FAQ

The following are some frequently asked questions for your assistance:

What does the registration cost cover?

The Bears Junior All American Football & Cheer tuition cost covers the following:

Any and all base equipment costs
Any and all base uniform costs

(**All of the above are contingent upon being a Bears Family member in good standing**)

All other gifts, all field usage costs, and additional uniform or equipment costs are contingent upon fundraising capacities of the current class in question.

How is Bears Junior All American Football different from Pop Warner?

There are significant differences between Pop Warner football and Bears Junior All American Football. Some are as follows:

1. Bears Junior All American Football is a proud partner in Orange County Junior All American’s spring football league. Football in the spring: flag football, passing league, and linemen competition makes football with Bears Junior All American Football available to players and parents in the months of January, February, March, April, May, and June.

2. Weight Limits: Bears Junior All American Football affords players 10-15 lbs. more per division than Pop Warner. For example, Bears Junior All American Football has a “clinic” division that has a 110 lbs. capacity. Pop Warner’s equivalent to the “clinic” division is “mighty mite” and their respective capacity is only 90 lbs. The reason why the additional weight allotments are so vital for youth level players is because this eliminates two very potentially harmful side effects that Pop Warner football requires – needless dieting or extreme weight loss techniques for children and moving up to higher, more experienced divisions without similar training.

3. Minimum Plays: Bears Junior All American Football advocates maximum plays. Moreover, Bears Junior All American Football is governed by Orange County Junior All American Football rules that require at least a full quarter of play from its participants. Pop Warner, by contrast, only requires 6-10 total plays depending on the size of the respective team. Those 6-10 plays can come at any point during a given game. For example, a Pop Warner coach only needs to play his player 2 plays per quarter at any point to qualify as compliant. This leads to players given playing time during so called “garbage times” when games have already been decided by the scoring differential. It is difficult to expect a young player to improve on the field of play if the player is in for one play, stands on the sideline for 8 minutes, and is in for another. Bears Junior All American Football understands the importance of playing time and playing continuity to a player’s development and appreciates the full quarter rule as it allows for a player to develop in a context and at a pace that will maximize the player’s football potential.

4. Flag Ages: Bears Junior All American Football advocates girls playing football and players of any age appreciating the sport. By allowing 7 and 8 year olds the opportunity to play flag football, Bears Junior All American Football gives older players and parents a unique chance to embrace football later in a child’s development. Pop Warner, by contrasts, forces all 7 and 8 year olds to play tackle football. In fact, Pop Warner has a “tiny mite” division that has 5 and 6 year olds playing tackle football. That means, an 8 year old entering into his/her first year of football is liable to play with players who have already played tackle football for 3 years. And the player is only 8. National statistics show that the most popular age in which players begin to play organized football is age 10. By that account, a Pop Warner player who is beginning could potentially play with and against players who have played 5 years of tackle football. This could propel the injury risk for that player and drastically hinder the development of the player as well.

5. Football for Children Ages 5 and 6: Bears Junior All American Football advocates that players age 5 and 6 enter into football playing flag football. It teaches the sport to the young players and allows for the maximization of fun for the children. Pop Warner advocates 5 and 6 year old play tackle football, evident by their re-establishment of the “tiny mite” division, which Pop Warner had eliminated for a number of years. There should not be a business making a 5 year old child, whose brain is still developing, play tackle football.

6. Pre-Game Practice: Bears Junior All American Football is a member of Orange County Junior All American Football, which begins yearly practices two full weeks before Pop Warner and doesn’t play its first games until two weeks after Pop Warner. This gives coaches and most importantly players an opportunity to learn the sport of football, which is particularly vital for first time players. Instead of having 2 1/2 weeks of practice before a game begins, our Bears Family football players get 1 1/2 months. This preparation allows our Bears Family players to be more successful and comprehend the sport of football more clearly. As a result, injuries are avoided and player safety is paramount. This also allows Bears Family parents to take vacations in August without fear.

How is Bears Junior All American Football different from American Youth Football?

There are significant differences between American Youth Football and Bears Junior All American Football. Some are as follows:

1. Bears Junior All American Football is a proud partner in Orange County Junior All American’s Spring Football & Cheer. Football and Cheer with Bears Junior All American Football & Cheer Family is available to players, cheerleaders and parents in the months of February, March, April, May, and June.

2. Conference Diversity: American Youth Football’s conference in Los Angeles and Orange County is the Pacific Coast Conference. The Pacific Coast Conference has only 16 chapters and only 1 is in Orange County: Buena Park. All 15 remaining chapters are in the greater Los Angeles area. By contrast, Bears Junior All American Football belongs to a conference that has 24 chapters. Orange County chapters include Irvine, Placentia, Newport Mesa, South Orange County, and Westminster. Chapters are also in nearby Rowland Heights, Whittier, Santa Fe Springs, and Cerritos, as well as other surrounding Los Angeles municipalities. This allows for a more competitive and socially diverse environment for players that will only serve to assist in their development as individuals and as players.

3. Competitive Chapters: American Youth Football’s lone Orange County chapter is Buena Park. Every Buena Park team in every division lost every game in 2009 and 2010. That is not competition. But with only 16 chapters, some not even fielding a team in that particular division (for example, the most populated tackle football division is Jr. Pee Wee and the Pacific Coast Conference only had 14 teams in that entire division), there is little opportunity to address competition.  In 2013, the Buena Park chapter of American Youth Football, the Eagles, fielded 9 teams, who won a chapter total of 11 games.  Some entire divisions and teams were winless. That is not healthy competition and does not serve those players and their families particularly well.

4. Appeal for Denied Live Scan: American Youth Football permits appeals to be addressed for adult participants/volunteers who fail the background check or live scan. Bears Junior All American Football has no such process.

When does practice begin?

The 2013 Bears Junior All American Football & Cheer Spring Season begin in March.

The 2013 Bears Junior All American Football & Cheer Fall Season practices begin in July. Practices for tackle football are three (3) days per week  and a maximum 2 hours a day once school commences. Practices for flag football are two (2) days per  week and a maximum of an hour and a half a day once school commences. Practices are always  contingent upon your cheer or football coach.

How long is the season? 

Games start in September and playoffs are in November. Usually the Super Bowl is the first week after Thanksgiving and the all star game is in December.

What is the coach to player ratio?

Bears Junior All American Football and Cheer prides itself on having the best coach to player ratio of any league in North Orange County. This directly impacts your player with more comprehensive instruction.

Do the players have to tryout? 

The governing body of Bears Junior All American Football, Orange County Junior All American Football (OCJAAF), sets a limit of 26-33 kids on any team (registration may be cut off at 26 but a team can have up to 33 players if so desired). As long as Bears Junior All American Football is below that number, there is no need to release players unless for safety reasons. In the event that Bears Junior All American Football has more than 33 players sign up, and there are more than 33 players left after 3 weeks of practice, Bears Junior All American Football may need to release players based on contract number (first come, first serve) to remain in Orange County Junior All American Football (OCJAAF) compliance.

How are the kids placed on teams? 

This is solely determined by age and weight.

How many are on a team?

Tackle football (Jr. Clinic/Clinic/Jr. Pee Wee/Pee Wee/Jr. Midget/Midget):  minimum of 14, maximum of 26-33.

Flag football (Jr. Future/Future League): minimum of 12, maximum of  18-24.

Does everyone get to play? 

The governing body of Bears Junior All American Football, Orange County Junior All American Football (OCJAAF), sets a minimum number of playing time a player is required to be given, which is set at one (1) football quarter. Bears Junior All American Football believes in maximum playing time, maximum plays.
Is equipment included? 

Yes. Every player is responsible for their own cleats.

Are football camps available?

Yes. Bears Junior All American Football will have speed and agility clinics available to all enrolled Bears Junior All American Football players during the months of January, February, March, April and May. Bears Junior All American Football will have camps in June and July for enrolled Bears Junior All American Football players only. We will also share information on other camps being offered in the area. Continue to check the website and Bears Junior All American Football social networks (Facebook, Twitter) for updates.

Is there travel involved? 

Yes, depending on the team’s schedule. Games are split between home and away games.

Are there any mandatory fundraisers/raffles?

Yes, as  a league with such a low base price, fundraising is critical to assist those in  our communities who are scholarship candidates based on current economic  challenges, and sponsorships are greatly appreciated as well.

Are there scholarships available?

Yes. A limited number of scholarships are available. Scholarships are given on need basis and require mandatory volunteer time/fundraising from the parent. Scholarship applications are confidential. They will only be viewed by the Bears Junior All American Football scholarship committee and decisions will be made by July 1 on a first come, first serve basis. If you feel your child qualifies for a scholarship for the Spring or Fall season(s), contact Bears Junior All American staff members for an application.

Refunds?

Bears Junior All American Football & Cheer has a no refund policy.

Are there any volunteer requirements?

Volunteering is essential. Bears Junior All American Football is a non-profit, volunteer league. There are many ways to help out with your team and/or the Bears Junior All American Football organization. Bears Junior All American Football appreciates and depends on its volunteers to make the Bears Family a success.

The Bears Football Family’s primary concern is the welfare of your player and cheerleader.

As a result, the Bears Football Family would like to provide some valuable information on sports concussions and inform you of our concussion prevention program.

A concussion is a brain injury that can occur in any sport.

Symptoms of a possible concussion as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include, but are not limited to

• Appears dazed or stunned
• Is confused about assignment
• Forgets plays
• Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
• Moves clumsily
• Answers questions slowly
• Loses consciousness
• Shows behavior or personality changes
• Can’t recall events prior to hit
• Can’t recall events after hit
• Headache
• Nausea
• Balance problems or dizziness
• Double or fuzzy vision
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Feeling sluggish
• Feeling foggy or groggy
• Concentration or memory problems
• Confusion
Although student athletes often feel pressure to play through the pain, it is important to remember that a concussion is a brain injury and that all concussions are serious.
Other important facts about concussions include that they:

• are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head
• can occur even if the athlete doesn’t lose consciousness
• can happen in any sport
• may not cause symptoms until days or weeks after the injury
• can cause brain swelling, permanent brain damage, or even death, if an athlete has a second concussion before fully recovering from a first one

Concussion Management

If you think that an athlete has concussion, according to the CDC Heads Up: Concussion in High School Sports program, you should:
1. Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your teen to return to sports.

2. Keep your teen out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your teen return to play until a health care professional says it’s OK. Athletes who return to play too soon, while the brain is still healing, risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. Second or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your teen for a lifetime.

3. Tell all of your teen’s coaches about any recent concussion. Coaches should know if your teen had a recent concussion in ANY sport. Your teen’s coaches may not know about a concussion your teen received in another sport or activity unless you tell them. Knowing about the concussion will allow the coach to keep your teen from activities that could result in another concussion.

4. Remind your teen: It’s better to miss one game than the whole season.

Concussion Facts

About 135,000 children between the ages of 5 and 18 are treated in emergency rooms each year for sports- or recreation-related concussions and other head injuries.

The Bears Family Concussion Awareness and Prevention Program

The Bears Family requires coaches to remove any player who shows signs of a concussion, and bars the player from competing again. Said player is not allowed back onto the practice field or game field that day and will remain so until cleared by a licensed health care professional trained in concussion evaluation and management.

Moreover, the Bears Family has adopted to limit excessive live hitting programs during the beginning of the season and during to not unduly expose our athletes to unwarranted risk.  The Bears Family closely monitors its coaches and practices to make certain our athletes are properly supervised.

Lastly, the Bears Family considers insufficient or unsatisfactory equipment one of the primary reasons for concussions.  In an effort to prevent such risks, Bears Junior All American Football reconditions and certifies its helmets and shoulder pads every year.  While Pop Warner only requires it every other year, and other programs do not require it at all, our yearly reconditioning program is bylaw.  Proper equipment fitting is also suspect.  To prevent risk of concussions due to improper fitting, all of our equipment managers are factory trained to fit equipment and do so to industry responsible standards.

Our athletes and our Bears Family matters more than winning or monetary savings. We will not risk the health of your child.