Cheering on Our Cheer Captain, Mandi Dotson

Mar 29, 2024

Fields & Futures Mandi Dotson Cheer Program Blog Post Feature Image

Mandi Dotson has been a key figure in the Fields & Futures story since the very beginning, playing a critical role in many of our biggest wins. Today, Mandi’s impact continues to reverberate deep into the communities served by OKCPS and Fields & Future.

As Director of Cheer & Youth Sports Advocate, Mandi is focused on growing the sport of cheer in OKCPS by providing student-athletes with opportunities to join a squad, learn and develop their skills, elevate their level of competition, and, ultimately, open doors to college scholarships.

For the last 12 years, Mandi has loyally and enthusiastically cheered Fields & Futures on to success. It’s our turn to cheer for our resident cheer captain.

Let’s give a cheer, and make it clear,
Mandi Dotson is who we revere!
Our Director of Cheer, with goals so bright,
Vision and passion are her guiding light.

Our leaps and shouts are all in sync,
Reading her story, without a blink.
So gather ‘round, and give a cheer
Mandi’s interview is right here!

Fields & Futures Mandi Dotson Cheer Program Blog Post Story Image

What is your name and title at Fields & Futures?

Director of Cheer & Youth Sports Advocate

Give us a brief history of your journey with Fields & Futures and the experiences that led to your current position.

I have had the opportunity to watch the Fields & Futures story unfold from the very beginning – talk about watching things come together! As we peeled back the onion of OKCPS Athletics, we realized the district did not identify cheerleading as a sanctioned sport. Through some highly enlightening conversations with OKCPS administration, it was evident that cheerleading deserved its own spot in the athletic department. Over the years, I have had a front seat to watch the sport grow across the district, and it’s one of my favorite stories to tell!

Explain your roles and responsibilities in that position.

My job as Director of Cheer is to create opportunities for OKCPS cheer programs to grow and compete. In February 2024, 250 OKCPS high school and middle school athletes competed in the ACAC Cheer Championship, the district’s first cheer competition for OKCPS cheer squads, with some competing for THE FIRST TIME EVER! 

Each summer, I also plan and organize the OKCPS Cheer Clinic, which all OKCPS high schoolers and middle schoolers can attend free of charge. During the clinic, athletes have a unique opportunity to learn cheers and skills taught at typical overnight cheer camps.

Coordinating events that give OKCPS cheer athletes opportunities to fall in love with the sport and develop their skills is a big part of my job as Director of Cheer, but the role I cherish the most is empowering these young women and men to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Fields & Futures Mandi Dotson Cheer Program Blog Post Story Image

What are your immediate goals or objectives as Director of Cheer & Youth Sports Advocate?

My biggest short-term goal is to get every OKCPS cheer squad to compete at OSSAA Regionals and State. There is a lot of cheer talent in the district, and we have big goals for them! I also want our squads to feel they have access to the resources that will help them reach those goals.

What are your long-term goals or objectives as Director of Cheer & Youth Sports Advocate?

I don’t want to sound too competitive with the district’s other sports, but I would love cheerleading to become the district’s largest rostered year-round sport. We are picking up steam, and we’re just getting started!

Fields & Futures was created to put more kids on more teams by giving them the access and opportunities they deserve. As Youth Sports Advocate, why do you believe kids’ lives are changed for the better when they find a sport and team they love?

Can you imagine walking into a gym or onto a field or a track and being greeted by the one person who wholeheartedly believes in you? That’s how it feels to be loved by a coach. One coach can change the entire trajectory of a student’s life. You better believe I’m cheering on that mission. It worked for me, it works for millions of kids all over the world playing team sports, it’s working for this district, and I’m here for it.

Do you see any opportunities to attract or engage students in new or exciting ways?

Big time. We have some very exciting things coming for our cheer program this summer, including choreography and an extended THREE-DAY camp for our athletes. This will remove a massive roadblock for our coaches so they can focus on what matters most.

Fields & Futures has built 68 outdoor fields, tracks, and courts since 2012. Now that the fields have been built, why is it so important to create programming that promotes and supports different sports?

There are now 250 rostered cheerleaders in OKCPS middle schools and high schools. That’s 250 more kids making grades, being mentored by a coach, and building forever friendships. Every kid deserves a sport they love, and every sport deserves the support and resources it takes to impact young lives. No matter the sport, the mission stays the same – more kids on more teams!

Fields & Futures Mandi Dotson Cheer Program Blog Post Story Image

As Director of Cheer, what programming efforts are you involved in, and where do you see opportunities to accelerate cheer as a sport for OKCPS?

Alongside the district, I plan the ACAC High School and Middle School Cheer Championship and the OKCPS Summer Cheer Clinic. This year, we will provide every high school with its own choreography routine they can take to OSSAA Regionals and State. That was our biggest request from coaches, and I am excited to make it a reality!

Why is it essential for OKCPS students to have opportunities to participate in cheer and develop their skills in the sport?

Cheerleading is a huge collegiate sport. Cheer scholarships are handed out everywhere. Many local universities and HBCUs are interested in filling their rosters with OKCPS athletes. All our high school seniors will be invited to a cheer combine in 2025, where they will be scouted by collegiate squads from all over. Like we’ve said from the beginning, if they play, they stay, and if they stay, they graduate!!

Fields & Futures Mandi Dotson Cheer Program Blog Post Story Image

What lessons do students learn through cheer that they can apply later in life as adults?

Cheer is the ultimate team sport. If a stunt falls, it’s on the entire team. It requires you to learn how to take accountability for your team and how to work together.

What are you most excited to see happen with the sport of cheer in OKCPS?

GROWTH. I’ve watched the sport go from basically nonexistent in 2014 to one of the largest sports in the district today.

Fields & Futures Mandi Dotson Cheer Program Blog Post Story Image

In the future, when you step back and look at your impact on Fields & Futures and the OKCPS community, what specific outcome would make you feel like your efforts were a success?

To be honest, watching the squads compete at their first district-wide competition made me feel like the Fields & Futures Cheer Program has been a success. Giving OKCPS cheer squads the same opportunities other districts down the road have—the opportunities I had as a cheerleader—is a success story, and I’m so glad I get to play a small role in it.

And I have to send a huge thanks to the F&F team for “cheering” me on along the way!

A Spring In Our Step: OKCPS Spring Sports Clinics

With spring sports in the air, Fields & Futures sprang into action to host a series of spring sports clinics for OKCPS athletes and coaches. This March featured three key events: the Spring Break Goalkeeper Clinic, the OKCPS Golf Coaches Clinic, and the Simon Greiner Program Field Events Clinic.

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F&F Booster Club – The Power of Many

Every supporter, partner, and donor who has been a part of our journey during the past 12 years can proudly say they are a member of the F&F Booster Club and have helped put more kids on more teams. But we will always need more boosters to support more kids. So, today, we are excited to launch a citywide effort to grow the F&F Booster Club. A donation of any amount automatically makes you a member!

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