Kelsi Lykens: A Dedication to Volunteering and Field Hockey

Apr 11, 2023 | 2022-2023, Blog

By Kelly Blackhurst, NFHCA Awards & Digital Communications Manager

Happy National Volunteer Month! The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is thrilled to catch up with the remarkable coaches who were recognized as inaugural recipients of the NFHCA President’s Service Award for 2023, including the newly appointed head coach at Lehigh University, Kelsi Lykens. Lykens is one of three exceptional coaches who have shown unparalleled commitment and service to the NFHCA. In this interview, Lykens opens up about her early volunteering memories, shares her experiences of serving on various committees, and reveals what she has learned about herself while serving the NFHCA.

Q: Can you share an early memory of volunteering and how that sparked an interest to continue?
A: When I was in third grade, I watched both of my parents create a youth field hockey program within my school district for both girls and boys in grades 3-6. My parents organized practices, scrimmages, hosted tournaments, ran summer camps, etc. They allowed parents to become coaches and hosted on-field sessions where they taught them how to teach the sport. They incorporated the high school field hockey team and let them run the summer camps.

What I loved is that no one made a profit, and my parents did not take anything for themselves. Everyone volunteered their time and asked for nothing in return. At a young age I was watching my parents grow the game and facilitate an environment where people WANTED to be involved. Later, they added the opportunity for children in first and second grade to learn the sport. Luckily, when I was a senior in high school, I got to coach the first and second grade team. Giving my time back to these young field hockey players helped me realize how much I can make a difference. I was a role model for them, and I took my role seriously. I wanted to inspire the next generation of field hockey players and that is still my goal while coaching. However, I’ve also sought out other ways to give back to the game, and luckily the NFHCA has given me that chance.

Q: You’ve volunteered a lot for the NFHCA! Tell us the various committees and groups you have been a part of.
A: Annual Convention Committee (2021 – Present), Scholarship and Opportunity Fund Donor (2021 – Present), Strategic Planning Ad Hoc Committee (2022), Senior Game Coach (2022), Division II Interim Group Representative (2019-2020). Outside of the NFHCA, 2022 NCAA Division II Championship Commentator.

Q: What is one thing you learned about yourself while serving the NFHCA?
A: I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask for help. Serving on various committees and volunteering my time with the NFHCA has connected me to people in the coaching community that I would not have met otherwise. I’ve learned that fellow coaches want to help and assist you in any way that they can. Being surrounded by these people is inspiring, and I aim to do the same for other young coaches looking to get involved.

Q: Tell us in one sentence why others should volunteer within the NFHCA!
A: People should volunteer within the NFHCA because a little work goes a long way in changing and enhancing the sport for all.

Q: What was a memorable stop along the way in your coaching journey?
A: One memorable stop in my coaching journey was starting the DII field hockey program at New Haven in 2017. It was a full circle moment because I realized I was following in my parents’ footsteps. Beginning a program with barely any resources and watching it flourish into a competitive program that people want to be a part of was one of the biggest blessings of my life. I am eager to watch the Chargers thrive in years to come!

We applaud Kelsi Lykens for her exceptional service to the NFHCA. Stay tuned throughout the month as we profile the third recipient of the 2023 President’s Award, Laura-Ann Lane. 

Earlier this month, we recognized Jessica Weiss – read here!

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The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is a nonprofit organization serving field hockey coaches and supporters of the game from across the United States. The mission of the organization is to champion, strengthen, and celebrate field hockey coaches and the game. The NFHCA strives to cultivate and recognize the professional contributions of its membership and to foster and promote the growth of the sport. The NFHCA is responsible for providing a recognizable presence and voice in regard to legislation affecting the sport as well as interscholastic and intercollegiate programs.