AMBRIDGE — In hopes of making the game of football more accessible and open to young women, former Women's Football Alliance athlete, longtime coach and motivational speaker Felicia Mycyk is hosting an all-girls football camp Saturday, Sept. 18.
As more and more women get involved with football across the country from a playing, coaching and scouting standpoint, Mycyk — who has been at the forefront of change when it comes to women in sports in the area and currently serves as an assistant coach for the Ambridge varsity football team — is hoping to make an impact in her own community through the game she loves.
Mycyk's camp will be the first of its kind for young girls in Beaver County, though she has worked at all-woman's football camps in the past in the greater Pittsburgh area, hosted by former and current members of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Though she's familiar with the style of camp she's set to host Saturday in Ambridge, it never donned on her to do her own version targeting young girls until recently.
"I was handing out backpacks with Darrelle Revis this summer and there was a little time in between the next group coming, and this little girl saw a football and wanted to catch it," Mycyk said, explaining the reasoning behind her all-girls football camp. "It was a rough catch, but she really took to the instruction I gave her on how to catch it properly. That's when it hit me and made me remember that girls want to play football too. I don't know why it never clicked with me until now, but I'm so excited to get this opportunity to introduce more girls to this sport."
Mycyk's one-day, non-contact football camp will be held at Walter Panek Park on Breintestein Road in Ambridge from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and is open to all girls in grades 1-12 with a $20 registration fee.
Camp participants will learn the basic fundamentals of football, including passing, catching, running with the football, basic terminology, and more.
"Basically, what I want to do is give these girls that want to learn about football their own space to do so comfortably," Mycyk said. "I believe it's important to continue to push for change for women."
Mycyk is no stranger to change and recognition in her community. She was previously awarded the "Be The Change" award by the Pennsylvania Governor's Conference for Women, and also honored as a Beaver County "Star", recognized as a female coach at the Black History Achievement Award Banquet and selected as one of 40 under 40 Rotary Legacy Zone Young Professionals.
Now, she's hoping to creating a lasting impact through the game of football with young girls in the Ambridge area. That starts with Saturday's camp, which builds off of the fact that girls are playing football at the middle school and varsity levels throughout Beaver County, including at the likes of Ambridge and Beaver Falls, just to name a few.
"Girls are playing football, that much is clear," Mycyk said. "There's now an avenue for them to go to school to play flag football at NAIA schools now; it's their inaugural year. Girls are playing, so now it's now about what avenue can we get them into the game in. It's about showing them that they can still be physical, but also be a female."
This article by Joshua Carney, originally appeared in the Beaver County Times