading. She’s made a lot of new friends since joining the team.

Last month, the Shining Stars performed for the first time to a packed house at Appleton North High School.

Members say there wasn’t a dry eye in sight.

“To see like everyone cheering for them, some of them started tearing up and stuff. So, I just think it’s really cool, I think they’re really happy performing,” said Aubree Bahr, Green Bay Elite.

Caleb’s parents say this team has done wonders for their son.

“His self-confidence is like through the roof! He is so excited, he looks forward to coming here and he gets home from school and he’s like, ‘Can I go get ready to go to cheer?’” said Amber Bahr.

“To be able to watch him, just do things that he enjoys doing and he has fun doing is always, I mean it puts a smile on your face,” said Shane Bahr of Appleton.

Organizers hope the team continues to be a light for others.

The Shining Stars competed in Madison Sunday and took home another trophy for their team.

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