It is hard to believe that MGA Cheer Extreme is approaching it’s 20 years in “The Macon!” When I sat back and looked at just how long 20 years was, I realized that MGA has been around longer than Google, YouTube, the I Phone, and Facebook. People were still using dial up Internet service (for those who even know what that is), hearing “YOU GOT MAIL” was cool, and people listened to music on CD’s. We even used to bring a cassette tape of our music to competitions as a back up in case the player couldn’t read your CD!!! There was no such thing as the Cheerleading Worlds, USASF, UCA All Star Nationals, or even different levels of All-Star teams. CheerSport had about 24 teams at it and was held in a High School in Atlanta Georgia and we played back our routines on a VHS tape instead of on our phones.
Considering that most small businesses fail within 4 years and believe me, I have seen my share of cheer gyms open and close not just in the middle Georgia Area, but across the country; I consider myself blessed to have been doing what I love for the past 19 years. One cannot be in business for 20 years, without asking why?
While MGA has had its fair share of National Titles over it’s 19 years, it has always been MGA’s mission to build champions on and off the floor. MGA’s mission has always been to teach kids about respect, discipline, teamwork, and perseverance, all while helping to build kids’ confidence. Don’t get me wrong, hearing “and your National Champions are MGA Cheer Extreme”, is an amazing feeling. At the end of day when the cheer shoes are hung, if we have not made a difference in someone’s life, what good are those titles?
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and MGA has always prided itself on being a village that parents have trusted for the past 19 years providing strong role models for their kids. While anyone can get a certification from the USASF and become an instructor; MGA has always felt it is one’s character and life experiences, which makes them a valuable MGA instructor. After all, how can I talk to kids about the importance of education, if I the owner, or my staff dropped out of school or did not attend college? The fact that 90% of the MGA staff is either in college or has a college degree or higher, allows us to draw upon our personal experiences and talk to kids about the importance of education and college. The staff using our personal stories to connect with the kids, showing them how important it is to never give up and through perseverance and dedication, they can achieve their goals. When the kids find out that I did not make my high school cheer team and instead of giving up, I got better. This helps our kids realize not to view failure as something negative, but as more of a learning opportunity to get motivated so they can get what they want out of life. Sure, every day our kids work hard, they sweat, and yes we challenge them and push them beyond their limits. We explain that no one is going to give you anything in life, that your work ethic will determine your success. We have found by making the MGA environment a positive place where kids don’t view mistakes as failure, but rather as learning opportunities, we are able to get kids to take chances. We celebrate our success with the ringing of the bell. When you are in the gym and you hear that sound of the bell, it signifies another goal accomplished! The whole gym stops and cheers on that individual for achieving their goal. This inspires others to become GREAT! Our Facebook and social media posts are inspirational and motivational. It is easy to be pessimistic, but true champions look for ways to the top of the mountain when they are standing at the bottom. They lead by example and they don’t complain about minor setbacks. We teach kids to be optimistic and find the good in all things and to jump over roadblocks, instead of standing in front them complaining. At the end of the day the kids expect me to stick to the MGA values. When I have to make a tough decision, they respect that decision, because they know it is what’s best for the team. MGA was built on teamwork and over the years has adopted the motto; “TOGETHER WE CAN!” This helps teach kids there are more important things in this world than themselves. It helps them realize that when people are counting on them, they have a responsibility to succeed. They do it not just for themselves, but also for those who are counting on them. They realize quickly they are a part of a family unit where they are cared for, needed, and most importantly loved. Yes over our 19 years we have made our share of mistakes, but instead of hiding them, we use them to teach kids that even adults make mistakes. We apologize for those mistakes and teach kids to use their mistakes as learning opportunities. We teach them that without failure one cannot have success. This is what makes the MGA Village strong! This is what we refer to as being #MGASTRONG!
It is that moment when the kids hit a perfect routine, run off the floor to hug their coaches. You watch parents, kids, and coaches screaming with tears in their eyes. It is that exact moment that I know we have become champions on and off the floor! It is that exact moment that I know the kids now understand that the lessons of discipline, perseverance, and teamwork have lead them to become successful, to become #MGASTRONG. Once they understand how to become #MGASTRONG, then they will continue to practice those MGA lessons in everything they do!
So thank you Middle Georgia for supporting the MGA program for the past 19 years! As we head into our 20th season, I can only hope and pray that our lessons will continue to shape the youth of today for a much brighter future of tomorrow.