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Kingdom Bound is bound for Darien Lake

Darien Lake’s Kingdom Bound Festival, one of the nation’s leading family Christian music festivals, will be a place for people of all ages to have fun Sunday through Wednesday.

Adults will get to hear music from some of the biggest names in Christian rock, including Michael W. Smith, Skillet and Steven Curtis Chapman. There will be chances to participate in visual arts workshops and educational seminars.

But Kingdom Bound Ministries, the force behind the festival, has not forgotten the little ones or teens. If you are planning on packing the car with the whole family, organizers say there will be plenty for them to do and people to meet over the four-day event.

Many of the younger attendees love the accessibility of the rides and water attractions at Six Flags Darien Lake, and admission to those are built into the price of tickets. Matt Gould, the chief operating officer of Kingdom Bound Ministries, said the organization is trying to be more social media-friendly than in years past by adding more interactive events that teens will likely want to tweet about.

“We really want to bring people closer to the experience,” Gould said.

There also will be a college fair at the festival that will feature both Christian and nondenominational colleges for teens to check out. Here are some other events:

The Edge Tent

For the first time, Oklahoma’s XM Productions, founded in 1997 by students in the XM Youth Ministries, will be running this stage, known for its youthful “edginess” and featuring up-and-coming bands.

XM Productions is a “creative ministry,” according to Kevin Norwood, the group’s adult leader. XM is a performance art group of students ranging from eighth grade to college, and their goal is to spread a message of hope found in the Gospel.

“Teenagers are the best resource for other teenagers,” Norwood said.

The team will perform its own sketches on-stage for 15 minutes between the bands’ sets. While the bands are setting up, performers will continue to do interactive events such as T-shirt dyeing and mosaic building off-stage.

One such performance, called “Hope,” will feature Abbey, a teenage girl who takes a sledgehammer to words that used to haunt her when she was bullied as a younger girl.

XM Productions is also behind the 31 doors that will be seen around the festival grounds and park. The point of these doors is for people, particularly teens, to write down their dreams on the painted surfaces and be a part of the installation.

1 Girl Nation

This will be the first time this young pop band appears at Kingdom Bound.

“Our live performance is super high energy. The four of us, we like for people to leave our shows closer to God and also to have a fun time at our show,” said Carmen Justice, one of the four female members.

The band’s mission is to let young people know that they are perfect the way they are and that it is “cool to believe in Jesus,” according to Justice. These are the themes of most of their songs.

“In the Eyes” is one song that deals with learning to have a positive body image.

“We are girls, too, and we struggle with the same things that most women struggle with,” Justice said.

The girl group formed about four years ago after each member participated in a contest to find the right mix of Christian pop stars. In August 2013, 1 Girl Nation released its first album, and has been touring the country, performing at churches and festivals, ever since.

They are slated to perform at AMPED!, a tent for the 4-to-8-year-old crowd, at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. They will then host a Q&A at Pavillion 3 at 3:30 p.m. before performing at 5:30 p.m. on the Performing Arts Center Stage (“the Main Stage”).

Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic is a motivational speaker whose story can be particularly relevant to kids and teens who have experienced bullying or lack self confidence.

Vujicic was born without any arms or legs. As a child, he was often bullied in school and attempted to commit suicide at age 10.

“I never thought anything good could come from my pain,” he said.

He grew up in a Christian home, but he said he did not understand the love of God because he couldn’t understand how God wouldn’t have given him limbs.

At age 13, he was playing soccer and injured the foot he has on the left side of his body. He was bed-ridden and quickly losing hope. In those dark moments, he found religion, which helped him turn his life around.

After one of his first motivational speeches, which he started when he was only 19, a girl came up to him with tears in her eyes and thanked him for helping her realize her own self-worth. According to Vujicic, it was then that he realized he was doing what he was meant to do.

He has now spoken to more than 400 million people around the globe. Vujicic also recently released a book, titled “Stand Strong,” tailored to help teens overcome bullying.

Vujicic will be the keynote speaker Monday night. He is scheduled to take the Performing Arts Center Stage at 8:30 pm.


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