Mentoring Testimonials
Mentoring Testimonials

Testimonials from those who have participated in our MCJA Mentoring Program.

Here’s what some of our mentors / mentees have to say about their MCJA Mentoring experience:

“Let me preface this by saying “I LOVE Cheerleading!” I was a cheerleader in high school and in college wanted to continue with the sport thru judging. Unfortunately my schedule did not allow me to do so. After graduating college, I was approached by my home school about coaching competitive cheer. I was a third shift nurse and loved the thought of getting involved with the sport again. I accepted the position and coached for two years. My schedule at work changed and I found myself on first shift and unable to continue my duties as a coach, so I had to resign. I decided that although I could not make the everyday commitment to coaching, I wanted to continue being a part of the sport and decided to try judging. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. All the numbers and paperwork intimidated me. What if I mess up? How can I keep track of everything? How do I get contracts? I am sure these are common concerns with most new judges. I registered with MCJA. As I was exploring their website I noticed they offered mentoring for new judges. I followed the instructions and requested to be paired with a mentor. Jill responded within 24 hours. I was paired with Stacy Smith. Stacy contacted me within a couple days of my request to Jill. She was incredibly supportive and excited to welcome me to the organization and judging community. I attended the fall training confrence in November. During my training sessions, Stacy would check in on me and even sat with me through my last session. She and I went over the different forms and had a great time becoming familiar with the different aspects of meet preparation. We maintained contact with each other and we judged our first competition in December. She introduced me to numerous coaches, judges and school administrators. She helped to facilitate a supportive group for me to use as a resource. Other judges offered to mentor with me as well, in the event I felt I needed more experience. Throughout my mentoring experience Stacy and the other judges I worked with served as great role models, teachers and exemplified the qualitites a judge should have. After my mentoring was over and I was on my own, Stacy continued to check in on me and refer contracts to me.

I have had a blast this season judging and I truly believe that a large part of this season’s success is due to the great start I had by mentoring.”

Laura Krzykwa

“My first experience as a mentee went GREAT! Juli Brown was so helpful and took the extra time to walk through the entire process of judging a competition. We actually had three mentee’s and the school was kind enough to provide scoresheets for all of us to use. This really enabled us to be a part of the entire experience. I recommend all first year judges to take full advantage of this program as it immediately showed my areas of weakness without the pressures of being the contracted judge.”


“My name is Cheri VanConant and I live in Lake Orion. I recently participated in a mentorship in order to become a competitive cheer judge.

I have always been a fan of cheerleading. My journey began when I was able to coach my daughter at the junior high level in sideline cheer. Then she began competitive cheer in high school and I became one of those fanatical parents sitting in the bleachers with noise makers, signs and plenty of loud chants. Once she graduated, I found myself missing going to the meets and watching her, so I would pick a random school and go there on a Saturday and just sit and watch the competitions all day long, even though I did not know a single soul in the whole gym! Then one day, I found myself watching the judges table and that was when I decided…..I want to be one of them!

I started searching on-line and found the MCJA website. That was how I found out about their training workshops. I was able to attend the November workshop in Grand Rapids. It was recommended that I attend the beginner sessions for Rounds 1, 2 and 3. Talk about feeling overwhelmed! I had no idea all of the elements that teams are judged on! But, boy did I learn ALOT! I returned home and really did not know where to start. I started communicating with Stacy Smith, the head of the mentor program. She put the word out that I needed a mentor and also encouraged me to start going to some competitions. I was lucky enough to be paired up with Laurie Bilkie-Snyder, an experienced cheer judge with a wealth of knowledge to offer. My first competition was an all-day Saturday event, I was so nervous but Laurie helped to ease my mind and I learned so much! Also at this same competiton I met Laurel Kobe, who invited me to another meet the next weekend. I have to say, seeing the competition from two different judges perspectives was very helpful. They both helped me in finding score sheets that would fit my style and gave me many helpful tips and pointers of what to watch for when judging. They answered all of my questions and helped me to feel more comfortable. I was able to spectate the district competition where Laurie was judging and also met up with her and Laurel in Grand Rapids for State Finals, where they continued to answer all of my questions. Talk about two fantastic people to have as mentors! I could not have asked for a better outcome!

For anyone thinking about cheer judging, I would highly encourage it. It has been an awesome experience for me. I continue to meet so many wonderful, kind people. I cannot thank them enough. I cannot wait for 2009-2010 season, because…..I LOVE CHEER!”

Cheri VanConant

“I mentored several times with different safety judges at several different locations. The reason I choose to do that was so I could see different teams and get different peoples perspectives on what different judges focus on. I would encourage anyone to mentor several times or until you are confident and comfortable in what you are doing. Because the more confident you are the better you will be. Also, you meet more judges and therefore, you can pick up more contracts throughout the season.”

Mentee – Jill Wohlfert

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Michigan Cheer Judges Association