Help People. Help Dogs.
We are proud to announce the first community outreach program at Game Dog Guardian. We established a relationship with the Kansas City Marching Cobras and have taken the opportunity to reach outside of our normal circles to a Kansas City community icon to build bridges. We will support the Cobras and continue to interact with them personally and with Leonidas and Liam.
“The COBRAS are made up of 150 elementary, junior and senior high school students from all over the greater Kansas City area who came from both states Missouri and Kansas. Motivation in the group is high. The members are expected to accept responsibility and are encouraged to be creative. Discipline in the group is strict and everyone must meet eligibility standards of good conduct and scholastic achievement.”
The Kansas City Marching Cobras are a youth “performing unit” that showcases drums, step, dance and tumbling. Leonidas and Anthony went out to meet the group. Watching them practice and perform is a unique experience. In the moment, it is nothing bigger than what it is. Just kids stepping and dancing to beats played by other kids on drums. It is parents being proud and the joy in the pride of the moment. And all that work comes together into something amazing. In a word, it is awesome.
But if you step away from the moment you see all the layers of significance. You see the cultural significance, the community significance, and all the things happening all it once in the building. The Marching Cobras provide a place for the youth of the community to experience positive forces and influence. They learn accountability, responsibility, discipline and develop a sense of accomplishment, belonging and self-esteem. They experience first-hand their parents and other people in the community believing in them and a sense pride on behalf of both parents and kids. It gives them a chance to connect with something bigger than them, something with historical and cultural meaning. These are all things that make the kids better, and in the process, make our community better.
Dog fighting, animal abuse, domestic violence, gangs, drugs and crime are all symptoms of problems in our communities. At Game Dog Guardian we believe the best way to fight these problems is to address the cause, and that starts with the youth in our communities. The best way to save a dog from the pit is to keep him out of it in the first place. While these kids are practicing, tumbling, marching, performing and maintaining their grades, they’re not joining gangs or fighting dogs. And with a sense of self and a sense of purpose in life, they are much less likely to ever do so.
In our first meeting with the Cobras, not only did Leonidas and Anthony reach out to a community group that helps to combat the dog fighting, drugs and violence we all hope to stop, but they made friends and opened up minds. They reached people who aren’t necessarily dog people. They reached a group who doesn’t necessarily see the world the way we do. They built a bridge. And that is where big things begin, with a first step.
It is important for us, as people who care about our dogs (and especially those of us who value the right to own whatever breed we want), to reach out to people outside of our own circles. We have to show them we, too, care about our communities, care about people, and care about more than just our dogs. If we are only seen in the community when dog issues come up then we risk being seen as just the “crazy dog people.” If we are active regularly, then they learn that pit bull owners are mostly just average people - not drug dealers or gangsters or crazy dog people - just people. And hopefully we can show that our dogs are mostly average dogs - not monsters, killers and fighters - just dogs.
Mission and Vision of the Marching Cobras:
Mission Statement - To work with children and youth ages 5-18, with a special emphasis on troubled youth, and promote the development of values and skills that will march with them the rest of their lives.
Vision - To provide members with a sense of purpose, a commitment to excellence, and a understanding that all members can become productive and successful contributors to the Marching Cobras, their communities and our society.
We will accomplish our mission and vision by. . .
* Providing opportunities for growth and development through enrichment activities centered around character building, leadership, health and life skills, education, career, sports, recreation, fitness and the arts.
* Utilizing a group of positive, committed, caring staff and volunteers to serve as role models
* Inspiring and enabling all youth to realize their fullest potential and helping students become responsible, productive and caring adults.
* Enhancing services to youth and parents by partnering with other organizations.
* Providing a safe place for youth to learn and grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
* Traveling throughout the United States and abroad, performing intricate and rigorous routines for a variety of venues.