CUMRU TWP., Pa. – They say stepping out of your comfort zone is a good thing, regardless of when you do it. A bad thing, though, is asking a lady her age. Some ladies in Cumru Township, however, don’t mind because, believe it or not, most are in their late 80s. One is 92.
“We don’t think about age too much when we do this,” said Carol Lauer, a resident of the Heritage of Green Hills in Cumru Township.
They’re nicknamed the Heritage Hotties. The ladies are turning up the heat thanks to a little inspiration.
The squad was formed when the ladies saw the feel-good movie “Poms” and thought it would be fun to start a team of their own, like the heroines in the film.
Luckily, Lauer’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Lavanga, is the former Berks Catholic varsity cheer captain. Now a pre-med student at Penn State, Lavanga offered to help the group of ladies get up and get moving for a community service project.
She took into consideration the Heritage’s model of health and wellness through activity and fun, and planned movements that help with balance, stretching, memory and endurance, and thus the Heritage Hotties were born.
“The name just stuck,” Lauer said.
Dressed in matching “Cheer by your own rules” t-shirts, the squad had its debut performance Monday afternoon.
“We laugh and laugh and laugh,” Rosemarie Reinsel said. “We have a good time, and what’s better for all of us than laughing?”
They don’t take themselves too seriously, either.
“We don’t know what we’re doing half the time,” giggled Lauer.
For some of the women, cheerleading was never an option years ago. Now, they’re living out their dreams. “I just love it, because it’s like a dream come true,” Reinsel said.
Playing the flute and joining the band was how she showed school spirit. She was overjoyed to say she cheered for her husband, who lives at a nearby retirement community, after 66 years of marriage. She also takes belly dancing and Zumba classes at Heritage.
Lauer also never cheered.
“I’m glad to do it, because I wanted to be one when I was in high school and I never got the chance,” Lauer said.
Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin” turns on and the ladies start to shake their pom-poms. The team is open to all residents, including those who prefer to cheer from a seated position. Enthusiasm is the only requirement.
“We just love it,” Reinsel said.
“This is a great place,” Lauer said. “We get up and around. We do things and we laugh about it. It’s just nice.”