OKEECHOBEE -- On July 28, Jovanny Torres spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee representing the Chobee Nation Travel Basketball program. Formed in 2014, the design of the program was to keep Okeechobee High School basketball players in the boys and girls program playing basketball, staying in shape and continuing development after the high school season was over.
As the program developed, Chobee Nation was able to expand from high school aged players all the way down to third and fourth grade levels resulting in not only developing the high school programs but also the middle school programs.
The result has been a tremendous success seen with the boys and girls basketball programs over the last five to seven years. The boys have been consistent 20 game winners and the girls have broken program win records and playoff performance records. Torres, who has coached for OHS in both programs the last 9 years gives credit to Chobee Nation.
Players from ages 9-18 travel all over the state and sometimes out of state to compete in large tournaments. Torres says that benefits reach further than basketball development, he feels that the children bond with each other on the road and develop relationships they otherwise would not have the opportunity to make. Torres also feels that playing in front of very large crowds early in their development helps when they play in front of crowds at the high school level.
The Florida Department of Children and Families provides a majority of their funding. The players and families are responsible for tournament fees, travel expenses and uniform and equipment. The program holds several fundraisers throughout the year to offset the cost.
Chobee Nation plays tournaments in central and south Florida throughout the spring and summer seasons.
Learn more by following Chobee Nation on Facebook and their website chobeenation.com