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Payson Youth Fest 2001 March 10 at high school

Annual conference targets teens often sent to detention

PAYSON — Youth Fest 2001, the brainchild of youth council adviser Jackie Christensen, will launch its second annual conference March 10.

A spin-off of the Brigham Young University's Especially for Youth program, the conference was held last year at the urging of Christensen's teenage daughter.

"It doesn't have to be church, just motivational," Christensen said.

Last year's conference pulled some 960 youths from Payson and Spanish Fork high schools, and this year's event promises to be as popular, if not more so, she said.

Although open to all south Utah County youth, the conference especially targets students who spend an excessive amount of time in detention and could use a spark, she said. Those students are given school credit against their detention.

Speakers this year include popular youth motivator and speaker John Bytheway; former Jazz hoopster Thurl Bailey; Brad Barton, magician and public education specialist with Weber Human Services; and Kathleen Gage of Utah Valley State College's Turning Point. The conference will be at Payson High School.

The idea came to her in a dream, Christensen said. "I dreamt about it for a month. It bugged me to death."

Finally her teenage daughter urged her to go ahead with it, and she turned it over to the city youth council to plan. Local merchants helped sponsor the event and provided scholarships for teens who couldn't afford the $5 admission fee. The Payson Police Department and Payson City Council also backed the event last year and will again this year.

A counselor for Workforce Services, Christensen said she is keenly aware of the disappointment that folks experience when they fail to have goals in their lives.