Training Camp

This year, Bears fans will be heading in a new direction as they journey to training camp. After 18 years of summer workouts at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois is the new host for the event. Preparations on the Olivet campus and in much of Kankakee County have been under way for almost a year.

"This is such a tremendous opportunity to showcase our part of Illinois," said Kankakee River Valley Chamber of Commerce president, David Hinderleiter. "When we heard that there was the possibility of relocating training camp to Olivet University, we jumped at the chance."

The Kankakee Valley area is located just 45 minutes south of Chicago and 80 miles north of Champaign. Easily accessible via I-57, the region offers numerous attractions for the entire family.

"The Kankakee area and the Chicago Bears are a perfect fit," Hinderleiter said. " I have spent a great deal of time recently working with Brain McCaskey. He and I both feel that this is a very positive move for the team and for the fans. Our goal is to provide a positive family friendly environment for the fans, and to give the Bears the best possible facilities. This will be a great first step toward for another winning season for the team."

The Bears will relocate to the Olivet campus July 26 for a three week stay.

"We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Chicago Bears and their loyal fans," said Dr. John Bowling, Olivet's president. "We look forward to introducing them to Olivet Nazarene University and to the Bourbonnais area."

Preparations at Olivet prior to the Bears arrival have included the construction of a 4,500 square foot locker room facility in addition to upgrading the existing 5,000 square foot facility. The new building includes space for equipment storage, space for a training room, and laundry facilities.

Other renovations include the irrigation and re-sodding of 5 football fields; the raising of lights at the game field; and the construction of a 700 foot viewing berm stretching the length of 3 end zones, which will provide seating similar to that offered by the spectator area in Platteville. Grandstand seating will also be available.

The Olivet campus is providing free parking for visitors, with expanded auxiliary parking available as needed. Concession stands and a Bears merchandise store will be located near the practice fields. There will also be an area devoted to interactive games and activities for fans of all ages.

"The new training site is spectacular," said Gary Griffin, Director of University Relations and local Coordinator of the Chicago Bears Training Camp. ‘This is a plus not only for the Bears, but for Olivet's athletes who will be using the fields and facilities 11 months out of the year."

To prepare for a large migrations of fans during the training camp weeks, both Olivet and the Kankakee Valley Chamber of Commerce have held extensive training sessions for business owners and those in contact with the public.

"The goal is to provide a "Disney' type experience" Hinderleiter said. "We want to give the fans a safe and family oriented vacation. Over 600 residents of the area have taken this course. We are ready to do the best job possible for the fans and for the Bears."

For further information on Bears Training Camp, including detailed driving directions, and a list of restaurants, attractions, and accommodations contact the Bears Training Camp Hotline (815) 35-BEARS. Information is also available at the Training Camp website, Both sources will also provide up-to-date news and schedule changes on a daily basis once camp is in session.

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