How can WordPress help nurture a community of 50+ primary and secondary students into champions on and off the athletic field?
Take a passion project and turn it into a nationally competitive athletic organization in just a few years? It sounds like a plot dreamed up in Hollywood. In Rockdale County, Georgia (USA) it’s a reality. Add to the mix that these Champions are all 6-18 years old, excelling academically, and actively participating in their communities, and it becomes even more extraordinary.
For Head Coach Steve Strother and the Blue Lightning Track Club, it’s business as usual. Here’s their story, and how they’ve used WordPress to help make it happen!
Developing a Champion’s Mindset
Steve Strother is a former Auburn track athlete with a profound passion for the sport and his community. Like their dad, his two sons Kyle and Cole developed a passion for track early. In 2013 they all got involved with a local track club. Steve as a volunteer coach, Kyle and Cole as young athletes. Seeing an opportunity to do more in his community, Steve founded the Blue Lightning Track Club the next year.
What started with just Steve and his sons began slowly, but very quickly gained huge momentum. By 2017, two athletes had turned into seven. The entire team not only qualified for nationals that year, but were honor students in the classroom. By the winter of 2017 and into the 2018 year, their numbers soared to 52 with 85% ultimately qualifying for the National Junior Olympics.
Just this past weekend (19 January 2020), the team finished 2nd among 52 teams from 8 states in their South Carolina meet. Safe to say they’re still rocking it. Steve is quick to point out that he’s not accomplished this level of success alone. The club now has a team of dedicated and invested coaches whose passion match his own. Still, this is no small accomplishment. How do they cultivate this kind of success?
“Our Champions mantra is the lifeblood of our program”
What had begun a few short years ago as a father/son operation had turned into a virtual machine for helping youth discover their inner champion. How that happened is a very deliberate and intentional process in Steve’s mind, and it all revolves around that one word: Champion.
Steve’s recipe is simple. He knows that parents are on the lookout for programs that are conducive to education, building kids up, and empowering them. He believes that like-minded individuals are attracted to each other. Build up a core mindset of champions on the field, in the classroom, and in the community, and it will grow. In his words:
That [Champion] mantra starts to manifest itself. The parents start referring to the kids as “champion” and all the other kids as “champion.” The kids start referring to each other as “champion”. And as they start to speak it, it starts to speak it right into existence. And when I say champion, I’m not saying necessarily someone that’s going to go out there and win the national championships or even win a race. But just the champions’ mindset.
Here’s where WordPress plays a role in Blue Lightning’s success… and can in yours, too!
You might think that the Blue Lightning Track Club is Steve’s full time job given its tremendous success. It’s not. He’s a photographer, videographer, designer, and small business owner at Strother Marketing Media, LLC. Blue Lightning Track Club is “just” his passion.
His website plays an important role in growing and managing the club’s 50+ champion student athletes. It gives the club visibility and discoverability on the web. It serves as a place where administrative tasks are handled without the need for staff to micromanage every interaction.
WordPress, and the plugins that make up the WordPress ecosystem, make this possible for Steve and many other organizations like his. It can for you too!
It delighted us to hear from Steve that his WordPress forms play an integral role in his site’s success. He uses forms for a wide variety of purposes. It’s best said in his own words:We use Ninja Forms for everything Blue Lightning in terms of new registrations, meet fees, event registration, athlete profiles, parent communications, surveys, feedback forms. We use it for everything. It's the lifeblood of Blue Lightning on the backend.Click To Tweet
Running fast into a very bright future
We’re thrilled by the success that the Blue Lightning Track Club has found, and our own very small role in it. Much more importantly, we’re very proud and incredibly impressed by the success that these young champions have found at school, at home, on the field, and in their community. Keep it up guys and gals, you have a very bright future ahead of you!