Updated: Sep 23
While the rest of the cheer world deals with Covid-19, gym closings, five lawsuits (and counting) plus social and national media attention (the kind it doesn’t like), CheerMAD focuses on safe ways parents can keep their children engaged in cheer.
We all recognize the importance of cheer in our child's life. The life skills -determination, patience, working as a team, -the list goes on. The time spent (in the past) with our children the conversations in the car driving to and from to practice (camp, clinic, private, class, choreography, boot camp, bonding events) or during a travel weekend with our child is priceless. It’s not only beneficial for your child’s psyche but let’s be honest, we’ve spent years and many dollars on these skills and talents and don’t want to see it all go to waste.
Plus, as much as the kids miss performing, we parents miss watching them cheer (sharing their victories on social media themselves).
While your coaches and gym owners are trying hard to salvage this season, parents are the ones in charge of what the kids do and ultimately don’t do.
Here’s something parents can do: Bring your athlete to the safe place to cheer.
Paragon XL Championships is a new, safe (and very different) virtual competition; “America’s Got Talent meets ESPN Sports Talk.” Competition is divided into solo (one athlete), duos or trios. The kids create their own routine, make a 1.5 minute video and submit it -all from the safety of their own homes.
Submissions are judged by a panel who are videotaped for the utmost transparency and then both routine and judging are posted on the CheerWeek App. Entrants move up by the judge's score and a "People's Choice-like" viewer's scores. As the weeks progress, participants are chosen to move forward for semi-finals, finals and the ultimate awards show with prizes like a role on the "Power of Rah: Glory and Gold" series, which will be exclusively available on CheerWeek.
And then the series begins again. Five, 10-episode cycles of Paragon XL Championships bring 50 weeks of cheer that your child and kids like them created and can seen by the cheer world.
To join the competition:
Go to https://www.paragonxl.net/virtual-competition.html to register
Gather your athlete(s) and video a 1:30 routine to upload as your entry
Get ready to watch the competition on the free CheerWeek app
For more information on the competition, visit Paragon XL Championships or contact the Paragon XL Office at email@example.com
Full disclosure: ParagonXL Championships will only be available to watch on the CheerWeek App. I am the Co-Founder and President of CheerWeek, which was created to be a safe place for the cheer community to come together. For four years I have worked on CheerWeek, the last two I admit at some sacrifice to CheerMAD. Now that CheerWeek is launched, that will no longer be the case, in fact, while CheerWeek is geared towards athletes, I never lose site of the importance of the cheer parent. It's always about the parent and child.
In fact, I consider CheerWeek to be CheerMAD's child.
As a parent myself, I based the App on all the things that are important to you and I made sure CheerWeek is a safe place for kids. Here are just some of the ways we do that:
-It was created by the cheer community for the cheer community. The creators of all content are mostly cheerleaders, although we also have some of the best choreographers, independent event producers and gym owners too.
-It’s a way to stay together while apart because it’s a re-imagined, online platform--especially while physical distancing is necessary, and gyms are closed, your kids can still come together to show off skills, routines and still connect with the cheer community
We’re all inclusive: well-known and up-and-coming cheer athletes, teams and personalities from gyms of all sizes and shapes share their hopes, dreams and challenges both on and off the mat. We’re developing new ways for everyone to be on the App-like if they enter the ParagonXL Championships.
-We have vetted and approved content providers, some of the best athletes and programs in the industry, that were chosen for their behavior as much as their skills.
-There’s no cyber-bullying, commenting and trolling: these ills of confidence and wellness don't have a chance to grow because they are eliminated to begin with. The CheerWeek App is a mobile network for viewing, not a social media for interaction.
Our cheer world has changed: Gyms are closed, routines have been disrupted and competitions are on hold, but CheerWeek is always open: a safe, positive space to share stories of joy, strength, determination and dedication, where all are welcomed, heard and supported.
For young athletes, CheerWeek is a place for support and recognition in the world of cheer, a place to build stamina and resilience, not only physically, but socially and emotionally, as they grow into young adulthood and learn to navigate the real world.
It’s been ten years since I created CheerMAD and the goal has always been to support the cheer parent. I believe CheerWeek is a product of all that CheerMAD is-there’s nothing more important to a parent than a safe place for our kids. In a world that is suddenly more uncertain and chaotic, we all need that sense of community more than ever.
The CheerWeek App is free and can be downloaded at your Google Play or Apple stores. And just for a moment, I’d like to talk about money. When it launched in March, CheerWeek was a subscription App. We surveyed parents and $7.99 a month was a “sweet” amount. But charging a fee wasn’t a money-grab: research shows that social media and internet spaces are less attractive to predators because they have to submit credit card, and other information to get access. While nothing could be 100% safe, this was as good as we could do.
But a couple of weeks before launch, Covid-19 hit and everything changed. People were losing jobs and, though $7.99 was an easy pay last fall, this spring it was another cost to financially scared families. So we lowered it to .99 but after the riots, political jousting and other divisive events in society, we felt a free App was the way to go.
I also invite you to click through this CheerMAD website. It has been revamped and if you haven't visited in awhile you will notice the new color scheme and pages (and we're creating new pages as I write this). The logo was changed several months ago as well to represent what CheerMAD stands for: The three figures at the bottom on the pyramid represent the gym owner, coach and event producer, the next two figures represent the CheerMAD-the moms and dads of cheer who are the bridge between the industry (below) and the athlete tumbling above.
Today is a very special day for me, and for all of us. Not just because I believe in what we are building but because our FaceBook page passed 45,000 followers, with more than 12 million engaged viewers a year. CheerMAD is the largest cheer parent group in the world. It’s an honor to have your trust and I not only treasure it, I protect it while supporting you.
Never forget. The parent IS the industry. We are the customers, the decision makers and I am honored to be a voice for you.