For the past 20 years, Hot Shots Cheerleading has provided children with an opportunity to become involved in cheer or gymnastics competition that they might never have even dreamed of.
Founded in 1999, Hot Shots is a national travel competition cheerleading program which offers tumbling and cheer classes for children of all ages and all abilities.
Part of the Hot Shots program is the Shining Stars, where youngsters are placed into developmentally appropriate classes that are designed to make every child feel like an all-star. The program is for children between the ages of four and 21 and runs four months out of the year.
Emily Thompson, a member of the 2017 national champion cheerleading team, got involved with the Shining Stars as another way to serve the community. She was already coaching the Hot Shots and felt like working with the special needs team would even be more rewarding and helpful when she goes into the workforce as a teacher.
“It takes lot of patience to be able to understand the kids and really build relationships with them,” Thompson said. “But when you see the happiness they have when they are able to get out there a do a routine and nail it, it fills my heart with joy.”
Amanda “Hawk “ Williams, a member of the Kennesaw State University championship chearleading team, also coaches the Shining Stars.
“I pretty much grew up at Hot Shots,” Williams said. “Just seeing the kids open up out of their shell ... they’ll compete in front of an audience and their faces light up, their personalities come out and it’s one of the most fulfilling roles in my life.”
The Shining Stars program offers the participants an opportunity to cheer at a variety of events, including the Georgia High School Association’s annual competition championships event in Columbus each year.
While some were signing up for the Shining Stars program, other youngster came out Sunday to enjoy the monthly Birthday Club celebration. Grant Magness, CFO for Hot Shots Cheerleading, said the event gives parents the opportunity to drop the kids off for a couple of hours, let them play with other kids and give mom and dad a little bit of a break.
“We’re like goalies,” Magness said, “We’re seeing everything and keeping everybody in front of us.”
In addition to the Rome facility on Iron Street, Hot Shots also has a center in Fort Oglethorpe.