Last weekend our Gymfinity Flyers went up against the country’s best cheer squads. Our senior team placed second by a small margin behind a long established team from Illinois. Our Mini team and Youth team did very well from large

(B) Coach Heather, Alyssa, Josie, (F) Hailey, Kaitlin, Kylee

(B) Coach Heather, Alyssa, Josie, (F) Hailey, Kaitlin, Kylee

fields, placing in the top half of all the teams attending. But one team stood out.

Last fall Gymfinity started a cheer team for girls with special needs. The coach, Heather Stapleton, is familiar with working with this population as her career training has been in special education and her passion for coaching cheer brings the two aspects of her life together seamlessly.  She has worked with the new team, which admittedly is small, with such spirit and care. The team of Hailey and Kaitlin are supported by members of the senior team; Josie, Alyssa and Kylee. These senior kids help to stunt and lead Kaitlin and Hailey during their routine but the driving force is the spirit and performance of these 2 girls.  At the end of the competition, our Gymfinity Flyers team was awarded National Champion in their category.  We couldn’t be more proud of these two cheer athletes, the team that supports them and their dedicated coach.

Following the performance and awards ceremony a little girl approached Ashley, one of our cheer directors. She said how much she loved the performance of our special needs team and her sister, who is living with Downs Syndrome, would be so happy if she could be a part of the Gymfinity Flyers program.  This little girl was asking for her sister to be given a chance to perform with the same enthusiasm and joy as our girls do.  Unfortunately they lived in far away Illinois, but it makes the case for more cheer programs to start programs for kids with special needs.  Every child should have the chance to wear the rewards of performing for an audience and working to show off their skills. Who knows, with enough hard work, enough dedication and support and the right coach and program they might just be able to call themselves “National Champions.”

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