One camper at the Chicago Bears Youth Football Camp reaches out to make a catch during a game on July 26.

With the lockout lifted the pros can finally start to return to work, but at a Chicago Bears Youth Football Camp last week the kids were already playing football while the pros were still voting.

Children ages 6-13 participated in a week long football camp at St. Joan of Arc in which Scott Baum, the camp’s director said the kids got to experience all aspects of the game of football, from nutrition and health to learning skills at a variety of positions.

In the morning the campers ran position and skill drills before watching video and playing a football game in the afternoon.

Mr. Baum said that the camp had its training camp on Monday and they worked towards a Super Bowl on Friday, the last day of camp.

“We do the drills that way, as we get into the week and the kids get used to them and they go a little bit harder so it’s fun.” Mr. Baum. “It’s a five day camp and we try to give them something new everyday.”

The videos were of famous Bears players past and present, and each day a new Bears Hero came to speak to the campers.

“I think the neat thing about it is that they’re pro football players,” said Baum about the Bears Heroes who came to the camp. “All these guys that come out, the Bear Heroes, they have great stories about how they got to where they were. They talk about the importance of discipline, education, they send a great message.”

On July 26 former Bears’ defensive back Allen Ellis, who was with the Bears from 1973-1981 before going to the San Diego Chargers, spoke to the campers about his life and about how football has changed in the years since he played.

Mr. Ellis said he speaks to the kids as an ambassador for the game of football, and added that athletes who are looked up to by kids have an obligation to put forth a good image.

He answered questions about his career, and later took time to sign autographs and talk football with the campers during lunch.

“By them being participants in a Bears program they can realize that it’s not just a guarantee,” Mr. Ellis said.

Along with Mr. Ellis, Bears Heroes who came to the camp during the week included former Bears linebacker Jim Morrissey who played on the Super Bowl XX Championship team and Bears guard Revie Sorey.

Mr. Baum’s son, 8-year old Sean, said he enjoyed hearing Mr. Ellis speak and learning football skills.

The youth camp goes on across the Chicago area, and after this week the Evanston campers have a heads up on the pros.