CYT San Diego wants YOU at EXPO!

Below is a letter from the CYT San Diego key staff. They can’t wait to see you at EXPO!

Hi CYT Affiliates!
CYT San Diego is so excited to host you for our 2016 National EXPO!  We look forward to playing, learning, and laughing together. It’s a time for all of us to get to know one another better and learn more about what’s happening in each of our cities.  We pray for safe travels and welcome you to the sun, sand, and water!  See you soon!
CYT San Diego Staff

San Diego and Inc Staff LOVE CYT! L to R Janie Russell Cox, Rachael Baciocco, Travis Russell, Heather LaForge, and Laura Bertagnolli

Registration for EXPO 2016 is still open! Register HERE!

Aligning Great Minds & Hearts in CYT Fred

The Masterminds behind CYT Fred!

The Masterminds behind CYT Fred!

In January of this year, right before our NLC in NYC, CYT Fredericksburg Staff and Board went on a weekend retreat, where they devoted time to strategic planning, playing brain games, worshiping together, planning their 2017 season, and spending time together.

Here is an excerpt of the letter to the CYT Fred Staff & Board members, from CYT Fred Board President, Pete Griffin explaining the intention of the weekend:

As you all know, our organization has gone through some pretty significant changes in the past year.  We have expanded to two areas and added 2 full-time staff members and several other part time staff.  All of this was in response to the growth that God has allowed us to experience over the past several years.  […]  As a result, Kara (List) and I prayerfully put together the CYT Fredericksburg 2016 “Not of This World” Staff and BOD retreat focused on faith in God and on our CYT Fredericksburg strategic plan.  By a combination of God’s favor and your selfless dedication to this past weekend, we have seen a beautiful thing take place.  God was faithful, and you 16 individuals, His servants, were diligent to gather with one another, to pray with one another, to worship with one another, and to work through our strategic plan with one another.  We now have a unified front with a clear 7 year goal, with a clear vision, and with clear values.  We have clear 3 year goals, and we have started to see what the Lord is going to do in the next year.  It truly was a time where we were strangely closer than family.  I was humbled by your love for one another, your grace for one another, and by your dedication to developing character in children and adults through training in the arts.  I know God is going to do great things in CYT Fredericksburg in the years to come.

We are so inspired by CYT Fred’s commitment to aligning themselves with God’s vision & desire for their area. We wish them all of God’s grace & goodness as they endeavor to serve Him through CYT.

Thanks to Allison Mayberry, Marketing and Publicity Director at CYT Fredericksburg, for this story. 

CYT Atlanta Shines at the iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival

Thanks to CYT Atlanta for the below story about their recent trip to the iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival. JTF is held every Martin Luther King Jr. weekend just north of downtown Atlanta. Click here for more on this festival. 

#cytatlanta at iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival

The iTheatrics JTF (Junior Theater Festival) provides an awesome opportunity to educate and expose young people to musical theatre. This past January, a whopping 5,832 people attended the JTF, including 115 theatre troupes from elementary schools, middle schools, and community theatres, all of whom, together represented four different countries!  The weekend was full of amazing performances from Broadway and TV/Film stars, workshops for both students and directors, and a whole lot of musical theatre.

CYT Atlanta at iTheatrics Junior Theatre Festival

CYT Atlanta women at iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival

CYT Atlanta brought eleven of their brightest stars to the 2016 JTF ready to rock the judges with their 15-minute cut of Legally Blonde Jr. And did they ever rock! This year, the girls from CYT Atlanta took home awards for: Excellence in Choreography; Excellent Individual Female Performer (Alyssa Yard as Elle Woods); and Outstanding Student Choreographer (Evie Lawson).

In addition to their awards for their Legally Blonde Jr. piece, CYT Atlanta students were selected to perform in the All Star cast, the Broadway Slam, and to compete in the Tech Theatre Olympics! Also, six of the CYT Atlanta girls were invited to audition for the MTI Jr. Choreography DVD’s being produced this year. (Three of the six made it through callbacks and are now awaiting news on if they will travel to New York this summer to rehearse and film the DVDs!)

CYT Atlanta scored big at the JTF!

CYT Atlanta scored big at the JTF!

We were thrilled to discover that the CYT name was well known with other companies at JTF!  We enjoyed talking to new friends about their local CYT (if they had one) and sharing more about who we are and what we do with those new friends who only knew us by name.
We had so much fun at JTF and made a million great memories. We hope we represented the CYT name well as we are very honored to be a part of this great big CYT family!



What can we say? It was awesome! The blizzard and the wisdom gained were equally overwhelming & beautiful. Thank you to CYT, Inc. staff for organizing such an informative and unifying event. And thanks to CYT NYC for hosting!


You, too, can rock one of these CYT beanies! Grab one at the online CYT Store.


Some awesome welcome gifts from CYT NYC!

We prayed for, praised, & encouraged one another. We revisited the CYT Model and why it works (Hint: it was designed by CYT Leadership FOR CYT Leadership to provide the best opportunity to achieve our mission.)

We reflected on our 2016 verse:

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We shared challenges and triumphs. And all left feeling inspired and called to action to continue making CYT our favorite place to be.

If you are CYT Leadership and need the materials shared at NLC, please email Heather at:


Getting excited to head to the Big Apple for the CYT National Leadership Conference (NLC)? Here are some more NLC 2016 deets from big wig CYT Inc Director or Operations, Dr. Heather LaForge

1. Who will be there?

55 leaders from across the country! The NLC is such a great conference. Although, I love EXPO for all its excitement and the energy of the students, there’s something really special about the NLC. It’s the one time a year that we get to really focus on leadership. I’m looking forward to a weekend of good conversations; brainstorming with fellow leaders; and of course, fun.


Super serious NLC Meeting at EXPO in summer 2015.


2. What are the highlights of this year’s NLC?

This year we’re really trying to keep our talks discussion based, which allows folks the chance to share ideas and learn from one another. We also will be meeting with an MTI staffer, who will be providing insight into how royalties work. But perhaps the most exciting thing is that we will be LiveStreaming our talk about EXPO 2016! Anyone can hope online and listen in to learn more about what’s going to happen this year at EXPO. We have a Facebook event here, if you want to learn more!

CYT Inc.'s Director of Technology, Travis Russell, will be back at NLC this year for awesome discussion & inspiration

CYT Inc.’s Director of Technology, Travis Russell, will be back at NLC this year for awesome discussion & inspiration

3. What Broadway show are you seeing?

I’m seeing Finding Neverland with the group, but I’m also planning to see Matilda, and maybe The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I want to see a ton of other shows, but I don’t think the planner of the event should skip out on the conference. Nor, do I want to!

4. What should affiliate leadership expect from this year’s NLC?

They should expect a gathering of amazing people where ideas are shared, discussion flows, and training occurs. Our hope is that leaders leave the conference feeling encouraged and armed with new ideas for the year ahead.


CYT 2015 in Lafayette, LA

5. NYC is such an amazing location for the NLC! Anything NYC specific planned for the NLC?

There are loads of CYT Alumni who live in the city and we wanted to make sure they had an opportunity to participate in the NLC. So, Thursday night, we are hosting an alumni gathering for any and all CYT alumni who happen to be in the area. We want to see everyone! More information on that event can be found here!

Can’t wait for the NLC in NYC! Start spreading the news…

Resolutions: Do you ask Google or God?

It’s a new year and as we all ushered in 2016 (joyfully or otherwise!), many of us also conjured up a “New Year’s Resolution” or two…or three…. I’m one of those people who tends to phrase my resolutions as “attempts to try.” Example: “I will try to gossip less. I will try to eat more healthily. I will try to be on time this year.” I’ve told myself this is a sensible and reasonable approach. However, the truth is, by phrasing resolutions this way, I’m giving myself an easy out. Come March (or, let’s be honest, February), when I’ve already abandoned a resolution, I can say, “Well, at least I tried to not gossip. At least, I tried to eat healthier. At least, I tried to be on time. Get off my back, at least, I tried!!” Pretty smart, huh?


Screenshot of my Google search for “resolution definition”

However, my recent Google Search (screenshot above), yielded quite the abrupt realization that resolutions are, by their definition, rather rigid and marked departures from the way things once were. They are not ambiguous. They reflect a definitive end & a new beginning: “a firm decision” and the “solving (of) a problem”. Yikes. The stakes just got a lot higher in my plan for 2016. Google says that resolutions not just be “attempts to try” but rather “decisions to do”. But, what does God say?

Anyone else ask Google before they ask God? No? Just me? Well, maybe that’s why my resolutions so often fail. I look without rather than within. I often resolve to force a conclusion rather than commit to a journey. But, in doing so, I realized that I am suggesting that I know best. I’m suggesting that I know what 2016 needs to be and what needs to happen, rather than asking God what He needs from me in 2016.

So, this year, I’m going to try DO something new. I’m going to borrow from my pal, St. Francis, and resolve to let God use me for His plan rather than my own. What is His goal & how can I serve Him? I’ve always loved the prayer of St. Francis and I offer it here to you, so that maybe you will be inspired to also resolve yourself to God’s plan for 2016.

The Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

Ah…I’m feeling better about March already!

What’s your resolution? Share it here.










You are enough.

The following story was submitted by Tessa S., from CYT Spokane, as part of the 2016 My CYT Story Contest. 


        My whole life I’ve never felt like I actually belonged to something. I spent year after year trying new activities, hoping to fit in someplace. I spent years trying to figure out where I belonged, where I could be myself. It wasn’t until my eighth grade year that I found it. A friend of mine convinced me to audition for The Little Mermaid Jr., and when I walked onstage for the first time I knew that I had found my place. However, it wasn’t until I was a part of Honk Jr., that I truly felt like I belonged.

          During those two years being a part of CYT [Spokane], I was depressed, insecure, and felt like an outsider. Then, I auditioned for Honk Jr. and the show quickly became my favorite. I was relating to a young duckling that was experiencing the same feelings I felt. This duckling had been bullied and trusted the wrong people, something that many of us experience. Ugly had felt left out and alone. With the heavy subject matter, how could someone not relate or love this show?

         After that show, my life changed. I slowly became more confident and realized that I didn’t have to be like everyone else to fit in. After that show, I realized that it was okay to be weird and different and to not have everyone like you. CYT had shown me that being a part of something didn’t mean I had to have a bunch of friends that I had pretended to like; it meant having one or two people that liked me for me. CYT had given me a family, a purpose, a way to live my life. After opening night of Honk, my best friend came up to me and said “I’m glad CYT did this show. It shows that being yourself is enough” I couldn’t agree more. I want everyone who reads this to know that my friend was right. Being yourself is enough! You are enough. You do not have to be something you are not because certain people don’t like you. CYT has shown me time and time again that being yourself is what matters. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get a lead, or even cast in the play at all, as long as you stay true to yourself and be who you were meant to be and who God wants you to be.  That is what matters and will get you much further in life than wishing to be someone else or pretending to be something that you are not. CYT taught me that being yourself is enough.

Do you have a CYT story to share? Submit it here!

*DISCLAIMER: Though, all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective area’s leadership for judging as part of the 2016 My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Regional Winner.