Senior women cheerleaders are spreading joy in Berks County: ‘It’s very good exercise’

SHILLINGTON, Pa. - For the past five years, a group of senior women at the Heritage of Green Hills retirement community have been meeting once a week for cheerleading.

They call themselves the Heritage Hotties Silver Poms cheerleading squad. Members are in their seventies, eighties and nineties.

Their repertoire includes cheers to classic songs such as "We Will Rock You", "Sweet Caroline" and "Pretty Woman".

"I consider it a part of my exercise regime, which I do all week," said Rosemarie Reinsel, 90. "It's good for our minds. It's a very good exercise in memory, especially long and short term, which we need."

Part of the inspiration for the Heritage Hotties started after watching the movie "Poms."

Cheerleading coach Kathy Lavanga said her daughter Elizabeth was a varsity cheer captain and kick-started the Hotties as part of her volunteer work before med school.

"It's just so nice because they came in five years ago going, 'I don't know if i can do this,' and now they just absolutely love it. They're so proud of themselves," said Lavanga. "We were looking at some of our old videos when we first started and they were like we weren't that good, but now look at us. We're so good!"

The most senior Hottie is Martha Davis who just turned 96 on November 4.

"I intended to retire but no they said no, you're a cheerleader," said Davis. "All of our team feels the same way. we hope and pray that people that see us will realize that you can do something, even if you're sitting on a chair!"

The Heritage Hotties recently made their Philadelphia debut performing their cheers at a nursing home. They've also shared their cheer at a few senior centers.

"We'd like to go to other places like St. John Neumann because those folks were just so receptive and appreciative and I know it made them feel good, but it especially made us feel good," said Reinsel.

Lavanga said the Hotties serve as an inspiration for all of us to just go for it.

"There's a couple of girls who were in cheerleading when they were young, but most of them have never cheered in their entire lives and now in their 70s, 80s and 90s they're doing something brand new. Sitting around no fun. Go out and enjoy every bit of life you can," said Lavanga.