EXPO 2015: Beep Beep, Food Truck’s Here!

You coming to EXPO? Big time!

You gonna be hungry? Obviously!

Have we got you covered? You know it!

FOOD TRUCKS, baby! Food trucks are coming to EXPO on Monday night, Tuesday night, and…wait for it…Wednesday night!

food-delivery-truck-clipart

Because there is no food in walking distance (other than at the hotel) we have brought the food to you! Each night there will be 3 food trucks in the park for you to choose between. Please be sure to arrive at the park between 5:30-6:30pm in order to purchase your meal voucher for the truck where you want to eat at that night. Meal vouchers are $12 each. Check out these yummy options:

FOOD TRUCK # 1 – That’s What Cheese Said

that's_what_cheese_said Choose one of the following entrees. Comes with a side or fruit, and a drink

– Philly Cheese Steak (deli roll)
– Pastrami Cheese Sandwich (deli roll)
– “Hello Hot Sauce” Chicken Grilled Cheese (sourdough bread or wheat)
– “Soup Said” Reduced Onion Grilled Cheese (sourdough or wheat)
– Nonnie Bacon Burger
– Gorgonzola Cheese Burger
– Mac N’ Cheese with Extensions

FOOD TRUCK # 2 - Rolling Taco Truck

Rolling_taco_truck
Choose one of the following entrees. Comes with a side or fruit, and a drink

– 4 Beef Rolled Tacos (topped with Fresh Cabbage, Mexican Farmers Cream, Guajillo Salsa & Cotija Cheese)
– Kogi-Fornia Burrito (Angus Beef Korean BBQ Marinated for 2 days in a Kogi Sauce, Cabbage with a Mirin Dressing, Fried Noodles, Avocado & Srirasha Aioli)
– The Beaner Burrito (vegetarian) Refried Beans with Vegetable Oil, Soy Chorizo, Sliced Pickled Jalapeños & Cotixa Cheese.

FOOD TRUCK # 3 – Stuffed

stuffed Choose one of the following. Comes with chips and a drink.

– Cheeseburger
– Bacon Cheeseburger
– Hamburger (no cheese)
– Mac N’ Cheese
– Sliders (no cheese)
– Sliders (with cheese)

Get ready to get your grub on!

EXPO 2015 Guest Artists: James Eckhouse & Keliher Walsh

CYT-35th-EXPO-LOGOIt’s getting hot in here and it’s not just because of the weather in SoCal! The EXPO 2015 itinerary is boiling over with awesome events for its participants. One particularly hot ticket that you won’t want to miss is the Master Class being taught by Broadway and Hollywood actor, James Eckhouse (best known to TV audiences playing Jim Walsh on the hit FOX series, Beverly Hills 90210), and Playwright/Director, Keliher Walsh (recent recipient of the prestigious Jerome Fellowship for playwriting).

Keliher Walsh

Keliher Walsh

I recently chatted with the thoroughly enjoyable Mr. Eckhouse about acting, teaching, and youth theatre. Enjoy some snippets of our convo below:

James, you have a great career as an actor, why did you choose to start teaching your craft rather than just practicing it?

As people often say about teaching, I always learn more than my students. It solidifies my own point of view. It is eminently gratifying. It’s always an enlightening experience to teach. I’m teaching in LA right now & it is really fun.  I get to combine my eclectic training. I started as a teen at Second City in Chicago, then after a short stint at MIT, I went to Julliard, which was very formal. I wanted to keep studying in LA, and I got turned on to Meisner technique. It put all the other stuff together.

When teaching, I get to use everything that I know. I get to solidify how I feel about approaching the work. The first thing I tell my student, “I’ve been doing this 40 years and I always am learning.” The best thing you can do for a student is let them know that there is no dogma. As soon as they hear a teacher say, “This is the definitive way that you do something,” run in the other direction! Just recently, I was working with about 20 actors at the top of their game, and was reminded again that everybody works differently. We all have our own way. The best actors incorporate it all. The most important thing you can do is to develop, cultivate, your mine your own point of view. Because that’s all you’ve got.

James Eckhouse

James Eckhouse

You are coming to CYT EXPO this year & not only addressing the actors themselves in a 2-hour master class, you are also speaking to teachers, specifically, about how to best teach their actors.  This is such an important opportunity for our leadership & we are so grateful that you are doing this! Tell me about your desire to help the teachers be more effective?

That was kind of an added idea! I think what I can bring to them is encouragement for them to realize that there are many, many ways to get into the head of the character. In particular, some of my favorites are: Games, Meisner, physical warm-up, imagination, having students use their own stories and encouraging that point of view. I’m planning on doing a Q&A. I’d like to have more of a discussion than a workshop.

I am the curriculum developer for CYT, Inc. A question I often get from our affiliates is “What should we teach our newer actors to help them establish a good theatre foundation?”  You’ve just shared with us your thoughts on “how” the teachers teach, now I’d like to hear your thoughts on “what” teachers should teach in order to help build that solid foundation.

I think one thing, it helped me enormously, is theatre games. Viola Spolin’s book is extremely helpful. Games that lead into basic acting techniques. Don’t be afraid to come up with your own games, either. I love to do stuff with text, maybe work with a poem. One of the best classes I had at Julliard was in poetry. The language is so complex. I have a real passion for Shakespeare & text. (At EXPO) I might do some monologue work. I always encourage people to tell their own story. When they do that, they DO use language fully. No one told them to “make it big.” They just do it! In their own story, the students will use language for purpose that is rich, colored, & varied. It’s great for writers as well.

So, you think writing is an important skill for actors to have?

Absolutely. You have to give them tools to help them with communicating ideas, activating their imaginations, and developing a discerning mind. Writing is essential. Today, you have to do everything. You can no longer just say, “Well, I only do this” and then wait by your phone for your agent to call. It’s not like that anymore. You have to be able to wear as many hats as possible. Because of the industry today, you can turn on your phone and create a web series. Then, in a minute, you are producing, acting, and writing in a series that you created.   You have to do it all.

CYT stands for Christian Youth Theater. Let talk specifically about youth theatre. How do you change your teaching or directing methods when working with youth rather than adult talent? Or do you?

The younger people are less fearful. They will enter into that childlike space more readily. Because, let’s be honest, that’s a lot of what acting is: playing dress-up and cowboys & Indians. Older actors will put limits on themselves; the youth are closer to their instincts. I encourage them to continue being in touch with their instincts. Acting can seem like a lazy craft. It takes an enormous amount of work. But, the work that an actor does is sort of mysterious. There is a misconception that you just learn the lines and go onstage. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There is an enormous amount of work that goes into it between the time the actor gets the text and then performs it.

Absolutely! I’m so excited for you to meet our fearless CYT kids. You will love them.

I’m looking forward to it!

So are we! Thanks for the time, James!

Hear more tips, insights, & encouragement from both James & Keliher at EXPO!

New Events for CYT Leaders at EXPO 2015!

Thanks to Heather LaForge, CYT Inc.’s Director of Operations, for this post.
CYT-35th-EXPO-LOGO

There’s been a lot of attention regarding the incredible experiences our students are going to have at EXPO this year. In addition to the amazing opportunities for all students, our Improv teams, and HYPE groups are planning some awesome things for their respective groups, too!

Yeah, that’s cool, but what about our awesome leadership? Certainly, there is more in store for the leaders at EXPO than just chaperoning duties, right?

Oh, you know it!

FEAR NOT wonderful leaders, the kids aren’t the only ones in line for fun.

NLC 2014

CYT Leadership at NLC. That was real, but it’s gonna be even more real at EXPO 2015. Can you believe this is our job?!

We have wonderful things planned for our leaders at EXPO this year, including some NEW OPPORTUNITIES like…

WE’VE ADDED A WHOLE NEW DAY!

In years past, the Leadership session began on the 2nd day of EXPO. This year, we are starting when the kids do, and we have a WHOLE DAY of exciting new activities planned just for leadership on Monday June 22nd!

So what are we doing on Monday June 22nd?

1. Worship in the morning with our kids!

Every morning (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) at 8am in the Ballroom, leaders and students will gather together in the ballroom to worship together (led by worship leader, Sam Perry)! Don’t miss out on this time: in addition to worship, we will be doing announcements, encouragement, and fun!

2. Hang with Hollywood/Broadway Actor James Eckhouse, while Enhancing your Teaching Technique

After morning worship, head on over to Marbella room, from 10am-12pm, to learn new techniques from a professional actor and teacher as to how to help your kids move to the next level in their acting abilities! James Eckhouse has agreed to offer this class free to all EXPO Registered leadership! Non-registered leaders can take this class for just $50. (Non-registered teachers/directors should contact Heather LaForge at heather@cyt.org to RSVP today.) Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity!

 3. Meet, Greet, & Exhibit the Magic of other CYT Affiliates

When you’re done schmoozing it up with James Eckhouse & recharged with a little lunch, cruise on over to Portofino room from 1pm-3pm for The Affiliate Exhibition. This event is designed to give you all the opportunity to share your ideas and learn from one another! Bring something you are proud of to show off to the affiliates! Examples include a costume, prop, show book, program, Standing O pamphlet, or more! Contact Heather LaForge TODAY to share what you are bringing so she can ensure you have the space to showcase your stuff. Don’t have something to share? No problem! Come hang out with other leadership and make new friends before opening night of EXPO!

4. Indulge in a Luxurious Software Q&A with Travis Russell

Have a snack or an afternoon tea with your new bestie from another affiliate, then boogie on back to Marbella room from 4-6pm for a Q&A with T.Russ–aka the software maverick of CYT. Stop by and learn more about the upcoming software that Travis has been working diligently on, in an effort to design a truly remarkable & useful system for CYT. I’ve seen a sneak preview and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

5. Get Inspired at the Opening Night Session

Can it get better than an afternoon of software designed just for your CYT needs? It can. And it will Monday night from 7-9pm in the Ballroom. Come hear Paul Russell speak and celebrate 35 years of CYT with us!

CYT Founders, Paul & Sheryl Russell enjoying the southern hospitality at the 2015 CYT NLC.

Who has two thumbs, a wife named Sheryl, and co-founded CYT 35 years ago? This guy! That’s Paul Russell. On the left. Sheryl is on the right. They’ll be at EXPO.

And that’s just Monday! We’ve got two more rocking days of EXPO and even more amazing things planned for our leaders: NLC, workshops, breakouts, and more! So as you plan your trip, be sure to look through our guidebook , which has the schedule, speakers, and answers all your burning questions about EXPO 2015.

Grab your sunglasses (seriously, it’s bright there), your flip flops (Rainbows, if you want to fit it in San Diego), and be ready for a week of training, equipping, and serving together as we celebrate 35 years of CYT!

An Improvathon says what?

Facebook-Groups-header-ImprovathonThe deadline for Improvathon 2015 team sign-ups is Friday, May 8. That’s TOMORROW people! And, I’ve got it on pretty good authority that if you don’t sign up tomorrow, the sun will not come out and you will be stuck in a day that’s gray and lonely. You should probably head on over to the Improvathon website right now. It’s ok…we will wait…

OK! Now, that you’re all amped up about Improvathon & are counting the days until CYT EXPO, let’s play a little blog-improv* with Improvathon 2015 Director, Bobby Marchessault, and one of the Improvathon 2015 judges, Chris Gott.

*NOTE: It is a stone cold fact that questions kill improv. Thus, no questions were asked during the course of this interview. Also, it’s long because we forgot to set the timer. No apologies, just commit! Off you go…

CYT: Neither of you are first timers at CYT Improvathon.

BM: Nope. I’ve had the privilege of experienced both sides of the table. Having been a coach a while back, and now having the opportunity to direct it 2 years in a row.

CG: Last year was my first year actually attending Improvathon, though I did see some of the finals in Santa Cruz a couple years ago. Our primary goal has been to make Improvathon a more enjoyable experience for everyone that attends, while also promoting our CYT values. Personally, I’m excited about pairing up teams and giving them the space to play together, learn from each other and build relationships across the country. While competition drives us to do better, building community can help us to make each other better.

CYT: Yes, and the 2015 EXPO theme is a spin on The Wizard of Oz. That has inspired some really rad team names.

BM: Word. Not sure if I’m supposed to have favorites already, but based solely on names, Kansas is awesome. (And those are words I never thought I’d say…no offense Kansas.) Fitting I guess. But now I have high expectations for their puns, if I’m able to listen at all while slaying Guitar Hero in my head to the sounds of Kansas.

CG: Yes, the Kansas team name “Kansas: Carry on My Wayward Puns” is epic. Any team name you can sing earns bonus points. Every year teams show off their s-pun-tacular skills. This year, my favorite is the “L. Frank Bombs” from Sacramento, but my wife is partial to Kansas City’s “The Flying Pun-keys.”

CYT: Yes, and I’m sort of obsessed with “The Rainbroz!”. They have a z and an exclamation point in their name. (New choice!) Registration for Improvathon can be done at a website.

BM: Yup. I believe the deadline is tomorrow (It is!). So get a team together quick! And make sure if you’re coming you really pay attention to the playbook rules. If you have any questions, use the email on the website!!

CG: I’ve heard from a few people who didn’t know that they can go to improv.cyt.org to get loads of information on all things Improvathon 2015. Beyond the basic date information is the rules for this year’s Improvathon (which are fine tuned from last year’s rule set), there is also detailed rules for each of the games in the Playbook. I think the best/worst thing about the Playbook are all of the videos. I DEFINITELY haven’t gotten lost in the Who’s Line/Improv-a-ganza YouTube universe. Nope. Not me.

BobbyM_Improv

Improvathon 2015 Director/Judge, Bobby M. He slays at Guitar Hero.

CYT: (Don’t deny in improv, Chris.) You both do other things for CYT, yet, you choose to also lend your genius to Improvathon. 

BM: Uh oh. No one told me I was expected to bring some genius with me. This could be a problem. Hopefully our other judges can bring on the genius.  In the past I have had the privilege of directing some CYT shows, vocal directing, and even a stint as managing director for a season. Nowadays I teach a class on occasion and recently had my first experience as a parent volunteer, but for the most part I need all the genius I can muster for Improvathon.

CG: Officially, I’m the Communications Assistant for CYT Inc., which is a delightfully squishy job that includes tech support for all of our affiliates, hosting a weekly Q&A Office Hours meeting Tuesdays at 10AM Pacific/1PM Eastern time, being the first point of contact for people interested in starting new affiliates, and generally writing a lot of emails. Helping with Improvathon lets my creative side get a little bit of exercise, too :)

CYT: Yes, and neither of you are from CYT San Diego, yet, that is where EXPO is being held this year. It is quite sunny there and also the birthplace of CYT.

BM: Well, if we’re being technical (Of course we are.), I kinda am from CYT San Diego. But my last gig with them was in 1993. All of a sudden I feel old. I digress, whenever someone asks where I’m from, I say San Diego and since no one knows where that is, I let them know it’s sunny and the birthplace of CYT. It makes me an instant rock star when I drop Paul Russell’s name.

CG: My original affiliate is CYT Santa Cruz, where it is often sunny and beautiful as well. However, several years ago I moved to Northwest Ohio. There is almost nothing that Ohio has in common with San Diego. There is no ocean, no mountains, no ocean breeze, no CYT and no ocean. It will be great to get away from the humidity and experience the awesomesockness (that’s a real word – trust me, I’m a Communications professional) that will be on display at EXPO and Improvathon.

CYT: Yes, awesomesockness is a real thing. I accept that. (New choice!) You’ve got some veteran Improvathon teams and some newbies this year. Sometimes nervousness and confidence both show up at Improvathon. 

BM: If only they all realized that everyone else is both nervous and confident at the same time. Chances are whether you’re a veteran team or a newbie, you feel the nervousness no matter how confident you are. It’s kinda the nature of Improv, right? (No questions! It is the nature of improv)  Who knows what could happen to trip you up. When it comes to the experienced teams, I love watching how supportive everyone is of each other. I know when I brought a team for the first time ever, the more seasoned coaches were super supportive and encouraging. This year we are taking the opportunity to pair up experienced teams with a newer team so they can learn from each other and root each other on. I’m looking forward to seeing how that works to hopefully build some relationships and gives everyone another affiliate in their corner.

CG: One of the great things about Improvathon, I think, is the variety of experience that the teams bring. We are doing some things to try to break down the walls between teams as we move forward, but teams should bring their best – regardless of where that is in the development cycle. Beginning teams should know that the judges are there to help them develop their skills, not to tell them what they are “doing wrong.” Experienced teams should remember that good improv is fun (even when you aren’t doing comedy), and that they can ALWAYS develop their skills. All of the teams can benefit from each other’s experience and perspective. I’m hoping that teams work together and help each other develop, either by watching (and cheering for) each other’s showcases and performances, or in the breakout workshops.

Improvathon 2015 Judge & CYT, Inc. Communications Guy, Chris G. He believes strongly in the existence of awesomesockness.

Improvathon 2015 Judge & CYT, Inc. Communications Guy, Chris G. He believes strongly in the existence of awesomesockness.

CYT: Yes, and in many cases Improv games are weird & make no sense except as Improv games. 

CG: That’s true. I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen some guys walking the street doing some version of our improv games, but they just needed their medication. Remember, one person doing improv games while mumbling to themselves and arguing with their fictional teammates isn’t funny, but a group of people doing them on stage (or in the city) is hysterical.

BM: Whatchu talkin bout Willis? (No questions!) I thought everyone played improv games everywhere. Hmm. Maybe that explains the looks I get at social events when I pull a piece of paper out of my pocket and read a random line as part of our conversation.

CYT: Yes, that is why. (New choice!) Some say Jesus is/was great at improvising. Example: “Dang, I had that cup of blood here a second ago…no worries, Decipes (rhymes with wipes). Bam! I’ve turned this wine into my blood.” Example #2: “Only 2 fish & 5 loaves ya say? And…feast!”

CG: Jesus was an excellent storyteller and improviser. He was fully present in every moment and knew how to guide those around Him to become better. Nothing threw Him off His game. Crazy demon child? No problem, I’ll use those sheep. Short guy in a tree? Sounds like a great guy to have dinner with. Decipes freaked out, hiding in some upstairs room? Drop in their midst and casually ask for a bite.

BM: Hmmmm.  While your premise regarding his improv skills may be correct, we have some deep theological implications if we consider whether Jesus turned the wine to actual blood or if it was metaphor and how that effects our current doctrines of transubstantiation, consubstantiation, sacramental union, or ordinance. I’m sorry, am I missing the point? (No questions! But, yes, you just killed the scene when you denied another player’s information. You’ve lost 10 points, but carry on my wayward son…see what I did there?) In an effort to remain ecumenical, let’s return to your hypothesis that Jesus was great at improvising. Now we should look instead at the nature of Jesus. Was he omniscient or did he lay aside that part of his Godhood in the fullness of his humanity? Because one must ask, if he always knew what was going to happen next, could it really be considered improv or was it more like a scripted musical? Hmmm…a musical about Jesus. That’s an idea. I’ll bet Andrew Lloyd Webber could make that work. Am I off topic?

CYT: Jeeeeee-sus Christ! Suuuuuu-perstar! Do you think you’re what they say you are? …(pause mid-dance-break)…(exchange blank stares)…(pull themselves together)… Eh-hem, yeah, I think this got away from us a little bit… But there are no mistakes in Improv, only opportunities! Here we go! Wrap it up! Finish strong!

CG: Improvathon is going to be outstanding this year. It is shaping up to be our largest one ever, with over 20 teams from 12 affiliates in a whole range of skill levels. Bobby and I are working to continue to build a positive atmosphere for everyone, whether they are expecting to compete for the championship or to help develop their team’s skills.

BM: I like the final commandment of the ten commandments of improv: “When thy faith is low, thy spirit weak, thy good fortune strained, and thy team losing, be comforted and smile, because it just doesn`t matter.” In the end, Improvathon is an annual opportunity to come together to laugh a lot, learn from each other, and celebrate all that is improv and comedy. As you prepare to come, take it seriously in making every effort to be the best you can be, and don’t take it so seriously that you forget that it’s all about laughing and having a great time together.  I can’t wait to see everyone in San Diego next month. Holy moly. Next month y’all!!

Annnnnd….scene! Nice finish! You both advance to the finals of blog-improv! Thanks, guys!

Wanna play some more? Join the conversation around this year’s Improvathon & check out their Facebook group

EXPO 2015: The Student Experience

CYT-35th-EXPO-LOGO

Are you a CYT student age 12-19? If so, what are you doing June 21-24? If you said “attending CYT’s EXPO“, then you win a gold star! Read on below to learn more about what you get to do during EXPO!

All CYT students, ages 12 – 19, are invited to come to EXPO. Some students may be involved in HYPE or Improvathon, but those are just portions of the whole student experience that takes place at EXPO. When HYPE and IMPROV are not taking place, those students are encouraged to join their other fellow CYT students in fun activities, workshops, free time and more!

Here’s a spattering of just some of the Special Events/Workshops we have in store for you! Check out the EXPO page and EXPO guidebook for more details!

CYT AFTER DARK
CYT After Dark takes place each night around 9pm. It’s the perfect hang out spot where there will be massive dance parties, glow sticks flying through the air, special guests, prize giveaways, coffee-talk, games, talent shows and MORE! If you’re a student at EXPO, it’s the number one place to be!

ACT, SING, DANCE, LIVE
These four little words pretty much sum up CYT. We’ll be focusing on these themes all throughout our time at EXPO with workshops, activities, special guest speakers and interviews, and more!

FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD TO EQUITY
Have you ever wanted to know what it takes to become an equity actor in live theater? How does it work? What are the pros and cons? Is it really possible to make a living as a stage performer? Hear from professional, equity actors who work all over San Diego and can tell you the inside scoop on what it takes.

FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD TO HOLLYWOOD
Learn from Hollywood actors as they walk you through their personal experience on the road to the big and small screen. Gain special insight into a world of Agents, Managers, casting calls, auditions and more!

FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD TO DISNEY
Have you ever wanted to perform at a Disney theme park? Come find out from those who have worked or are currently working as some of Disney’s most notable characters at theme parks both here and abroad!

KNOW YOUR TYPE – “Are you a good witch? Or a bad witch?”
Who do you think you are…onstage? Do you keep getting cast in the same type of role? Is there a disconnect with the types of roles you want and the types of roles you get cast in? At this workshop, you will get an honest read from fellow actors & an experienced director about how you come across when you audition. This workshop hopes to help actors hone in on what type(s) of character(s) they are currently most suited to playing. We will also discuss the value in actors having a few well-rehearsed stock characters in their performance arsenals.

CYT ACTION ARTS – REALITY TV CHALLENGE
CYT’s, first ever, Reality TV show challenge! Be a part of the pilot episode where you will be broken up into teams, given specific challenges that you have to complete, film behind the scenes interviews and more! The winners will be announced live on closing night of EXPO and the television show will be released on CYT TV. It’s bound to be a ton of fun!

AUDITION WORKSHOP
Bring your best one minute audition song that you think showcases the best of your vocal abilities. Receive instant feedback on song selection, vocal range, interpretation and more, while at the same time trying for a solo spot in the National Showcase (to be performed at closing night of EXPO).

IF YOU WERE THE WIZARD OF CYT
We’re guessing you have some pretty great ideas… and we want to hear them! Join this round-table discussion and share your thoughts on what you would do if you were the “Wizard” of CYT.

10-MINUTE TALENT SHOW
This fun, one of a kind talent show will take place at CYT After Dark. No need to come prepared with anything. You will be given a challenge the night of and have just 10 minutes to put your act together. It’s fast, it’s fun and it’s another chance for you to show us what you got!

NATIONAL SHOWCASE
This year we’re bringing back the National Showcase at the close of EXPO, with performance opportunities for all students in attendance. Audition for a solo during the Audition Workshop, or just jump in to learn the choreography and songs. What better way to celebrate being one big happy CYT family than by participating in one big National Showcase!

AND MORE…
If you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s ALWAYS MORE!

So what are you waiting for? Head over to the EXPO page now and register today!!

 

EXPO 2015 Registration is here!

EXPO 2015 Registration is here! Hop on over to our EXPO homepage and register today before you’re too late! While you are there make sure you check out our EXPO Guidebook for all your EXPO needs!

We have an incredible week lined up with amazing guest speakers, workshops, Improv competition, and more!

Students: Ever wondered how to figure out your acting “type”? Want to learn about how to become an equity actor? Well, come to EXPO and find out!

Leadership: Ready to learn about how to become an engaged board member? Want to get some incredible fundraising ideas? How about learning how to communicate casting to your families? Learn all these things and more at the 2015 EXPO!

While you are there don’t forget to register for our special event, held at the hotel just hours before EXPO begins! Spots are already filling up! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from these incredible instructors.

JUNE 21st, 2015 – MASTER CLASS WITH BROADWAY / TELEVISION ACTOR, JAMES ECKHOUSE & PLAYWRIGHT/ DIRECTOR/ ACTOR, KELIHER WALSH

James Eckhouse

James Eckhouse

Sign up today for this limited availability master class taught by long-term Actor/Educator, James Eckhouse and Playwright/Director/Actor, Keliher Walsh. During this 2 hour Master Acting Class for students ages 15-21, you’ll receive dedicated attention to help hone your craft with the guidance of professionals. This unique Acting Master Class will be held at the San Diego Resort and Spa Hotel immediately before the EXPO begins. Only 30 spots available!

WHO: Open to anyone ages 15 – 21 (do not need to be registered for EXPO)
WHEN: Sunday, June 21st 3pm – 5pm
WHERE: San Diego Resort & Spa
REGISTRATION / FEE: $75.
RESTRICTIONS: Only 30 spots available!

Unity at CYT NLC 2015

Special thank you to CYT Founder, Paul Russell, for the following blog post, which reflects on the recent CYT National Leadership Conference in Lafayette, LA.

CYT Founders, Paul & Sheryl Russell enjoying the southern hospitality at the 2015 CYT NLC.

CYT Founders, Paul & Sheryl Russell enjoying the southern hospitality at the 2015 CYT NLC.

Last week, CYT Affiliates from around the country came together for the National Leadership Conference (NLC). CYT is blessed to have some of the most outstanding leaders making a difference in the lives of over 18,000 young people every year. CYT Lafayette hosted the 2015 CYT NLC, and provided all the gracious southern hospitality one would expect. According to Tonja Rainey, the Artistic Director at CYT Baton Rouge, “This was the best Leadership Conference that I’ve ever been too.”

The 2015 CYT theme focuses on Unity. The entire event encouraged our leaders to join together, unified as CYT leadership. Check out the daily synopses below to find out just how that was accomplished at this year’s NLC:

Friday 1/23/2015

Pastor and CYT Inc. Board Member, Tom Kirkendall, kicked off the event with a message for ourleaders to Equip, Empower, Encourage and Encounter. He also introduced the 2015 CYT Theme of Unity, inspired by Romans 15: 5-7: 
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Next, Paul Russell gave the affiliates a new way to remember the CYT core values as well as to pray for all the CYTs across the country every time we see a penny.
CYT leadership of all generations! #NLC2015

CYT leadership of all generations! #NLC2015

Then, there was time for Affiliates to meet with other CYT leaders and share ideas, problems and highlights. The leaders enjoyed great times of prayer, laughter and heartache as we encouraged each other in our Mission.
 
Dinner was held at Chris’ Poboys and everyone got their fill of fried catfish, fried shrimp, fried okra, or fried chicken. It didn’t matter what you ordered, it came out fried! A great time of sharing and fellowship was had by all!
 
Saturday 1/24/2015
Saturday morning began with a workshop on suicide prevention from Dr. Theresa A. Wozencraft, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Psychology at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. After that somber, yet important and educational, session we were ready for some fun.
 
Keith Washington from the CYT Inc. Board explained the finances and how Affiliates’ fees were allocated and spent. Yes, even CYT Inc. has to raise money to exist.
 
Renee Kaufman (Creative Director, CYT Inc.) got everyone pumped up on the new products featured in the CYT Online Store. Between Renee and Heather LaForge (Director of Operations, CYT Inc.), we now all know everything there is to know about copyrights, use of logos, trademarks and how each affiliate can make more money by supporting the CYT Store.
 
Becca Wilds from CYT Indy did an outstanding workshop on HR. That’s right – HR! Go figure. How can anyone make HR interesting? Becca has a gift! She had the entire hall laughing out loud and applauding with wonderful information on Human Resources. No kidding – she received a standing ovation! We all want to grow up someday and be Becca!
 
CYT Lafayette hosted a wonderful catered lunch with pork sandwiches and the best bread pudding on the planet. Honestly! With all the sweet tea, sweet bread, sweet beignets, and sweet people, it’s almost too much to take!
 
Travis Russell, Director of Communications at CYT Inc. at the NLC 2015.

Travis Russell, Director of Communications at CYT Inc. at the NLC 2015.

Travis Russell (Director of Communications, CYT Inc.) gave an update on the new CYT software that is coming out this summer and introduced a new marketing strategy to get lots of new email contacts. SMILE: it’s a photo booth!
 
Allison Mayberry from CYT Fredericksburg was full of fresh and new ideas on how to use social media and community involvement to create buzz about CYT. This lady knows how to get the CYT name out there and knows how to build partnerships with local business.
Allison rocks and she does it on a CYT budget!
 
One of the highlights was an acting workshop given by Tyler Hutchinson of CYT Indy. He had the entire room engaged with what it means to be an actor. He pulled people from the audience to illustrate his points. Our students are lucky to work with such fine Artistic Directors as Tyler. He’s got the heart, and enthusiasm and the attitude to change the world. (Note: Tyler will be leading many of the student events at the 2015 EXPO!)
 
Sheryl Russell (CFO, CYT Inc.) ended the days session with a challenge to, “LEAD with DILIGENCE, ATTITUDE, ENCOURAGEMENT, and LOVE.”  It’s apparent that God is doing mighty work throughout CYT via our awesome leadership all over the U.S.A.
 
Gerald and Patti Broussard and Dana Bekurs (of CYT Lafayette), made Saturday night especially memorable by renting out a Footloose-eque Dance Hall for the CYT leaders to enjoy.
All they wanted to do was dance. #NLC2015. Image courtesy of Katrina DeRoche.

All they wanted to do was dance. #NLC2015. Image & caption courtesy of Katrina DeRoche.

Everyone was treated to authentic Cajun food, (Boudin sausages, red beans and rice, and fried hush puppies) and live Zydeco music. Everyone danced the night away, even learning the Louisiana two step.
CYT leaders, Tanya Tafolla & Katrina DeRoche get musical at the 2015 NLC.

CYT leaders, Tanya Tafolla & Katrina DeRoche, from CYT San Diego, get musical at the 2015 NLC.

It’s always a hassle to get to the CYT National Leadership Conference, but once you get there it’s one of the highlights of the year. On that note, make sure you start saving up for 2015 EXPO in San Diego this summer! You won’t want to miss out on the fun & fellowship.
 
A huge thanks goes to Gerald and Patti Broussard, Dana Bekurs, and the entire staff of CYT Lafayette. It truly was a remarkable weekend and they are, indeed, the hostess with the most-est! Y’all are some’um special.


Thanks for the reflections, Paul!