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It began at an NCA Cheer camp back in 1954 where one team stood out among the rest. It wasn't for their talents, rather for their attitudes. They couldn't keep up with the others. They weren't coordinated or technically skilled. But they were the backbone of the camp; they were always the first to arrive in the morning to class and the last to leave, they were always cheering everyone else one, they always had the best attitude and they worked great as a team. What they symbolized was far more than any display of technical skill or talent. They represented the pure essence at the very core of Cheerleading; they stood for spirit in every sense of the word. However, their spirited performance wasn't the kind the NCA scoring process recognized with a ribbon of excellence, a praise every other team would receive. Yet it was this team's vibrant, positive energy that bolstered the camp, a creed Lawerence "Herkie" Herkimer wanted to instill in the NCA. Knowing he couldn't just up and change the scoring and award process, "Herkie" was in a quandary. He quickly needed something to acknowledge the impact the team had on the others. In expressing his desire to the other instructors, "Herkie" spontaneously reached for a twig off a tree and declared it the official "Spirit Stick". He knew that as awesome as the team was, they wouldn't care if they were handed a simple stick. The NCA "Spirit Stick" has evolved, from a simple tree limb, being cut, painted and dried in Herkimer's a red, white, and blue wooden dowel, now manufactured by the thousands. It's now an integral part of summer camp honors given to teams that exemplify the Spirit as defined by NCA. A first place ribbon isn't complete without a "Spirit Stick".

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Q: What is the history of the spirit stick?
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