Pep Clubs

………..Pep Clubs have been around for a long time. Our little  community also had them back in the day.

I remember being a member of a Pep Club in Junior High  (the 70’s). We were the Thunderbird Pep Club. There were about 30 of us, and back then, spirit groups really were one group.

The Pep Club came to all the games and activities with the cheerleaders, and the drill team. Yes we had cheer and drill in junior high (middle school). The Pep Club didn’t dance, but we did everything else!

We all had uniforms (we made them back then). There wasn’t a Varsity Team Leader shop on line to order them from.  Actually, there wasn’t even an internet back then.

The Pep Clubs gave the “busy” moms some place to show off their skills and do fun little projects with the girls as well. Some of those moms were so crafty it was unbelievable. Pep Club really was a community service thing.

There are teams  that really set the standard for what Pep Clubs are about. The most successful have wonderful parent support, in the right place at the right time. That’s what it’s about – being in the right place at the right time.

A lot of people really don’t know the difference between a Pep Club, a Drill Team, and a Cheer Squad. A lot don’t know what a spirit team is. A spirit team is your combined drill, cheer and pep, all working together to support their team – not apart, but together.  When you look in the stands “they all sit together“!  That is the big difference right there.  They sit together, they support the team as one big spirit team or pep club.

Unfortunately for my small community, they no longer have Pep Clubs. A lot of team spirit and camaraderie has vanished. Many girls and moms that would have excelled in Pep, are forced to align themselves with teams that, if given another option – they wouldn’t join. Not because the teams are bad, but rather, they don’t fit their ideas and needs.

Mom’s who are really out there into fundraising, car bashes,  floats, and kiddy carnivals, they benefit the most from a Pep Club. These moms need that high energy.  It takes a special type of coach to utilize their parents into a pep club.

Did you know that when your child graduates from high school you become unemployed? Laugh now…

It’s so hard to let go. I do understand that empty nest thing. I also understand wanting to get your child involved in the BEST things. But you know what, dog-gone-it, they leave us anyways. It’s our job to help them spread those wings and fly. It’s our responsibility.

A Pep Club would really help solve a lot of problems for students and parents in need of a different outlet. Parents need to be needed too!

The role of the parent really does become more and more limited as our children age. But if we are setting good examples and being productive in service work to help out a cause, chances are that our kids are going to remember those things. Kids enjoy coming around their parents when their parents perform. Kids want to look up to their parents. If the parent is too busy looking up to the kid, you might be in for a rough and rocky road ahead.

It’s been kind of reversed for some parents. Not because they asked for it, but due to lack of opportunity in  small communities, or poor administration.

There are a few that will tell you, they fell into that trap of trying to live their lives out through their children’s performances. They ended up neglecting their own lives. That isn’t what your kids want – or need.

Kids really do want their parents to set a good example. They want them to be the parent that they can show off to their friends, so they can say “See that is my parent  over there in that booth, or running the event, or taking tickets’, etc.

It’s cool to watch the parents who have been total stage moms/ dads get involved with an organization like a Pep Club – their purpose starts to change almost immediately. They actually revert back to where they need to be – “being a parent”. They’re the role model again, not the kid performing on the stage. When kids see this kind of behavior they are more likely to seek out the parents for advice and guidance.

Being a side line parent at youth events, means we kind of have to let go. We are side line cheerleaders for our children. Inside we know that the time is coming when we have to fully let go.  But…. if we are active in our own activities – our children might just want to stay a little longer and learn from us and not their peers.

Summary: parents you need to be active in your own events and not all caught up in your children’s events. Yes, be there for your children – but take some time and do things that you want to do too…. You deserve it! Lead by example.

Pep Clubs are for everyone to learn valuable skills that will make them  be productive in a working society. Not only that, but it helps them learn team sportsmanship through going to the games, and rallying for their teams.  It involves parents and students.

If you are locked into a dance or cheer sport that you don’t really want to be locked into – you should approach your Principle at your school and see if they might consider a Pep Club. A Pep Club with strong parent support is a way to build positive memories of doing thing together, it also builds school spirit and unity.

Some people just want to throw parties and be a shining light in the  community they live in.  That’s okay. There is a need! More than enough need!  Bring it!

Find your own niche’ – be your own person. Let your little light shine.

You get what you pay for in this old world. If you shop at Target, don’t expect to get Tiffany products. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and confess what your head and heart really want.

Peace of mind. It’s a great thing. Go for the “BEST – tried and true” , not the “ah maybe this will work”.

I hope you will all look into Pep Club, if not for yourself, then for someone who you know would be good at it.

Go take back your life. Volunteer. Set a good example. This is what sororities are for too. Pep Club is just a precursor. There is so much to learn in a sisterhood.  Loyalty is a virtue that once learned, lives with you a lifetime.

Good luck moms and girls.

Go Teams!

Cheers Jan

Working with what you have “Bring it”!

Having just came back from college and dancing on a college team, I was excited about helping my new students understand what it was like to perform for a mega size crowd.

When I met my group.  I discovered I had 2 beginners, a number of  regulars and a couple ADHD kids. “What can you do with them,”  I heard one mom ask?  I heard complaints that they never listen, they are disruptive in class, they pick on each other, and the parents are difficult.    I thought to myself  “oh, a normal class”.

Before I start I want to praise that little group of dancers.  They beat their peers in the same age and category at nationals.  They beat them despite the odds of being called the misfits.

The class no one wanted – beat the favorites.

What was wrong in the normal way of thinking toward these kids, was that no one was willing to believe in them.  The kids didn’t believe in themselves either.  They had been told that they  were just too much work for the pay, or the time, etc.

I’ve worked with kids  with ADHD in the past on  solo & duet  routines.  This was my first attempt at teaching them in a group setting, and with more than one in the group.

I never looked at that team as being anything more than trainable.  I was into the lesson plans for over two months before someone told me “those are the misfits no one wanted”.  My jaw probably dropped to the floor with that comment.  I was so mad.  Not at the girls – but the adults making the statement.  All I could think in my own mind was “Bring it“!

I grew up with girls who had forms of ADHD, leg problems, asthma, depression,  stomach problems, slowness, you name it.  What had happened between my generation and this new one?    What had changed? Nothing!  They said the same thing about us.   Yet, we all went out and busted the rules, and took championship titles  away from the elites.  Someone(s), somewhere believed in us.

Truthfully, my generation was helped by the use of older dancers in the studio where I trained.  It is their instruction that helped my age group become so successful at competitions.   I still admire those women today.

Number one –  and only one.

Kids are kids, I don’t care what physical or mental element they might have.  You take what you are given and you “MAKE IT WORK”.  You train each one as if they were a star!  A winner!   You encourage them to be all they can be, and not to worry about their peers perception of them. Prove them wrong.

If you were looking for a medical prescription to deal with ADHD, or other problematic conditions – my class wasn’t  the place.  Rather it is where I learned a few skills necessary to keep them learning, and challenge them to be successful.  I used a lot of the same techniques that I was taught from the older dancers of my time.

-turn the music up
-keep things moving
-always have something new to learn
-challenge them to the same rules you challenge their classmates
-give them a chance in the spot light.
-laugh with them, and accept their sense of humor
-give rewards
-listen to them
-Be sharp, be consistent, raise your voice above the music so they can hear you over the music.
-Look them in the eye
-Demonstrate the technique
-Be firm and don’t give in to drama

I  adore the little girls that they beat at Nationals.  They were GOOD!  They still are, and winning at other locations.  I also have great respect for their instructor as well.   Their instructor taught me at one time.  She was one of those older dancers back in my day.

But I love and adore the little girls who everyone said couldn’t do it!

The reason they won was simple.  It wasn’t just that they were learning technique (some of them the basics), but they were using new movements that fit THEM.  The movements fit their team style.  They were new, creative, and fresh.  They had the advantage.

They were taught to perform and go beyond that level of expectation.    They exceeded all those goals.  They were given the opportunity to “Bring it”, and they did!

You have to use the problems as a learning tool.  Accept  who they are, and go from there.  Every student deserves a chance.  You might have some rough areas to work out first, but children do learn.  They learn so rapidly at the younger ages, than the older students do.

Never give up – Never give in!  Bring it!

Love to you all – you little Diva’s!

Cricket