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The 17th annual Niagara Youth Conference -- Niagara '11 The Tabernacle -- is an event that allows junior and senior high school students to spend four days learning about God and strengthening their beliefs. It was held Dec. 27-30 in the Niagara Conference Center.

For the first time ever the Niagara Conference, presented by Joshua Revolution, was free, so the attendance numbers skyrocketed. More than 2,000 teens, pastors, youth leaders and workers attended.

Niagara '11 focused on Old Testament symbolism and how it is applicable to life today.

Ben Sherman, a senior at Frontier High School, is a five-year Niagara Youth Conference veteran. Ben expressed his love and appreciation for the conference.

"Joshua Revolution is the focus of many youth groups' and churches' school years," Ben said. "Through the hilarious Reggie Dabbs and the ever-so-jovial Derek Levendusky, along with the music of Gracie and Derek Levendusky and Joe and Grace Larson, we are given evidence that there is something way beyond ourselves. Some may call that thing joy. Others may call it absolute awe. Many may just simply call it a tingle. I, for one, say it is all those things and more. I call him Jesus."

Ben is just one of the many young people who have been moved by their experience at Joshua Revolution.

Lily O'Connor, a junior at Immaculata Academy, experienced Joshua Revolution for the first time this year.

"As a first-time attendee, I have to say I was a bit nervous about what I was getting myself into, but in the end I regret nothing," Lily said. "Everything is about you, and for you. A great man once told me: What you put into it is what you get out of it. I went to the conference with an open mind and I believe I came out happier than ever. It was absolutely amazing."

The conference provides an opportunity for young people to make new friends from all over the world as well as make positive changes in their lives.

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Hannah Gordon is a junior at Immaculata Academy.