Before Lance Armstrong put cycling on the map in the minds of Americans and prior to childhood obesity becoming recognized as an epidemic, the Dream Team program was created in 1994 by the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) to offer Atlanta Public School students the opportunity to get fit by cycling across the state.
After participating in the Cycle Across Maryland ride and witnessing their youth program, BRAG Director Jerry Colley approached Atlanta Public School educators and three of them – Harold Head (Coordinator of Health & Physical Education), Don Doran (Principal) and Jeff Cramer (Teacher) – focused their efforts on recruiting Atlanta Public School middle school students to form the first BRAG Dream Team.
It was an exciting time in Atlanta because the city and state was preparing to host the 1996 Olympics and cycling was one of the major sports.
For the next 15 years, from 1995 until 2010, the BRAG Dream Team evolved from its origin as an event oriented program exclusively for Atlanta middle school students to a year round cycling program that includes youth from across the state of Georgia. Both middle and high school age youth have participated in Dream Team training rides, organized bike rides in Georgia and extraordinary bike events outside the state (e.g. Bike South 2000, RAGBRAI, Underground Railroad Bike Trail, King-to-King Tour and the Gullah Geechee Youth Bike Tour). By 2011, the BRAG Dream Team had developed a solid reputation across the state and generated interest in several cities and towns, which led to the creation of Dream Team clubs.
After several years of participating in the St. Patrick’s Day Century Bike Ride in Dublin, the 2011 experience was special for the Dream Team because it was the first time that Dublin youth participated and they excelled!
This local connection was fostered by veteran Dream Team Coach Phyllis Turner (far right in photo), a native of Dublin, who returned home (from Atlanta) to teach in 2009. The Dublin youth were members of the Oconee Community Mentoring Association (OCMA) and the OCMA President Chris Johnson, Sr. immediately stepped up to be their Dublin Dream Team Coach when he heard that they wanted to continue participating on long distance bike rides.
In its first two decades the BRAG Dream Team grew from its origin as an annual BRAG bike ride program for Atlanta middle school students to a year-round cycling organization that serves middle and high school age youth who cannot afford to participate in long distance road bike events.
Thanks to corporate and group sponsors, plus BRAG participant donors like you, the cycling equipment, food and transportation costs are covered for the BRAG Dream Team. The targeted students are from low-income families who cannot afford to participate on BRAG. They’re given bikes, helmets and other accessories needed to ride safely and confidently. Since 1994, more than 200 middle school students have completed BRAG as Dream Team members.