PA Teacher Looks to Build Hockey Program at School from Ground up
Growing up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Braidyn Womer is no stranger to the game of field hockey. Devastatingly cut from her high school team after not making tryouts, Womer worked tirelessly to join the Cedar Crest College Field Hockey squad her junior year, played every game and was voted captain her senior year. After a year of teaching in Washington, D.C., Womer has returned to her stomping grounds as an English as a Second Language teacher at Lincoln Leadership Academy Charter School in Allentown, Pa.
Athletics in charter schools are founded mainly due to teacher interest and survive through fundraising efforts of staff and students.With field hockey being a predominant sport in the area, there is no shortage of fields, but kick starting a new school program is no small feat.
Having reaped numerous benefits from the sport of field hockey herself, Womer’s mission is to do just that: begin a field hockey program at Lincoln Leadership and give young girls the opportunity to fall in love with the sport.
USA Field Hockey: What inspired you to build a field hockey program from the ground up?
BW: Field hockey changed my life. It made me healthy and feel like a valuable girl in a large school where I could have easily gone unnoticed. I got such pride from wearing my uniform and pouring my heart and sweat into each practice and game. I learned my limits physically, and how to push my limits further and further, surpassing what I thought I could achieve.
USA Field Hockey: What do you hope to instill in the athletes participating in the program?
BW: Above all else, self-confidence and self-motivation. Field hockey lifted my spirits about health and body. I was not the best player, but I gave all that I had. I dream for my students to have the ability to love themselves and push themselves, regardless of what others think or say.
USA Field Hockey: What is your vision for the program?
BW: I plan on introducing field hockey as an afterschool program to students in grades 6-8 this upcoming spring. I hope to do a summer camp and clinics, so that in the fall, students in grades 7-9 will be able to play against local schools as a team. As time goes on, I would ideally like to develop Middle, Junior Varsity and Varsity teams for our school.
USA Field Hockey: Why would you like to target the athletes in grades 6-8?
BW: These students are roughly 11-13 years, a pivotal age in which children learn a lot about themselves. I’d like to have some assistance in their learning and growing process, to help them become strong, healthy young adults.
USA Field Hockey: Have you been able to host any play days or clinics so far?
BW: We have not done any play days or clinics just yet because we only have about three hockey balls, five sticks, and one pair of shin guards, which are all mine, but I have been collaborating with local contacts, former teammates, and even the high school coach who cut me from the team to round up old equipment and gather donations.
For more information or ways to get involved with Womer’s mission, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.