Junior Bears Football
The Chicago Parks Foundation supports the Chicago Park District Junior Bear Tackle Football Program and Inner City Flag Football, thanks to the support of the Chicago Bears and their charitable foundation, Bears Care. Bears Care has provided long-standing support to the Chicago Park District, by providing funds, which allow Junior Bear Tackle Football and Inner City Flag Football to impact over 1,200 youth, ages 8-13 across the City of Chicago.
The Junior Bear Tackle Football program culminates with the Annual Mum Bowl, which is played at Soldier Field. The game honors parents of the participants in a pre-game Mum Ceremony, where all players are called to give their parent a Mum as a token of their appreciation. The game also features a ceremony at halftime for the annual Walter Payton Award winner which features a nominee from every team, awarding one Walter Payton Award winner. The Walter Payton Award symbolizes everything that Walter Payton himself stood for, not only demonstrating exceptional skills, leadership, and sportsmanship on the field, but also being an example off the field in their parks and their communities.
Thousands of participants have benefited from playing in Junior Bear Tackle Football and Inner City Flag Football, many who have gone on to play in high school, college, as well as some former players making it to the NFL level.
The Chicago Parks Foundation is proud to support Chicago Park District boxing programs at 20 parks across the city. Training is free for all youth ages 18 and under and runs year round at 20 citywide boxing centers.
Benefits of boxing include increased muscle tone, strength endurance, cardiovascular fitness and self-confidence. It is an aerobic exercise that is enjoyable and rewarding.
Special thanks to our generous donors, Liza Yntema and Mark Ferguson for their continuous support of the youth boxing program.
For more information on youth boxing in the parks, please visit CPD HERE.
Inner City Youth Baseball and Softball
In a partnership with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Play Ball Chicago and the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Parks Foundation aims to grow access to youth baseball and softball in Chicago. Through partnerships with Cubs Charities Programs and the White Sox Community Fund, The Chicago Parks Foundation supports children’s baseball and softball teams across the city, including the 2015 Play Ball Chicago tournament.
Today, Inner City Youth Baseball and Rookie League programs are located at 32 Chicago Park District parks across the city for ages 9-12, serving 480 youth. Cubs Girls Fast Pitch RBI Softball serves 120 girls from 8 parks.
2016 Play Ball Chicago Tournament
Play Ball Chicago is back for year two! The tournament will take place August 10th to 14th at Curtis Granderson Stadium (901 W. Roosevelt Road). We can’t wait to see softball and baseball teams from across Chicago come together for this tournament!
Since the first international special Olympics Games in 1968, the Chicago Park District has partnered with Special Olympics Chicago. The first International Special Olympics Games were held on July 20, 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Since then, Special Olympics Chicago has grown to serve more than 5,000 athletes, offering year-round sports training and competition in 22 sports.The Chicago Park District offers Special Olympics programming in 21 park locations throughout the city of Chicago.
The Special Olympics mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and build friendships with other Special Olympics athletes and the community. The Chicago Parks Foundation provides support for the Chicago Park District and Special Olympics partnership in order to expand the reach of these great programs and opportunities to reach all communities throughout the city.