(Nov. 22, 2103) The Ocean City convention center will be taken over by approximately 2,500 middle school students, youth leaders and parents this weekend as they have come to the resort to participate in an array of activities offered during the annual Youth For Christ ALIVE Conference.
About 135 churches from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia will be represented.
This year’s conference theme is “All In.”
“It’s all about being in it together, 100 percent working together to grow and be successful in this life,” said Metro Maryland Youth for Christ’s new Executive Director, Stephen Kaiss. “In your family, in school, in your community and your faith, give 100 percent and live up to your potential.”
Kaiss, who has worked with Youth For Christ for 33 years, took over for former Executive Director, Bob Arnold, on July 1.
“Bob did a fantastic job. I’m excited to be in this seat and to take the organization to the next level,” Kaiss said.
From Friday through Sunday, students, leaders and parents from Maryland and its neighboring states will take part in seminars, workshops, concerts, exhibits and prayer. ALIVE 2013 will also address the issues middle school students face every day, such as spirituality, sexuality, relationships, loneliness, peer pressure, anger and self-esteem.
“The ALIVE Conference, one of the largest middle school conferences in the country, provides resources to help students deal with the many issues that they face daily,” Kaiss stated in a press release. “This year, in response to increasing reports of school bullying, we have added an elective workshop focusing on enhancing students’ positive attitudes, values and behaviors. The workshop is modeled on the evidence-based national Point Break program.”
The conference will feature performances by national recording artists, The Museum, a modern Christian pop band that explores faith, justice and worship. Their debut album, “Let Love Win,” includes two hit songs: “My Help Comes From the Lord” and “Allelujah.”
Illusionist Danny Ray will share God’s transforming message through his illusions. He has a unique way of making people laugh, blowing their minds, and interacting with audiences.
ALIVE 2013’s national youth speakers, adult and leadership trainers include:
•National Youth Speaker Tony Nolan – Recognized among the country’s most influential Christian communicators, Nolan speaks to more than 800,000 students each year through radio, TV, conferences, festivals, concerts and church events. His life story fuels his passion for Christ and lies at the heart of his powerful message.
•National Youth Speaker Tiffany Thompson – Sharing from her own mistakes, daily struggles and victories, Thompson’s creative, compassionate and compelling style speaks directly to the heart of today’s youth.
•Adult Trainer Bob Arnold – Former executive director of Metro-Maryland Youth for Christ for the past 30 years, Arnold, through his message “The Sounds of Silence,” will help adults recognize the value of spending time in the presence of God. He will focus on how the disciplines of silence and prayer are transformative in helping to love God and others more.
•Youth Worker Trainer Dr. Steve Gerali – Author, speaker, professor and counselor, Gerali is globally recognized as an expert in the fields of Adolescence, Youth Ministry and Mentoring. Among his many published titles is a series of six books entitled “What Do I Do When Teenagers…” for parents and youth workers on critical issues that teenagers face.
In addition to the seminars, the Exhibit Hall will include an art room, bookstore, café, Wii games and karaoke. A dodge ball competition is on tap for Saturday evening. Students may also participate in a variety of sports such as volleyball, soccer and football on the beach between Third and Fourth streets in downtown Ocean City on Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m. The sporting events are sponsored by Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“I think it will be a great time for kids to get away from their everyday routines,” Kaiss said of the conference. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and energy.”
Registration for the conference will begin at 4:30 p.m. today, Friday, at the 40th Street venue for those who have not yet registered. Walk-in registration for the conference costs $85. Participants also have the option to sign up for individual events (Friday, $20; Saturday morning, $20; Saturday all day and evening concert, $45; Sunday, $20).
For more information, call 877-896-3802, 410-529-4434 or visit www.mmyfc.org.