Florida Dream Athletics, an AAU basketball organization, provides competitive basketball to boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17. Director and Head Coach, Mr. Christopher Bell, says his mission is simple. “One team. One dream.” Since 2015, 12 Florida Dream players have received athletic scholarships to various colleges across the country.
“I encourage my kids to not only compete on the court but in the classroom too,” Bell says.
How It All Began
Bell medically retired after serving thirteen years in the United States Air Force. Prior to being stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, he coached a semi professional football team in Japan. The vision to bring an elite AAU program to Crestview came from his daughter.
“She got tired of everyone talking about teams from South Florida. She believed in me and believed an AAU program could mean opportunities for a lot of North Florida kids,” Bell says.
With a BA in Organizational Management and a FHSAA certificate, he has quietly built a powerhouse and cultivated youth development. And while most decorated AAU programs are sponsored by major shoe companies or former NBA players, Florida Dream is sponsored by our very own, Attorney Christopher Janes.
Becoming Part of the Dream
“Mr. Janes came to us at a time when we couldn’t have needed him more,” Bell says. “He understands what we want to do for these kids. He’s helping us put our players in a position to succeed on and off the court.”
Mr. Janes has always sought to make North Florida counties opportunity-rich for the youth, which aligns with Bell’s mission to create community and ties for athletes across North Florida: Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Escambia County. Traveling thirteen thousand miles in 2017, with boys and girls teams, Florida Dream was represented by more than seven different area high schools.
“We got rivals on the same team. But we’re a family,” Bell says. “When my guys and girls are on the court, everyone knows they have an opportunity to score: One team. One dream.”
Go Florida Dream!
The list of accolades Florida Dream players have earned is extensive and highly impressive. Recently the boys team went on a four tournament win streak, culminating in a North Florida Panhandle AAU Championship, hosted at the University of West Florida. And in September, Florida Dream’s Atallia Brown, will attend the John Lucas Top 160 Invitational Camp in Houston.
“We can’t do what we do without people like Mr. Janes,” Bell says.
As an integral part of North Florida progress and youth development, we’re proud to know Mr. Christopher Bell. It’s imperative that we champion young people in our community and encourage them to succeed on the court and in the classroom. Go Florida Dream!