The Bears recently brought American football to the United Kingdom, conducting 13 free Mini Monsters youth clinics in eight cities from July 11-22.
The clinics were held at schools and sports facilities in London, Southampton, Cambridge, Birmingham, Flintshire, Sheffield, Manchester and Glasgow. Each session was 90 minutes long and included instruction for between 50-120 kids. Most of the participants were fifth and sixth graders, but some were younger and older.
The Mini Monsters youth program stresses the importance of healthy eating, physical activity and proper hydration through non-contact football drills.
Gustavo Silva, the Bears' manager of youth football and community programs, was on hand to help run the clinics in the UK. Two former Bears players led the instruction, with Johnny Knox handling the first half of the trip and Kaseem Sinceno the second.
"All we were really trying to do was introduce the kids to some of the skills that are used in American football," Silva said. "Just basic things like throwing and catching."
Silva described the response from the participants as "tremendous."
"It was everything that we hoped and expected," he said. "It confirmed our hopes, which were that when exposed to American football, the kids would love it and would want to continue to pursue it, and that's exactly what we got. We got kids telling us that they really enjoyed it, that they want to play it and that they want us to come back. It was awesome.
"I forgot for a few minutes there that I was even in the UK because it was exactly the response we get in the States. Kids are kids and they were having a great time playing American football."