When you have a passion, you work hard at it. When you’re good at something, you usually love it. That is how it is for Stephanie Britt, owner of Cheer Savannah. She is celebrating her 21st year in business, and not only has she built a phenomenal cheer program, but she has also helped shape the lives of many young athletes.
When she opened Cheer Savannah, Stephanie Britt says it was the first time competitive cheer was introduced to the community. “We were the only cheer gym in Savannah for about 12 years,” says Stephanie. “Some people didn’t quite understand the concept of competitive cheer and thought we should have pom-poms.” Competitive cheer is anything but pom-poms. It involves tumbling, jumping, stunting, dancing, and showmanship. Cheerleaders are considered athletes and spend many hours working on their skills. “We start girls as young as three, and some of our athletes are in their early 20s. We have so many that start at a young age because it takes time to develop skills, and there is a lot of competition out there,” says Stephanie.
When it comes to competition, Cheer Savannah has made quite a name for itself. For the past four years, the Lady Lace team competed in The Cheerleading Worlds™ (the biggest cheerleading competition there is) and placed in the top 10. In 2020, COVID-19 canceled the Worlds trip, but the team was pegged to be in the top five. This year was also the first year Cheer Savannah had a second team going to Worlds. The team is a non-tumbling team, and when they competed in January, they won the highest score of all the teams, which qualified them for Worlds.
Brooke Cowart cheered at Cheer Savannah for almost 14 years. “It was
by far the best decision that my mother ever made for me. I started Cheer Savannah when I was five years old and became alumni when I graduated from high school, and then I went to cheer at Georgia Southern. Cheerleading wasn’t just a hobby for me—it was my passion,” says Brooke. Brooke is like many of the other athletes at Cheer Savannah who go on to cheer in college. Stephanie says there is a 100 percent success rate when it comes to Cheer Savannah athletes making their college cheer teams.
Kellianne Edgy started at the gym in sixth grade. “Stephanie shaped me into part of the woman I am today, and there is no way I could have been successful cheering for Georgia Southern University without her. Cheer Savannah has grown so much since I first started, and I always love going back to support,” says Kellianne.
Stephanie says it really comes down to helping the cheerleaders to grow up and be successful adults. She and the six other coaches work hard to teach cheerleading skills, as well as help the athletes develop fundamental life skills. “You learn how to lose, and you learn how to win. You learn about sacrifice, time management, and communication skills,” says Stephanie. “We work on building up people. We aren’t just doing cheerleading; we’re developing leaders and good people.”
“Cheer Savannah is much more than just a cheerleading gym; it’s a family. It’s a place for people to do what they love—with the people they love. Some of my very best memories to this day are between those walls or on the stage with my teammates. There is no place like it. Cheer Savannah When it comes to dreams, they aren’t stopping at the gym. This year, Cheer Savannah started the first-ever co-ed competitive team. There are four boys in the program and this allows the gym to have a third team that can compete in Worlds.
“I think having four boys has changed the gym, but the girls love it. The boys bring an additional competitive spirit, and I think it makes the girls better,” says Stephanie.
Stephanie and the coaches train roughly 200 athletes each year. While her numbers are smaller than when she was the only gym in town, she likes how it is now. “Everybody feels loved, and we get to know each of the athletes. It’s like one big family,” says Stephanie.
There are around 10 teams at Cheer Savannah. Cheerleaders travel from all over to cheer there, including Brunswick, Vidalia, and even South Carolina. The state-of-the-art gym is only five years old and features 11,000 square feet of space. There are three full-size cheer floors, two tumble tracks, and an air track. It’s quite a change from where Cheer Savannah started nearly two decades ago. However, what hasn’t changed is the spirit and the passion the coaches and athletes have for the sport. They spend hours behind the gym door working on routines, perfecting tumbling skills, and learning new choreography. Much of the credit goes to the leaders.
“While also being the owner of Cheer Savannah, she’s also one heck of a coach. I wouldn’t have been half the athlete that I was if it weren’t for her and the other coaches at Cheer Savannah. She only hires the best of the best for her athletes, and that’s why so many kids go off to cheer in college once they leave Cheer Savannah. They set you up for success after high school—not just during your time there,” says Brooke.
Perhaps an even better compliment Stephanie can receive is when she gets invited to one of the girl’s weddings or baby showers, or they send their children to her for her to teach.
“I pour so much of my heart into these children and to see that they believe in me, is one of the greatest rewards and why I do what I do,” says Stephanie.