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Thousands of teens to gather in OC this wknd.

(March 22, 2013) This weekend’s Metro-Maryland Youth For Christ IMPACT High School Conference at the Ocean City convention center is expected to draw approximately 3,000 high school students, parents and youth group leaders.

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of seminars, workshops, concerts, exhibits and prayer at the 40th Street venue.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Beneath the Surface.”

“With everybody, especially kids, things may look great on the surface, but on the inside they may feel pain and loneliness. The different sessions will focus on that theme … such as how to deal with what’s going on inside of you and the importance of having God in your life,” said Metro-Maryland Youth For Christ Executive Director Robert Arnold.  “We’ve got a really great conference. Between all the bands, speakers and other activities, there’s a lot going on. It’s going to be an exciting weekend.”

The three-day IMPACT conference will feature regional and national entertainers, including hip hop artist Tedashii, Rend Collective Experiment, Manic Drive, Group1Crew, Seventh Day Slumber and Audio Adrenaline.

National youth speakers Mike Pilavachi and Preston Centuolo, youth work trainer Dr. Duffy Robbins and adult trainer Mark Yaconelli will talk with students and adults addressing a variety of issues faced daily.

“The Jesus Painter” Mike Lewis and “Living Illusions” Kristen Johnson and Kevin Ridgeway, who feature special effects illusions and dramatic escapes, will also be on hand this weekend.

Karaoke, Wii and table games, Laser tag, inflatable basketball, a bookstore, art room and graffiti wall will be available to participants in the dockside exhibit hall. The IMPACT’s “Got Talent?” competition will be held throughout the weekend. The winner will have the opportunity to showcase his or her talent on Sunday.

Artist Connell Patrick Byrne, who will provide an interactive prayer and worship experience focusing on the theme, “The Way of the Cross,” will be in the Encounter Room.

Teens can also participate in an array of sports on the beach between Third and Fourth streets, sponsored by Fellowship of Christian Athletes, on Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m.

Now in its 25th year, IMPACT has attracted more than 85,000 students and youth leaders since its inception. The first IMPACT conference took place in Martinsburg, W.Va., and drew 300 students. In 1992, MMYFC moved the event to the Carousel Hotel on 118th Street in Ocean City, where an average of 600 to 1,000 teens participant annually. After four years, the program outgrew the venue and was relocated to the convention center on 40th Street, where it’s logged a steady attendance of approximately 3,000. One year, as many as 4,500 people attended.

“The IMPACT conference, one of the largest high school conferences in the country, provides tools for students to deal with the issues that they face daily,” Arnold said.

The cost to participate in the conference is $85. Individual sessions will be available, as well. The cost is $20 for Friday, $20 for Saturday morning, $45 for all day Saturday (including evening concert), $25 for Saturday night concert only and $20 for Sunday. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. today at the convention center. For additional information, call 1-877-896-3802 or visit www.mmyfc.org.

Living Illusions
Lisa Capitelli, Ocean City Today
Lisa Capitelli, Ocean City Today
Managing Editor Lisa Capitelli, a New York native, entered Salisbury University (then Salisbury State) in the fall of 1998 and graduated in the spring of 2002 with a Bachelors of Arts degree. She majored in communication arts, and minored in art, with concentration on photography. Lisa began her career at Ocean City Today as a staff writer in February 2003. She was promoted to Assistant Editor in August 2011 and Managing Editor in May, 2013. Editorial responsibilities include covering sports — from local high school games, to fishing tournaments and recreation and park programs, the business community and weekly happenings, events and activities.

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