Pop Warner Little Scholars (also known as Pop Warner, Pop Warner Football, and Junior Football Conference) is a non-profit organization that provides youth American football, cheerleading, and dance programs for participants in 43 U.S. states and several countries around the world. Consisting of approximately 400,000+ young people ranging from ages 5 to 16 years old, Pop Warner is the largest and oldest national youth football, cheer and dance organization in the United States. It is also the only youth sports organization with an academic requirement.
Pop Warner Little Scholars was founded in 1929 by Joseph J. Tomlin after noticing an increase of youth vandalism in the northeastern part of Philadelphia. Initially called Junior Football Conference, the organization was renamed Pop Warner Conference after American football coach, Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner joined the organization. By 1938, the Pop Warner Conference had 157 teams which represents neighborhoods in big cities and towns with most of the players were at least 15 years old and a few were over 30. Competitions were determined by top weights only, except for the youngest kids. When World War II arrived, the Pop Warner Conference lost most of their older players and only 42 teams remained. The organization had over 100 teams after the war.
In 1959, Pop Warner Conference became a non-profit organization and was renamed to Pop Warner Little Scholars. The popularity of Pop Warner football led to a Walt Disney produced two-hour television show called, "Moochie of Pop Warner Football" on ABC in 1960. By the 1960s, the organization had over 3,000 teams.
In the 1970s, Pop Warner expanded into a cheerleading program for girls. In 1983, a flag football program was offered. As of 2005, Pop Warner Little Scholars has over 150,000 5-16 year old boys and girls participating in their programs in the United States. In addition, they have teams in Mexico and Japan making the estimated current total over 5,000 Pop Warner football teams.
Every December, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex hosts the Pop Warner football National Championship (referred to as the Pop Warner Super Bowl). Teams are divided into A,B,and C divisions. 64 football teams compete for the National Championship in 4 different age/weight ranges (Jr. Pee Wee, Pee Wee, Jr. Midget & Midget). Three more age/weight classes have been added to Pop Warner Football (Might Mite, Junior Bantam and Bantam).