2015 My CYT Story Competition!

It’s that time again! Has your life been impacted by CYT? Tell us how, and you might be the next “My CYT Story” competition winner! You’re officially invited to participate in the 3rd annual nationwide CYT Essay Competition, where one winner from each Affiliate will win a free registration to the 2015 National CYT EXPO in San Diego, CA from June 22-24th!

Competition Details:

  • In 500 words or less, tell us what CYT has done in your life
  • Submit your story to your local affiliate’s Artistic Director by April 1, 2015
  • Stories will be read anonymously by your affiliate’s Board of Directors and a local winner will be selected by May 1, 2015

For the sake of clarification/ultimate excitement: there will be one winner per participating affiliate (ask your local Artistic Director if you’re participating), and each individual champ will receive a free registration.

  • Each winner will be submitted to CYT Inc, from which a GRAND WINNER will be selected
  • On Opening Night of CYT’s EXPO, all winners will be recognized and a grand winner will be announced
  • The grand winner gets bragging rights, a feature on the National Blog, and a free CYT sweatshirt from the CYT store!

Happy writing!

2014 My CYT Story Winner - Aubrey Muffett (with Paul Russell, Heather La Forge and Sheryl Russell)

2014 My CYT Story Winner – Aubrey Muffett (with Paul Russell, Heather La Forge and Sheryl Russell)

Here’s a excerpt from last year’s winner, Aubrey Muffett from CYT Sacramento.

“No other community of brave, precious souls could have planted and grown me so securely in Him, all the while allowing me a chance and plenty of room for my once timid personality to unfurl. I have been more warmly accepted and firmly encouraged at CYT than any other group. CYT has helped me develop different characters on stage, but even more so my identity in Christ.”

Oh Po Boy, it’s the NLC 2015

 

NLC poster

Next Friday and Saturday (January 23 & 24), CYT leadership will gather for the National Leadership Conference (NLC). This year, the lovely folks at CYT Lafayette, will host the NLC. To get a feel for the magic & mayhem sure to ensue, I did a quick Q&A with one of the NLC coordinators, Dr. Heather LaForge (sound familiar? She’s also the Director of Operations over at CYT Inc.). Here’s what she had to say:

What is the NLC?
The NLC (National Leadership Council) Conference is a gathering of CYT Leadership from across the nation. We gather twice: once in January at the appropriately named “NLC Conference” and once during EXPO.

When did it start & why?
The NLC was started in 2006 and was a gathering of Board of Directors from across the country. As a group they firmed up the CYT Model that we now share with all of our affiliates. Their initial purpose was designed “to give input to the National CYT Board of Directors as it preserves and extends the Vision/Mission/Values of CYT Programs across the nation.”

Is there a theme for this year’s NLC?
We choose a theme for the year that goes along with our EXPO theme and is based on the expressed needs of the affiliates. This year’s 2015 theme is “Unity Starts At Home.” Our 2015 Verse that goes along with our theme is Romans 15:5-7.

Who is attending?
Typically at the NLC we see the Board Chairs, ADs, MDs, and ACs . But in the past years, we’ve seen an increase of other staff too, which has been so great! More board members are attending as well as marketing personnel, costumers, and more. The NLC is a wonderful opportunity to sit down and learn from one another. It’s a uniting experience, as we all realized how connected CYT is.

What is the goal of the NLC?
We believe the NLC is an opportunity for training, the sharing of experiences, and encouragement.

How do you choose a host city?
Well, there’s a number of ways, but since it’s in January and the conference is so short (1.5 days), we try to aim for a warm location! But last year, Atlanta experienced freezing weather while we were there, so our plans didn’t quite work. However, we all made it and had a ball all snuggled together.

NLC 2014

CYT Leadership gathered for the 2014 NLC in beautiful Atlanta. Look at all that joyful leadership!

This isn’t the first NLC you’ve attended, correct?
I’ve been the past two years, since the NLC went on hiatus while I was the AD of CYT Santa Cruz. When I started working for CYT Inc., Sheryl Russell and I decided that we really needed to offer a time for affiliates to gather outside of EXPO, so we quickly planned the NLC in 2013 in Houston.

What was your fave part about previous NLCs?

My favorite part over the past years has been the opportunity for CYT leadership to gather and really focus on our collective mission of service. Our annual EXPO is super fun, and totally exhausting because of all the students in attendance. However, the NLC is different: still so fun, but really different in its focus. We gather without the students, as like-minded adults, to discuss the best way to lead our kids. I love hearing the stories of what goes on around the country. We get dedicated time to talk about potential ideas for the nation. The My CYT Story Competition came out of an idea from CYT Indy at the 2013 NLC.

What is your job at the NLC this year?
I’m hosting again. I’m sure someday people will get tired of seeing me up front (since I host at EXPO too).

Dr. Heather LaForge. #nlcface #expoface #yestheyarethesameface

Dr. Heather LaForge. #nlcface #expoface #yestheyarethesameface

 For now, however, I host because I’m the one who works with the host city and selects the speakers. I love working with people on what they will share. It feels like we never have enough time for all the ideas!

Any shout outs to key peeps helping out at this year’s NLC?
Dana Berkus (Board Member of CYT Lafayette) has been incredibly helpful. She found our hotel, arranged our meals, got a guest speaker, etc. She’s amazing! Also everyone at CYT Lafayette has been incredibly helpful, as well as our CYT Inc. staff of course.

Ok. Last question. If the NLC was an animal, what animal would it be?
A Narwhal. (Obviously)

NLC. #NarwhalsLoveChrist

NLC. #NarwhalsLoveChrist

Wow. A Narwhal in Lafayette. Well, I for one, can’t wait to see those pictures.Thanks for the deets, Heather!

Please contact Heather@cyt.org with any questions regarding NLC. For more on the Narwhal, go here.

Q&A with CYT Spokane’s Scott Worley

In continuing my obsession with interviewing CYTers around the nation, I recently spoke with CYT Spokane student Scott Worley. And in continuing my being so impressed with the caliber of people involved in CYT, Scott did not disappoint. Spokane is a lucky CYT Affiliate, indeed!

Ladies & gents, meet Scott Worley

Ladies & gents, meet Scott Worley

Let’s do a little get-to-know-you. Tell me your name, age, current location, and an interesting tidbit or two that we’d be surprised to learn.

My name is Scott Worley, I’m 19 years old, and I live in Spokane, Washington (I’ve lived here my entire life). Interesting tidbits…I have grown a beard, shaved my head, and been painted green for several CYT shows. And for Christmas the past four or five years, I’ve asked for a pair of red converse high tops. They usually last me a little over a year and so I get the perfect time span out of them and I wear them with everything no matter what I’m wearing.

An example of Scott being green...

An example of Scott being green…

I love it! Tell me your experience as a student at CYT Spokane. How long were you involved, and what were some highlights?

I’ve been involved with CYT Spokane sense the age of 11. I was in the cast of 10 shows and on crew for four shows. Some of the highlights have been meeting amazing people who I truly believe will be my friends for life. There also isn’t a whole lot that can compare to the feeling of singing your heart out to a sold out theater of 750 people at the breathtaking Bing Crosby Theater.

Friends

Any favorite roles or shows?

Some roles I’ve had the honor to play were the Beast and Shrek. But my all-time favorite roll was Jud Fry in Oklahoma!. The stretch as an actor I was able to experience was amazing! My favorite show, however, would probably be A Christmas Carol. We had a bit of a smaller cast for that one so everyone was playing several roles and we just had a blast doing such a exciting and fun show.

Not looking so scary as the Beast...

Not looking so scary as the Beast…

What was your go-to audition song?

“I’d Rather Be Sailing” from A New Brain. I was fortunate enough to be able to perform it for the I.E. Thespian Festival and qualify nationally for Solo’s.

I’m told you recently interned for a production of Peter Pan. How was that? What were some of your responsibilities?

That was an absolute blast! Some of what I did was block scenes, as well as fight choreography and assisted with character work and development.

What was the main part of that experience that you didn’t see coming? 

I really didn’t realize how big of an undertaking the whole process really is. As a director you are responsible for everything from the the casting of the show to the set design. I learned you need a solid vision as a director because while you do have a team of dedicated and amazing parent volunteers, they are all going off your vision for the show.

And the second thing that really caught me off guard was the thing you are constantly told when in CYT but never fully grasp until you see the full picture –  how much the parent volunteers really do for a show and for us all. A show would crumble if it was not for the parents giving their time, energy, resources, and GAS for these productions. So to all CYT parents everywhere, thank you for everything you do. You are really changing lives with the work and time you are putting into your CYT.

You attended the 2014 CYT EXPO. Best three days of your life?

I did attend this year, as well as the one before and they were both awesome! Not only did I get an original CYT tie out of it from the good Dr. LaForge herself but met a lot of amazing CYTers and had a blast! It seems like another one of those sayings you always seem to hear but it is oh so true – a CYT’er is a CYT’er no matter where they are from.

Modeling the CYT tie!

Modeling the CYT tie!

What are you currently up to and what is your future looking like?

Right now I am in my first year of college and am involved with community theater around Spokane, as well as teaching Drama 101 this winter semester at CYT. Down the road I am working towards getting a degree in Secondary Education to become a high school Social Studies teacher and will hopefully direct a CYT show of my own some day!

So awesome! Thanks for humoring me and all my questions. Best of luck Scott!

Spotlight on CYT North Idaho student Kalla Mort

Sigh. I just love CYT students. I recently got a chance to speak with CYT North Idaho student Kalla Mort and she’s a gem of a human. In the below interview, we discuss her various roles, her favorite CYT moments, and what she’s up to now. Enjoy!

How did you first get involved with CYT?
A family friend of mine invited me to come see her in Snow White. And after, that I auditioned for Jungle Book and was hooked from the start!

As you know, CYT is one huge pseudo-family that loves to spread the love to actual family members. Are your siblings or parents involved? 
I have three siblings – two older sisters and a younger brother. My older sister Kelsea was only able to do a few shows before graduating, and my brother Bryson only did one show. My mom always loves being a part of the Make-Up Committee. She loves being around all of the CYTers and being able to connect with them on their level!

Kalla at her sister Kelsea's wedding!

Kalla at her sister Kelsea’s wedding!

What has surprised you the most about the world of theater?
Probably the instant familial bond you have with your fellow actors. Even outside of CYT, the family aspect is there. I never realized you could find a group of “misfits” and imperfect people who still love and support each other like a family would.

Continue reading

Save the date for CYT EXPO 2015!

CYT Santa Cruz student Tisha Hulter made this video about her experience at CYT EXPO 2014. We’re going to go ahead and use this as a Save the Date reminder for the next EXPO: June 22-24, 2015. Mark your calendars!

This video can also be found on YouTube HERE.

HYPE students are taking action this fall!

There are a million reasons to love HYPE. They’re CYT teens from around the country who are dedicated to pursuing excellence by taking on leadership roles and getting involved in the community around them. And now, their HYPE passion is about to explode all over the country this fall! Which give us all the more reason to love them to bits.

HYPE students from CYT Spokane

HYPE students from CYT Spokane

Following the 2014 CYT EXPO, the HYPE students have been proactive by following up with the ideas that they discussed in July. Students have been creating collaborative groups on Facebook for their different jobs, and have been sharing ideas with one another about what they are doing in their HYPE groups. They have been sharing pictures of their retreats and fall kick-offs, and have shown an overall enthusiasm for leading and growing in their specific areas.

CYT Santa Cruz

CYT Santa Cruz

A huge shout-out to Sean Grossnickle’s awesome idea of casts writing letters to one another – either to a cast in another area who’s doing the same show or a cast performing the same weekend. Although he encouraged HYPE groups to spearhead the letter writing, it’s open for any and every CYT area that wants to participate. 

CYT Houston

CYT Houston

It’s so cool that the students are being innovative and sparking movements among the CYT groups. This is exactly the vision that was set for them at the Expo, and it’s so encouraging to see it take form!

Find out more about HYPE and how you can get involved HERE

Cyclists are raving about CYT Fredericksburg

On September 6th, CYT Fredericksburg participated in their local YMCA Lakes and Grapes Century Ride. This was a 50, 75, or 100 mile bike ride for over 300 people! Along the way there were about six rest areas that gave the bikers water, snacks, and some encouragement, and CYT was the 2nd rest stop on the map (30 miles into the bike ride).  

CYT Fredericksburg went all out and the cyclists loved it! They had sets from Little Mermaid, a water mister hanging from the trees, water, Gatorade, peanut butter sandwiches, oranges, grapes, goldfish, chocolate, and of course the amazing CYT kids cheering them all on with some great music playing in the background.

Not only did the kids have a great experience, but they were voted the NUMBER ONE rest stop of the day!! It was a long day for the teens, arriving at 7am and working in the heat until almost 1pm, but they did a great job!

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We’re always so excited to hear about the awesome ways CYT Fredericksburg gives back to their community (like thisthis, and this). A big shout out to everyone involved!