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.
If there is one thing Felicia Mycyk loves to do, it's coach. The current head track coach at Ambridge High School has provided wisdom and guidance for athletes of numerous sports and age groups throughout the years.
Although any opportunity to coach is valued, Mycyk says her experience as an assistant for the Ambridge Mighty Mite team in 2015 is one that wasn't the most enjoyable but helped her grow.
Assistant coach Felicia Mycyk looks over the Ambridge Mighty Mite football team during a playoff game during the filming of "Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country."ESQUIRE NETWORK
"There were some problems exposed on that show that a lot of us knew about but didn't admit until we saw them on TV," she said. "On my end, it showed me that I need to speak up more. I know I'm right, I know I'm good, I know my value."
In a town filled with impressive gridiron resumes, Mycyk's is far from the bottom of the barrel. After excelling in athletics her entire life, she worked her way into landing an opportunity with the Pittsburgh Passion, a semi-professional women's football team.
Despite her experience within the game, Mycyk feels as though her knowledge wasn't always put to use. On the show, she had multiple disagreements with Smith during practices and games.
"Watching those back taught me that I wasn't being assertive enough," she said. "I had ideas but didn't do my best to put them to use." - Assistant coach Felicia Mycyk
I had ideas but Mycyk had confidence far before she saw herself on the show but believes she has even more now. The mother of four makes a living helping others finding the leader within themselves and has received numerous awards and honors for her efforts as a mentor and motivational speaker. Unlike what she saw from herself in the show, Mycyk said she now knows to use her voice when she feels it can make a difference.
While she aims to help people in all areas of life, Mycyk's passion remains in the world of sports. Last spring, she helped Ambridge's Bethany Naughton take home a medal at the PIAA Track and Field Championships. This fall, Mycyk will be working with the high school football team as the speed and conditioning coach.
If a mistake is made or an adjustment is needed, it can be assured that Mycyk will be there to weigh in on how the problem can be solved.
This article by Noah Hiles originally appeared in the Beaver County Times.
We did it — four events in one weekend! It was a challenge but we organized four Community Heart & Soul picnics in local parks throughout Ambridge. We followed CDC recommended guidelines which allowed residents to have a low-pressure experience meeting our leadership team and learning about how Ambridge Heart & Soul will become the basis for building our community’s shared values and unique action plan.
I can honestly say, I love where we are at in this journey. Community Heart & Soul is about storytelling and how it can help communities build brighter futures together. The goal is to involve as many residents as possible, including those who are underrepresented and have not typically had a voice in their community’s planning processes.
During our picnics, residents were welcomed and encouraged to visit five stations to help set the stage for meaningful and transformative action plans. "
Ambridge Community Heart & Soul solicited feedback from residents at community picnics. Photo credit: Rustbelt Mayberry Photography / Ambridge Heart & Soul.
Each station had a different experience:
AMBRIDGE HEART & SOUL FOLLOWED CDC GUIDELINES FOR SAFETY AT THEIR SUMMER PICNIC EVENTS. PHOTO CREDIT: RUSTBELT MAYBERRY PHOTOGRAPHY / AMBRIDGE HEART & SOUL
It will be an uphill battle to earn people’s trust in a town where it wasn’t always easy to be heard. Fortunately, there is training and support from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the folks at Community Heart & Soul that will help everyone join together and collectively make a lasting impact.
This is not new terrain for me as a longtime advocate for civic engagement in Ambridge. The Community Heart & Soul program builds on my own work of making meaningful change through conversations and storytelling.
We are on our way to greater inclusivity and shared decision-making with these recent picnics, which engaged those missing voices and helped us learn more about what is important to our community. The next step is identifying shared values, called Heart & Soul Statements.
We are setting the stage for meaningful and transformative plans for action!
RESIDENTS WROTE THEIR HOPES FOR THE TOWN ON CHALKBOARDS AT THE AMBRIDGE HEART & SOUL PICNICS. PHOTO CREDIT: RUSTBELT MAYBERRY PHOTOGRAPHY / AMBRIDGE HEART & SOUL
I can already envision us doing the strategic group events — that we have yet to plan but will be coming in the future — because we laid the foundation and started the conversation. I see our Community Heart & Soul events allowing safe discussions where residents want to connect, converse, and answer real questions about their community in places like the library, parks, and more.
Resident-driven starts with residents seeing themselves in positions to be heard!
Kudos to our team for being exactly what this community needs to make Ambridge what we all know it can be! Relish the process because we will see results in each event moving forward.
I went to support the youth who wanted to do a protest in Ambridge. I did not realize what seeing signs saying reading black lives matters and strangers of all color and ages standing together to call out racism was going to cause an emotional reaction from me.
“People are angry. They don’t understand what to do next. There is confusion,” said Mycyk.
With remote learning, layoffs and kids with homework, Felicia says it’s too much to manage.
On her social media page, she’s heard from dozens of families who need help.
“You can’t blame the school for not being ready for this because guess what? They were ready for everybody to be in the school,” Mycyk said.
With tough choices and many unknowns, Mycyk began partnering with local churches and the Rotary Club to raise money to buy laptops for families in need.
“You’re supposed to give back to your community,” said Mycyk.
Mycyk says the one thing that can’t be given back is the loss of opportunity now that athletics are canceled for the rest of the academic year, too.
“It still hurts. … I have 14 seniors on my team,” Mycyk said.
Raeffon Ruskin is one of those seniors on the Ambridge High track & field team.
“Working all that time for my senior year to be taken away from me, it breaks my heart,” Ruskin told KDKA.
In Ambridge, The Network of Hope, Good Samaritan Church and Rotary Club are all helping to buy laptops for families in need.
This article by Pam Surano originally appeared on KDKA.
Lion Club District 14- N PDG Thomas Toland and the Ambridge Lion Club members recognized Coach Felicia Mycyk with the Heart of a Lion Award. The award generally is given to a member unless there is a citizen that embodies the Lions Club motto of “serve with uncommon kindness, putting the needs of our neighbors, our communities, and our world first."
Felicia Mycyk is a Rotary tornado because of her many Rotary activities and leadership. She’s also a coach, mother, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and a devoted community leader.
Felicia joined Rotary in 2011. Her Rotary activities include serving as a Club Vice-President, then serving as Ambridge Club President for two years. She has chaired several committees including the Annual Community-Wide Car Cruise and Unity Day. She is now the Public Image/Social Media Chair for District 7300. She’s looking forward to her role as an incoming Assistant District Governor.
Felicia loves working with children. She heads up a youth program sponsored by the Ambridge Rotary Club that allows school-age children to have a free weekly activity throughout the summer. She started an EarlyAct Club in her local elementary school for 7 students to experience Rotary as early as Kindergarten. She helped the EarlyAct Club do a successful Shoes for Nicaragua project.
What Felicia loves most about Rotary is the ability to connect with people locally, nationally and internationally just by being an active Rotarian. She regrets not having more time to devote to Rotary service. She is a Paul Harris Fellow.
Since 2006 Felicia has provided consulting services helping businesses, organizations and communities focus on goals, not tasks, in their pursuit of success. She also does motivational speaking and facilitates a workshop for others to set a plan and move forward with their decisions. Felicia tirelessly works to engage her local community, Ambridge, in a meaningful way by changing its conversation and perception. Through her work in the community, she pulled a team together to create Ambridge Connection, a community resource that promotes civic engagement. She 8 loves to write stories, produce videos, and provide live coverage for local happenings that matter to her community.
Felicia is a sports Wonder Woman. She played football for the Pittsburgh Passion as a starting cornerback. She coached competition cheerleading, varsity track, various football camps as well as high school and youth football. She now serves as a football coach for Moon Area School District. She also provides one on one speed and agility coaching focusing on multi-directional speed.
A former Girl Scout board member and troop leader, Felicia served on various boards throughout the region including Leaders Serving Beaver County and Laughlin Memorial Library. She was recognized with the “Be the Change” award by the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women. She was honored for her leadership involvement as a coach at the Black History Achievement Award Banquet. 9 Felicia was recently selected as one of the “40 Under 40” to participate in the Legacy Zone Young Professionals Summit in Cleveland.
Felicia spends as much time as possible with her husband, Nathaniel, and their four children. She and Nathaniel first met while in elementary school. She moved out of Ambridge for a while and when she returned, they started dating.
As an entrepreneur, a mother of four and wife, Felicia had to figure out how to balance her energy. She loves to share her experiences to help empower and inspire others to move to the next level of their lives. Felicia believes that most great achievements are combined efforts doing daily habits and accomplishments. She loves helping others win by inches with play-by-play victories. She finds this calming and relaxing. What a wonderful role model for all of us to emulate.
Another highlight was a special presenter for teens who were in attendance, Felicia Mycyk, a former Pittsburgh Passion quarterback and the regions only African American female football coach. She outlined fear as something one doesn’t know––the unexpected. She said living fearlessly does not mean living recklessly. Mycyk, also a marketing strategist and Moon Area School District track coach, cautioned against the YOLO (you only live once) mentality. She warned young women when faced with the pressures of premature sexual intimacies to stop and think about the decision they are making. “With the YOLO mentality, you may reason to go for it because you may not be here tomorrow, but chances are you will and you may end up pregnant or worse, end up with a disease,” she said. She went on to say that the YOLO thinking is a lie. “Everything you do in your day-to-day life, glorifies God. Do you want to live for today, for instant gratification or live for tomorrow?”
Mycyk says it was determination that got her on the playing field and kept her going while she evolved into the person she is today. She said she decided not to be defeated and not to be like everyone else.
“I’m me,” she said, “don’t let fear control you. If you let fear get the best of you, you have not allowed God to work in your life.”
Aldrich said she is honored to touch the lives of women and help them move past their fears to reach their full potential. Her motivational program, sponsored by Highmark, The Poise Foundation, McAuley Ministries Foundation and Marriott Pittsburgh City Center, is held annually for primarily female audiences.
This article originally appeared in the New Pittsburgh Courier.