“Our vision in Orange County is to have a presence on every junior high, high school and college campus and to equip, train, and encourage the students and young adults to stand firm in Christ and reach out to their friends,” explained Shannon Hybl, Newport-Mesa area representative for Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
“I got involved with FCA because my high school volleyball coach asked me to be a camp counselor at an FCA camp, where I would coach a group of girls and lead a Bible study with them, combining two of my passions, both God and sports.
“It was the greatest experience,” Shannon continued. “I fell in love with FCA and what it stands for. I love working with students. FCA is really a Christian club on campus, but you don’t have to be an athlete to come. We like to bring athletes in to speak, but lots of times youth pastors speak, and many of them are former athletes.”
Fellowship of Christian Athletes is the largest Christian sports organization in America. Its stated mission is to “present to athletes and coaches and all whom they influence the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.”
FCA has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world since 1954.
“I bring in speakers during lunchtime and we hand out free pizza for the kids, so it’s a big outreach that we call ‘The Huddle,’” Shannon explained. “We have really good relationships with the principals in the area and FCA is a nation-wide, well recognized organization.”
“I partner a lot with Young Life and the local churches,” Shannon continued. “The biggest difference is that Young Life is a club outside of school, where people can meet on a certain night at a person’s home, while FCA is a club on campus. FCA is also the only avenue that youth pastors can get on campus and talk to kids about what it means to have a relationship with God.”
Shannon’s area includes Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor, Estancia, and Costa Mesa high schools and Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa and Tewinkle junior highs. She also works with St. Andrew’s, Grace Fellowship, ROCKHARBOR, Mariners, The Crossing, Harbor Trinity and Newport-Mesa churches.
“I have roughly 600 students from those seven public schools,” Shannon said. “My favorite part is watching the teens encourage one another. I’m getting my masters in marriage and family counseling and I want to work with teens and their families. I love being there for teens; they have so many demands in life and need a place to come together and encourage one another. I think people would be surprised what many of these kids are going through and what wounds they have. We get to pray for the students, and lives have changed. We want them to know Jesus and to know Christianity is not just a religion, it’s actually a relationship.”
“We go into the campuses and get kids plugged in to community, so they have a sense of connection and don’t feel alone,” Shannon added. “It’s a kind of refuge, and we get kids plugged in somewhere – whether it’s youth groups, Bible study, FCA or Young Life. What draws students to FCA is really the family of FCA. It’s also a great way for students to be leaders on their campus.”
One leader is Trent Zimmerman, NHHS FCA President.
“Through FCA I can express myself as a son of Christ in a public school setting and influence others,” Trent said. “I strive to love others as Christ loves us, to build my relationship with God and show others what it means to have a relationship with Him. FCA in a word is ‘beautiful.’”
Kaylee Myers, CdMHS FCA President agrees. “FCA has been a place where I can go to be encouraged in my faith,” she said. “It has showed me that I too can have an impact for Christ.”
The Huddle meets weekly at the different schools.
“FCA could not exist without the support of people giving their time, their money and their prayers,” Shannon said. “It’s so encouraging to know there are people who believe in me and in what we are doing to impact these campuses. We are sharing the love of God and lives are being changed.”
For further information, email shyblfca.org or go to www.ocfca.org. Cindy can be reached at [email protected].