Imagine spending one high-energy weekend with students from all over the world, going to concerts, competing for big prizes, cheering on professional skateboarders and experiencing the best of dorm life. You listen to a dynamic speaker, interact with hilarious comedians, watch impressive fireworks, participate in a huge "Praise Party," play lots of sports and laser tag, and just hang out. These are only a few of the activities of nearly 4000 Grade 10 to 12 students who took part in Youth Quake 2001. The event which was held at the end of February attracted young people from Victoria to California to Africa.
Youth Quake is an annual retreat held at Briercrest Bible College in Caronport, Saskatchewan. The weekend is designed for young people to have a blast and to meet friends, but most importantly to come together to learn and to worship God. This year's speaker, T. J. Foltz, helped accomplish this using clear, simple bilblical truths and humour as a tool to help people to listen to what is really important. Foltz comes from Philadelphia where he is presently a youth pastor and a professor at Eastern College.
The theme for this year's gathering was from 2 Corinthians 5:17 and was summarized by saying: "Sometimes you look around and wonder if your faith makes any difference at all. Then one day you realize you trust a person, not just a bunch of facts....This changes everything." Foltz expanded this thought throughout the weekend using skits, preaching, stories, and audience participation.
Foltz also shared the stage with big name band P.O.D., who performed late Friday night for an excited and pumped crowd. This was the band's first time performing in Canada and they included songs from all five of their CDs including "Set Your Eyes to Zion" and "Southtown." P.O.D. band members also demonstrated they are more than just the music when they spent hours talking with kids and signing autographs after their already late show.
"That's what this band is really about," commented band member Sonny. "We're just honoured to be able to connect with young people."
Off the stage in a transformed gym GX Jam took over. GX Jam is an international team of skateboarders, in-line skaters, and dancers. The team arrived in Carenport from India, having just finished an overseas tour. They performed a number of high-energy shows combining personal testimonies of God working in their lives with lights, smoke, and lots of action.
Youth Quake has become a weekend that many teens look forward to and it is no surprise why. Briercrest has been sponsoring the event for about 15 years now and it knows what teens need to have fun. "The one thing that impacts me the most is being part of the huge group of teenagers, people my own age, worshipping God together," said Melissa, a seventeen-year old from Manitoba. "That is one unbelievable feeling." Melissa has attended Youth Quake for the last three years and claims "every year just gets better!"