Stephanie Mateczun, Buffalo Jills Cheerleaders director, shares some thoughts on the Jills trip to visit the United States troops in Kuwait. Kelly, Jills cheerleader, will share the Jills' experiences and photos with buffalobills.com throughout the week.
Eight Buffalo Jills Cheerleaders are currently in Kuwait visiting the United States troops for the ninth time since the Iraq war began. Another group of Jills will be visiting the troops in Saudi Arabia at the end of January.
The response from the troops is always overwhelming and life changing for the cheerleaders. We, of course, just want to say "Thank you" to them for all they do for our country, but they continually say "thank you" to the cheerleaders for their time and effort in coming to see them.
One of the most popular questions we are asked is, "Are the girls really that safe when they go overseas?" The answer is a strong, "Yes!" The military and production company that sends the girls has them very carefully guarded and protected. They are on the U.S. bases 100% of the time and are never permitted to go off-base.
The tours are usually about 10 days long. After arriving at their first military base, they immediately go to work at many scheduled meet & greets as well as performing a highly choreographed, 45-minute variety show at least once or twice per day. The show includes dance routines as well as interactive games with the troops like NFL trivia & a dance contest. The cheerleaders even bring prizes for the troops who participate in the games.
Usually, each day after their performance at a base, the cheerleaders will travel either via Black Hawk helicopter or plane to their next U.S. base. Sometimes the ride is bumpy, but it's quite an experience to say the least. The Jills have to wear military travel gear just like the troops do, as well as carry all of their own belongings each time they move from base to base. Whatever they bring, they carry. It is not a cushy trip by any means!
Why do the Jills Cheerleaders do it?
It's an experience they would never get outside of being an NFL Cheerleader. It's our chance to do some small part in thanking our troops for all they do for us. Everyone comes back a changed young lady after this experience. Several girls have signed up for numerous overseas trips because it has impacted them so much.
Kelly will be sending updates of the trip to buffalobills.com and she will share the Jills' experiences and photos with Bills fans throughout the week.