Growth… or not

Thomas Academy cheerleaders performingI recently worked with several of our youth as a cheerleading coach for Thomas Academy. When we were in cheer practice or at the basketball games, my intention was always to treat the cheerleaders fairly. They were all my squad.

Then an issue came up with two of the cheerleaders. We were at a game where the other team had a cheer squad that competes statewide. They were doing stunts and fully demonstrating their skills. It was intimidating and our squad was getting nervous about performing their halftime routine. After a full conversation/pep talk, all but two cheerleaders agreed to take the court for the performance. One of them had been a leader on the squad all season. Both had actually taught the routine we were doing. I reminded them of that and shared that they were being disrespectful to their teammates. I told them per the cheer contract they signed that if they did not do the halftime routine, they would not cheer at the next game. Both chose to remain on the sidelines.

While this was disappointing, what happened over the following days was eye opening.

One cheerleader just stopped coming to practice and began divisive and disruptive behaviors

The other cheerleader contacted me the day after she refused to do the halftime routine. She apologized, admitted that she’d been intimidated by the other squad, and asked if she could apologize to the squad. She did exactly that. Even though she’d still get nervous before halftime, she stepped up to perform.

This experience demonstrated the choice our youth are asked to make every day. One of the girls chose to grow from the challenging situation. The other chose not to, instead moving back into old habits and behaviors.

Both of these girls are receiving the guidance and support of Thomas Academy. One is receiving the additional support of the cottage staff at B&GH. Ultimately, it comes down to the choices these girls make as to the outcomes they have from these programs. We provide the opportunities for growth and the encouragement to make the positive choice.

Will you chose to be a part of their growth opportunity?

How You Can Help.

Melissa Hopkins is the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

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