It looks as if the "Bears Den" will include cubs. Thanks to generous donations by members of the community, the Junior Bears youth football organization will play its remaining two league games on the same field the high school team does - the Oak Glen Multi-Sports Complex - and do it at no expense.
Use of the new stadium facility for the non-profit group, as well as other non-school organizations, stood at $500 per event. Hancock County Board of Education officials have said it's a fee that has always been on the books, but not always enforced.
But since the multi-million dollar project opened this school year, the Board has collected the $500 stipend.
Previously, both the high school team and the Junior Bears played games at Memorial Stadium in Newell, which since has been closed and put up for public auction.
The $500 fee per the Junior Bears' four home games would have taken a large chunk of the fundraising dollars out of the organization's coffers. And despite efforts by the Junior Bears to dispel the fee, the BOE did not budge, saying it is necessary to cover costs associated with operating the facility.
We commend those donors - the jockeys at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Gaming Resort ($1,000) as well as the Bloody Buddy Fight Series ($500) and an anonymous contributor ($500) - for this outpouring of support to our youth.
We also believe it to be important to thank those area residents who showed their support of the Junior Bears by attending the group's annual fundraiser/community day last Saturday at Chester City Park.
"It's a relief that people step up and a joy that people step up and take care of the kids," said Chris Skeeles, commissioner of the Junior Bears. "It's not just about football. It's about the kids. Period."
It's great to be part of a small community where people care.