PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Spirit Enhancers has one goal: to make cheer and dance dreams come true for children in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.
Owner and head coach Kelli Marin opened the Spirit Enhancers All Stars Gym in 2006 with six cheerleaders.
"One thing that I hope that they take from me is that they can do absolutely anything," Marin told 13News Now.
Marin said she was coaching at a high school when she looked around for a place to go for extra training.
"I said, we need somewhere here — Portsmouth, Chesapeake — where, you know, we can go," Marin said.
Today, Spirit Enhancers trains more than one hundred athletes from ages 2 to 18.
"This year is 'Sweet 16', so all of our teams are named after sweets," Marin said.
"Our tiny team are Twinkies. And then, our oldest team we have this year are the juniors, and they were Dreamsicles," Marin said.
"I have a performance cheer team. They're the Honey Buns," Marin said. "And then, I have a special needs team. And they are the Star Crunch."
Spirit Enhancers aims to make cheer and dance accessible and impactful for girls and boys.
"I needed to have a team where everyone could feel successful," Marin said, "Everyone would get a benefit from being on the team."
But Marin said it's about more than just routines and stunts.
"We are helping with self-esteem," Marin said. "So, before practice, we always start with a positive affirmation."
"We do community service activities every quarter," Marin said. "We're trying to make the well-rounded athlete."
She hopes to push her squad to be their best, on and off the mat.
"I've watched them evolve not only with cheer but just in their academics and every area of their lives," Marin said. "It just really gives them the confidence to go out and be great."
The Spirit Enhancers Dreamsicle Team will show off their skills at the next D-2 Summit All-Star Cheer Competition. The event is held May 5 to 7, 2023 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
You can contact Spirit Enhancers All Stars by calling 757-943-9033. You can also follow the group on Facebook and Instagram.
You can donate to the group through Cash App at $SpiritEnhancers.