Meet Ashley!

Ashley Matthews is one of our franchisees and an awesome Major Cheer coach. Our students and parents LOVE Ashley and we are so glad to have her on our team! To learn a bit more about Ashley, we had her answer a few questions and we think you’ll love it just as much as we do.

How did you meet Stacey?

I met Stacey at a “try it, see if you like it” class at Haile Middle School. I was just entering the 7th grade so I would have been 12 years old. I did the hour class along with 50+ girls and decided to come back for more. From there on, Stacey was my cheerleading coach for the next 5 years (with me cheerleading at a different school my freshman year). 

What impact has cheerleading had on your life?

Cheerleading made a huge impact on my life. I was introduced to cheerleading when I was in the 6th grade and cheered every year through my senior year of High school. Stacey, being my coach for most of my cheerleading years, made a big impact on the young woman I was growing into. Stacey has a mentor like personality and she pushed me to be the best me that I could be. By always taking her advice I became very confident and motivated to be the best that I could be, (in every aspect of this world, not just cheerleading).

 My junior year I was crowned the first homecoming queen at Braden River High. I believe I won not because of popularity; I won because I respected my peers and had a wide range and variety of friends. I was nice to everybody. Something I was taught as a kid and something Stacey continued to teach in cheerleading class. She always said, “treat others the way you would want to be treated”. She always told us (cheerleaders) that we are always being watched. We represented the school so that was a big responsibility for us. She was big on appearance, self-respect and holding a respectable reputation.

 At different cheerleading camps I won a variety of awards, (best all around, leadership, and dance). I know I put in the work, but I also know a lot of my cheerleading success is because of Stacey, who has very unique coaching skills.

My senior year I was chosen to be auctioned at the senior auction, where my fellow cheerleaders and Stacey were there to cheer me on. I also got the sportsmanship award my senior year at our first annual sports awards banquet. Lastly, I was chosen as most spirited for senior superlatives. All of these accomplishments and awards wouldn’t have been possible without me having the confidence I had endured throughout my years of cheering with Stacey. 

What made you decide to get involved in the business aspect of Major Cheer?

I had helped Stacey numerous times coaching after school programs and also at summer camps. I would say that cheerleading was my life. I enjoyed it. I used to always tell myself “I wish I could do what Stacey does for a living”. Who wouldn’t want to love what they do for work, right?! When the opportunity to become a Major Cheer Franchise owner became available, I didn’t even have to think about it. I knew it was a big decision to become a franchisee but I also knew it was going to be a positive new beginning for me. 

How has this decision impacted your life?

This decision has impacted my life in only positive ways. I can now be home at night with my children because the hours for coaching MAJOR CHEER allow you to do so. I also can say that while you do put in hard work at home for the business, it is all worth it to me when I get to practice and turn on the music. Of course, being able to do what I love and make a good living at the same time is a very positive impact as well.

What would you say to someone interested in becoming a franchisee?

I would tell them that number one, they have to love what they do in order to be good at it. They also should know that there is work to put in at home, and sometimes there are difficult decisions to be made. Being organized, loving what you do, making sure the cheerleaders have a great time at class and being able to deal with a huge variety of people is the biggest thing to remember.

What would you tell 16-year-old Ashley?

When I was 16 years old, I was in high school and I was involved in cheerleading and weightlifting. I was very much into cheerleading, I stayed after school for Varsity and also stayed after to help Stacey with Pee-Wee pirates (an after school cheer program Stacey held at the high school). I am 29 years old now and am doing what I enjoyed doing 13 years ago.

Who do you think would benefit or love being a franchisee?

I believe a person who loves the sport of cheer and loves kids would enjoy being a franchisee. 

What are the best things about this program? What, if anything, has been a huge surprise?

The best thing about this program is that I can get my work done at home for the business, which is a huge benefit because I have a 3 year old son who is not in daycare or school. I get to coach young cheerleaders who are so eager to be at practice and learn; that is such a reward to me. I love what I do for a living. Major Cheer provides a great income and allows me time to be a mom. That is the most rewarding thing about MAJOR CHEER.

Meet Dominique!

We are SO excited to introduce you to Dominique Jackson – Stacey Horton’s daughter, a Major Cheer coach and a cheerleader extraordinaire! Enjoy this Q&A to learn more about Dominique’s involvement with Major Cheer and how this sport has impacted her life. 

How has your mom impacted your life? How has being involved in Major Cheer together affected your relationship as mother & daughter?

My mom is always supportive in anything that I want to do.  We are very close already but being in the same business gives us something else to talk about and we can help each other if needed. 

How has cheerleading impacted your life?

I was a cheerleader from the time I was in second grade to my senior year of high school.  Cheerleading helped my self-confidence and brought me out of my shell when I was younger. Growing up, cheerleading was my main form of exercise and still is to this day. 

What made you decide to get involved in the business aspect of Major Cheer?

After I graduated college, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. Starting my own classes felt like the most obvious step for me. I participated in the program as a child and assisted my mom while I was in college. It was a bit scary being on my own at first, but with all my hands-on experience, it came naturally to me.

How has this decision impacted your life?

Starting my own business has had a positive impact on my life. I am financially stable, and have everything I need. I have the financial freedom to fund my other passion, which is animals. I have a small farm and try to give as many animals as I can a home.  Because I work from home and only leave for a few hours a day, I have the time to take care of all 75 of them. 

What would you say to someone interested in becoming a franchisee? Or getting involved in a sport of any kind?

I would say go for it.  If you like cheerleading and love kids, it’s the perfect job! You are your own boss and only leave your home for about 3 hours a day. I make the same amount of money working a few hours a day as some do working 40 hours a week. Being involved in sports is an excellent way to make friends and it gives you a sense of belonging. My students are always so excited to see each other at practice.

Who do YOU think would benefit or love being a franchisee?

I think someone just out of high school or college that doesn’t really know what they want to do would make a good franchisee. Maybe college isn’t for you. For what it costs for a college education, you can have your own business. If you’re stuck but are a hard-worker and know you want to be successful, it’s a very good opportunity. You definitely have to be a self-starter and motivated to make stuff happen. Someone that cheered in high school, college, or at the professional level and still wants it to be a part of their life…this is the best way!

What are the best things about this program? What, if anything, has been a huge surprise?

As an owner/franchisee: You get to work from home and only for a few hours a day. You are your own boss. It’s a very active job and you don’t have to sit at a desk all day. Classes are typically outside and you get fresh air and different scenery. 

As a parent/student: Classes begin right after-school. It’s very convenient for parents as they don’t have to pick up their children from school and drive them across town to attend a class. It’s also inexpensive compared to other programs. Students get A LOT out of our structured classes. We are learning/working/practicing the entire class.

Dominique, from all of us at Major Cheer – we are SO excited you’re a part of the team and a huge part of WHY Major Cheer started! 

Interested in learning more or joining the Major Cheer family? Contact us today!

Why Major Cheer?

Many communities don’t have reliable, structured after-school activities. This can happen because they don’t have the volunteers or those experienced to run the programs, they may not have teachers who have the time to dedicate to the extra hours or effort, or they may just not know what’s possible and what opportunities can exist. In 1996, Stacey, a former cheerleader, choreographer and dancer, and Major Cheer founder, enrolled her kids at Myakka City Elementary School in Florida and quickly realized the need for an after-school cheer & dance program. The school was 40 miles away from any type of gym or Pop Warner field, so she decided to jump in and create a program for the students and their parents. Being a parent of a student attending such a rural school, she understood how difficult it was for parents to travel back and forth, especially for extracurricular activities. Stacey’s passion and expertise led to the start of a unique after-school cheerleading program, Cheer Jam. Many of the students had never experienced an after-school sports or athletic program, let alone something as exciting and energetic as cheerleading! Not only did the students learn and thrive, but the parents loved seeing the skills their children obtained along with the social aspects, self-confidence and poise their children gained. The program began to expand and now, we are excited to announce MAJOR CHEER! With more than 400 students throughout the state of Florida involved in MAJOR CHEER, we are excited to watch the program grow. We’re proud to give students the opportunity to participate in a sport that will teach them life lessons and give them confidence and poise for years to come.

MAJOR CHEER will provide the same unique, exciting, music-filled classes that Stacey’s program is known for. Our after-school program allows students to stay after school for class and share their cheer experience with their friends.  The original, creative choreography captures students of all ages and skill levels. No experience is necessary! Many students in our after- school program discover their passion for cheer and dance. Many go on to cheer in high school, college and even professional! Some discover their inner confidence and pursue opportunities they never thought they would. Major Cheer not only prepares students for the CHEER WORLD but also for the REAL WORLD! MAJOR CHEER AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM JAMS! If you’re interested in learning more, contact us today – take a look around our website and let us know what questions you have! Thank you for reading and we’ll be back with more cool, cheer-related posts soon!

MAJOR CHEER Announces Franchise Opportunities

Stacey Horton, local entrepreneur and founder of Major Cheer, an after-school cheer program, has announced the launch of a franchise program to expand and grow the business and mission. Major Cheer allows students the chance to learn the sport of cheerleading in a fun, structured, after-school program format.

Ideal candidates for the franchise program include those passionate about cheerleading and/or dancing including teachers, coaches, athletes and of course, cheerleaders. The franchise opportunity aims to empower entrepreneurs with a business model that is home-based, with a flexible schedule that involves part-time hours in return for full-time pay.

“We have seen tremendous success through Major Cheer, bringing this sport to many schools and students that previously were not allowed the opportunity to learn cheerleading,” said Stacey Horton, Major Cheer founder. “We decided to grow this program in a way that will allow other schools to introduce this sport to students, and also enable and empower local entrepreneurs and athletes to build a business while contributing to their communities in a very spirited manner!”

Horton began teaching cheerleading as an after-school program format in 2000 when her children were attending Myakka City Elementary School, a rural school with limited after-school athletics program options. Formerly Cheer Jam, Major Cheer was launched as a full-scale, after-school cheerleading program, including summer camp programs. Franchise opportunities were introduced in 2019 and a list of current locations can be found at MajorCheer.net.  

Along with her daughter, Dominique Jackson, and franchisee and former Major Cheer alumni, Ashley Matthews, Horton and her team currently coach 400 students involved in the after-school program. The program is known for the original, creative choreography and notable alumni performances, which include appearances at the 50th Daytona 500, sports games for teams including the Tampa Bay Bucs and Superbowl XLIII.

Currently, the program serves schools throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties including Tatum Ridge Elementary School (Sarasota), Phillippi Shores Elementary School (Sarasota), Ashton Elementary School (Sarasota), Williams Elementary School (Parrish), Harvey Elementary School (Parrish), Parrish Charter School (Parrish), Kinnan Elementary School (Bradenton), Palmetto Elementary School (Bradenton), Braden River Elementary School (Bradenton), Gene Witt Elementary School (Bradenton), Willis Elementary School (Lakewood Ranch) and Myakka City Elementary School (Myakka City).  

To learn more about franchise opportunities, visit https://majorcheer.net/franchise/.

About Major Cheer

Major Cheer, formerly Cheer Jam, is a one-of-a-kind after-school program focusing on the fundamentals of cheerleading. With a mission to provide a safe, exciting atmosphere for students to learn the sport of cheerleading, athletes will enjoy a structured, fun-filled class for students aged 4 and up. Major Cheer began offering franchise opportunities in 2019. To learn more about programs, view a list of locations or get more information about franchise opportunities, visit https://majorcheer.net/