Young fans of the Green Bay Packers will have a new opportunity to see their favorite players up close during training camp.
The new "Future Lambeau Leapers" area will give children ages 12 and younger the chance to meet players, shake their hands, and potentially get autographs after practice.
The new area will replace the formal autograph tables the Packers had used in recent years. It will be located on the south side of the Oneida Nation Gate at Lambeau Field.
General Manager Ted Thompson came up with the idea after seeing young fans struggle to pass items for autographs over the fences near the Packers' facilities, and after noting how such a limited number of people were able to get tokens or tickets to the autograph tables.
"We hope this will be an opportunity for more kids to enjoy the unique experience of Packers training camp, getting up close with players and meeting them," Thompson said.
The more traditional opportunities to interact with the players, such as when they are walking to and from practice, entering and exiting the practice field, and mingling near the bike corral at the facility entrance, still will be available to all fans.
Access to the "Future Lambeau Leapers" area will be limited to children ages 12 and under, but no tokens or tickets will be needed.
The team cannot guarantee that every child in the area will receive an autograph, but those seeking autographs are encouraged not to ask an individual player to sign more than one item.
Eight to 10 players will appear in the area for approximately 20 or 30 minutes following the first practice of the day (either the 9 a.m. or 2 p.m. workout). The area will not open following night practices. The identity of players appearing in the area won't be announced until after practice.
The team's security department will closely monitor and facilitate the area.