60+ Years of Service to the Youth of the Phoenixville Area
In 1956, five gentlemen from Phoenixville, Reverend Thomas McMenamin, Steve Hogga, Ed Morgan, Mike Wolaszanski and Fritz Shoemaker saw a need for a youth sports organization that benefited all of the youth of the Phoenixville Area. The goal of the five men was to develop an organization that would be open to all youth, regardless of race, color, creed or economic background. So was formed the Phoenixville Marian Youth Club.
With the support of the community and the generosity of major benefactors, such as Friendship Fire Company and Phoenix Steel Corporation, the dream became a reality. In 1956 Friendship Fire Company donated the use of its property, in the northern area of the borough, for PMYC’s first gridiron activities. Football uniforms and equipment were purchased through the generosity of the Phoenix Steel Corporation. The inaugural season saw two hundred and fifty boys participate in the youth football program.
With the obvious success, the founding gentlemen incorporated Phoenixville Marian Youth Club. Ed Morgan was the President, Steve Hogga was the Secretary and Treasurer and the officers were Reverend McMenamin, Mike Wolaszanski and Fritz Shoemaker.
The club continued to grow sponsoring other sports as well as football; boxing, swimming and basketball. PMYC’s home continued to be the Friendship Fire Company’s property until 1961 at which time the club relocated to a new home in the southern portion of the borough.
In 1958 Robert New, Sr. formed the Basketball program. The games were played in varies school venues in the Phoenixville area. Still going strong today, the home was Barkley Elementary School until the 2006 season were the new home became the new Schuylkill Elementary School.
Through the efforts of Steve Hogga and Joseph Zikmund, President of New York Coil Corporation, a new home was made available on New York Coil Corporation property at South Second Avenue and Manavon Street.
At the “Second Avenue” site a new field was built complete with lights, press box and refreshment stand. This site served as PMYC’s home from 1961 until 1991 when due to a lease termination, they were forced to look for a new home.
Through the efforts of Harry Dawson - President, Greg Grover - Vice President and Chuck McQuiston - Board Member, negotiations to lease grounds at the previous site of the Valley Forge Army Hospital were completed in the fall of 1991. The negotiations were with Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors, who control the government owned property.
Once the lease was executed the work on the new playing area began immediately. Under the supervision of Rich Gyuris, the field and practice areas were ready for the 1992 season.
It was an initiative of the Board for some time to find a sports program that would benefit the young ladies of the community. In 1991, Mary McDaniel volunteered her services to develop a Girls Field Hockey program. The program was an immediate success as 140 young ladies between the ages of 8 and 13 participated along with 25 volunteer coaches.
As our community continued to grow, the Board looked at adding instructional activities for the younger children. Under the direction of Dennis Arney, Flag Football for children ages 5 through 7 was added in 2000.
In the spring of 2004 PMYC added an instructional Girls Lacrosse program headed by Phoenixville Girls Head Lacrosse coach, Jen Foresta. The Girls program has since developed into a competitive program for girls ages 8 through 12.
In recent years Phoenixville saw a decline in the number of young ladies that were participating in basketball at the high school levels. In meetings with the Phoenixville Area High School Athletic Director and the Girls High School Coach it was determined that there wasn’t an avenue for the young ladies to play other than co-ed basketball programs. Thus, the PMYC girls’ basketball division was developed for the 2004 season. The program was organized and directed by Jeanne Schanzenbach.
As our community grows and changes, our Board of Directors has taken it upon themselves to keep up with the changing times and look to add additional sporting activities to enrich the lives of the children of our community. With that in mind the Phoenixville Area Boys Lacrosse program joined the PMYC family in 2006. Their inaugural season in the spring of 2007 saw 160 boys ages 8 to 15 participate.