An annual event offers the opportunity for teens across the country to join together as God made them, with different gifts and different passions, yet the same calling. The National Fine Arts Festival features inspirational speakers, bands, exhibits, workshops and presentations highlighting the teens' gifts in a competitive format.
This year's event -- the largest gathering of Assemblies of God youth, parents and leaders -- took place Aug. 3-7 in Orlando, Fla.
A contingent of 20 students ages 13 to 18 from the Delta area first competed at the district level (Colorado-Utah), playing instruments, writing dramas, performing human videos and creating works of visual art. Other competitors sang solos or performed with groups, danced (again solo or in groups), designed T-shirts and presented puppet shows.
Samantha Proctor, 16, excelled in writing, picking up the nation's top honor for a book chapter and placing fifth in poetry. Proctor's chapter, the first from a book titled "A Day of Evil," immediately caught the judge's interest. In addition to a beautiful trophy, Samantha won a scholarship to an Assemblies of God college.
"All our youth placed excellent in the competition, where they competed against 13,000 youth in the nation, but Samantha's achievement was incredible," said Cindy Davis, one of five adult sponsors on the trip to Orlando, Fla.
She said the students raised the $22,000 necessary for the trip by mowing lawns, washing cars, making tamales, painting fences and outbuildings, and other projects.
Participants also earning money toward college were Eloise Norfleet, Mario Chavez, Ashley Haag, Dezmond Jones, Amanda Kuta, Thomas Neil, Bryan White, Maddie Tracey, Steven Pitt, Braden Atchley, Isaac Timbreza, Monique Chavez, Devin Glidden, Morgan Dillingham, Derrek Johnson, Beki Atchley, Rachel Bishop, Helen Jaffe, Allison Atchley and Samantha Proctor.
Adult leaders included Jason Atchley, Christy Hill, Darby Davis, youth pastor, and Davis.
Next year's festival will take place in Louisville, Ky.