West Hollywood is full of cheer! That’s especially true with the upcoming launch of a third cheerleading group — West Hollywood Cheerleaders Eastside.
Eric Schmidt and his partner Jack Cline, former members of the Hollywood Cheerleaders, hope to have the group up and running in December with an official “kickoff” in January of next year. (The website is coming in November.) The two existing groups are the 30-year-old West Hollywood Cheerleaders and the West Hollywood Elite cheerleading group, which was founded in 2014. Adult cheerleading groups typically are founded to raise money for charities and feature women and men (often dressed in drag) performing at everything from softball games to gay Pride parades.
In an email exchange with WEHOville, Schmidt said he and Cline, his partner of 16 years, had been living in Los Angeles and consumed by work (Cline as a nurse practioner and Schmidt as a fitness trainer for showboys and showgirls who work in Las Vegas). referred to WeHo Cheerleaders Eastside’s mission statement to explain how it is different from the other cheerleading groups in West Hollywood.
“We were getting too busy to get involved in community events for a few years and began missing it, Schmidt said. “So, I made the decision to retire to spend more time with our dog and to do more volunteer work.”
Schmidt said that he and Cline tried out each of the existing WeHo cheerleading teams. “But we didn’t fit in. It wasn’t their fault. We just didn’t like the structure and the rules.”
“We wanted a more relaxed group. We didn’t want to learn routines and have meetings every week. and we wanted a group that had more social events. We admire the other teams, but we were looking for something different.
“We decided to form our own cheerleading team called The Hollywood Cheerleaders because we were living in Hollywood at the time. We had a very good time. We got to know the community well. We did a great deal of community work and got to know the LAPD and Chamber of Commerce. We cheered at the all the marches and marathons. We had no meetings, rules, uniforms, practices…it was all very informal. We did bingo at the Gay Senior Housing on a regular basis.
“But, now we live in West Hollywood and have dissolved the Hollywood Cheerleaders. We have become the West Hollywood Cheerleaders Eastside because 1) We live on the Eastside. 2) Most of the growth is occurring on the Eastside, and 3) We didn’t want a name that would confuse people with the other groups because our group is so different and unconventional.”
And how is WeHo Cheerleaders Eastside different? “… We offer a team where everyone will feel welcome with no fear of having to learn a routine or practice one, no membership fees, no member will ever be asked for money, no weekly meetings, everyone is equal, there is no president, no board of directors, no head cheerleader, no universal uniforms. Each person can choose his or her own outfit or cheerleader uniform as long as it has the WHCE logo on it, (we will help with that). “
“WHCE will march in Pride events, but we will not have a routine, we will walk/dance with our music, showing off our unique outfits, working the crowd handing out cold water and treats while making the crowd smile, laugh and feel proud. We will cheer on marathons runners and walkers, other charity walks/runs and rallies, protests and events.
“We will also have walking, hiking and social events for members when not doing cheerleading. We will encourage healthy living. We will have cookouts and holiday/birthday parties for members. WE welcome everyone. No experience required. All body shapes, sizes, colors, male, female, men in drag, women in drag, straight, gay, trans, all ages (over 18). All we ask is that you have good hygiene and not be a bitch.”
Schmidt said the group will choose an organization that will benefit from any fundraising it does. “WHCE will keep nothing. We will choose an organization that does the most and needs the most. We will not be a non-profit organization.”
Schmidt invites anyone interested in joining the group to reach out to him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org