Five years ago, Viola Holden had a dream to bring All-Star Cheerleading to Cold Lake. Viola moved to the city on a military posting but longed for something more.
Also, being an athletic-minded person, Viola noticed that the city was missing one of her passions, a cheerleading club.
“I started coaching just one team, at the Lakeland Gymnastics Club, and it grew in popularity really, really quick,” Viola explained that with the surge of popularity, she gained the confidence to build a full club; which became the Flight Athletics aka Cheer Force Jets.
In the first year, 15 kids registered in cheerleading; that grew to 80 kids by the second year.
Viola noticed that cheerleading filled a void but wasn’t sure how to launch a business or if she could financially support the growth stages of the company.
Everything really fell into place when she aligned with Community Futures Lakeland.
“It was really fortunate, actually,” Viola says it was fate that one of the athlete’s moms worked for Community Futures.
That mom, Lisa Ford, is the Executive Director of Community Futures Lakeland.
“She helped us with our growth and guided me along the business aspect.” Admittedly, very green in the business side of operating a cheerleading club, Viola says the tools and mentorship she received from Lisa and Community Futures have been instrumental in the club’s success.
Growth & Expansion
Flight Athletics has seen a lot of successes on the stage at competitions, but there has been so much success in the background that should be equally celebrated.
Amid the pandemic, the club expanded to Lloydminster in early 2020. They were able to provide meaningful programming to their athletes while maintaining strict health protocols from the governments in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“When we got our second location, Community Futures was excellent with setting me up with different resources in Lloyd.”
Community Futures also helped guide Viola as she expanded from one employee to eight and 15 athletes to 413.
Take Flight Cheer & Dance Competition
This year, Flight Athletics hosted their first big competition, the Take Flight Cheer & Dance Competition.
“I’ve always wanted to have a competition,” Viola says. The club held a virtual competition last year to follow health mandates. Competitors from four provinces participated in the virtual event.
She vowed to take the event to live as soon as the health mandates were lifted, which happened this year. The event was held at the Energy Centre in Cold Lake.
There were eight clubs, including the two Flight Athletics locations, Bonnyville’s Premier Academy of Cheerleading & Tumbling,
As well as Cold Lake’s Lakeland Gymnastics Club, Bonnyville’s Ashlin Gymnastics Club, and Cold Lake’s Piroquette Dance.
The competition gave the athletes a fascinating opportunity to compete on a world stage at the Allstar World Championships in Flordia. A huge deal because there are only three spots in all of Canada given west of Ontario.
All three bids to the All-Star World Championships went to Cold Lake and Bonnyville teams.
Other Lakeland rankings:
- Abagale – 1st place in the U8 level 1 individual division
- Lexi – 1st place in the U8 level 2 individual division
- Maelle – 1st place in the U12 Level 2 individual division
- Sophia- 1st place in the U17 level 2 individual division
- Hornets – 1st place in the U8 level 1 division
- Snowbirds – 1st place in the U17 level 2 small division
- Alpha Jets – 1st place in the U17 level 3 division
- Tutors – rated outstanding in the U6 novice division
- Hurricanes – rated Excellent in the U6 prep division
- Thunderjets – rated Outstanding in the U12 novice division
- Flames – rated Excellent in the U8 Novice division
- Scorchers – rated Excellent in the U6 prep division
- Glimmer – 3rd place in the U12 prep division
- Dynamite – 2nd place in the U12 level 2 division
- Xplosion – 1st place in the U17 level 2 large division and overall Grand Champions
- Intensity – 3rd place in the U17 level 3 division
The Take Flight competition was not just about bringing opportunities to the athletes, it also brought opportunities to businesses in Cold Lake.
The city was so entire that people were booking in Bonnyville due to the hotels being complete in the city.
The cheer competition was a fantastic event to have in our community. The organizers did a wonderful job hosting. I watched a few hours over the two days, the talent was amazing… Great fun! – Mayor of Cold Lake, Craig Copeland
Grow your Business
Community Futures Lakeland is here for your business. They offer tools & resources, such as funding to help your business grow. They have locations throughout Alberta.
Community Futures Lakeland is a community-driven, non-profit organization staffed by local business professionals and guided by a local crew of volunteer Board of Directors, people just like you!
We provide a wide range of small business services and business management tools for people wanting to start, expand, franchise, or sell a business. We run a number of specialized business programs, organize exciting business events, and actively work with community and business leaders to foster rural economic growth.
The Lakeland branch serves Cold Lake to Bonnyville and in between.
Get in touch with Lisa Ford by calling (780) 826-3858 or visit them at https://lakeland.albertacf.com/.