850+ teens to participate in annual retreat

Published 11:18 am Thursday, February 7, 2019

United Youth Conference, formerly known as D-Now, will mark its 10th anniversary in Covington County this month with almost four times as many students as participated when it began.

Organizer Garrett Davis from Carolina Baptist Church said that the biggest change in that decade is a shift in focus from the event to the message.

“The way that we put the event on has changed so much over 10 years,” Davis said. “Now it is more about worshipping Jesus. It’s not about the flashy lights anymore, it is all about the message that we are trying to give.”

More than 850 teenagers from more than 22 local churches will flock to Opp High School for the kick-off of Covington Baptist Association’s annual event next weekend. That’s almost four times the 215 students who participated in the first event 10 years ago.

“I think that kids want to be involved in something good in their community and they want to come together as a group of Christians want to worship and serve others,” Davis said. “Now we have 22 churches involved. When we first started we only had six. Our goal is not to say, ‘Hey, come be a part of our conference,’ our thing is that this is everybody’s conference. There are several different denominations that come.”

Another thing that has changed about the event, Davis said, is the unity of the participating youth.

“The first year, kids were all separated by their churches or their schools,” Davis said. “I think one of the biggest changes now is that all of our kids are looking forward to seeing other kids from different schools. They are putting aside the rivalries of their schools to worship Jesus together.”

The event will kick off Fri., Feb. 15, with doors opening at 6:30, at Opp High School.

The events on Sat., Feb. 16, begin at 3:30 p.m.

Lunch will be provided on Saturday.

Registration for the conference is $35, which includes the cost of participating in the conference, T-shirts and the dinner on Saturday.

During the event, students from grades 6-12 spend their nights in a host home, divided into small groups based on ages.

At the host homes a new set of rules were put in place last year.

Those rules include limited cell phone usage, no practical jokes, no skateboards and no leaving the host home unless a parent authorizes it.

The speaker this year will be Joey Hill and the worship leader will be Ryan John from the First Baptist Church of Opelika.

For more information and to register, visit www.uycus.org.