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.