My CYT Story: Just Getting Started

The following story was submitted by Lauren R. from CYT San Diego for our 2018 My CYT Story Contest.

I was introduced to CYT when my best friend crewed a CYT show during the fall. It was Annie and he loved it! He told me I had to get involved with CYT immediately. I did the winter show Wizard of Oz where I played a munchkin. I was very nervous because I didn’t get a callback. But when I saw my name on the cast list my face lit up. My family and I screamed because we were so excited! I had so much fun in that show and knew I wanted to continue CYT.

I auditioned for Hairspray that Spring where I met my best friend. He and I clicked instantly. We did a swing class that season together and we were partners! To this day we are still best friends!

This story repeated itself over and over again. I continued to meet new people who I became very good friends with. CYT is the reason I have made long-lasting friendships with such amazing people! I have done 6 CYT classes and shows. I’m currently in Junie B Jones at CYT San Diego Central. I’m playing the role of May. This has been my favorite CYT show to be apart of because of the wonderful cast, crew, and artistic team. It’s been an amazing experience I will never forget.

I plan on continuing my CYT story and continue to make friends along the way. CYT has allowed me to do what I love; perform, praise God, make people smile, and have a good time! If it weren’t for CYT, I wouldn’t be the young girl I am today. CYT has impacted my life in a way that I’ll treasure forever. My story has just begun, there are many more memories to come!

Want to submit your story to the 2018 My CYT Story Competition? Deadline is April 1.

DISCLAIMER: Though, all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective area’s leadership for judging as part of the 2018 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.

My CYT Story: Just the Right Time

Life is full of ups and downs, but God is always there! Sometimes He brings people to CYT at just the right time. Check out this anonymous story about how God used His perfect timing and provided for this CYT Santa Cruz student!

I recently stopped piano lessons because my teacher is moving away, after five years of lessons. Till now, piano lessons were the only extra-curricular activities we could afford. A close family friend had had her kids in CYT, and so I heard a lot about it. That friend offered to pay for a class for me in the Winter 2016 session. It was amazing, the friendships I made and the relationships I developed, just in one session! Of course I wanted to continue in the Spring. We stopped piano lessons in June, and the adjustment was really hard for me. I’d known my piano teacher and her family all my life, so the loss was especially difficult for me. CYT was there for me at just the right time. I auditioned for Honk! Jr. and was cast. The friendships I had previously made blossomed, and new friendships developed among my Secret Pals and other cast members. CYT has helped me grow so much, and I am so thankful CYT was there for me when I was going through a hard time. God’s timing was perfect, and I know I can trust Him to provide for me in everything.

We Are CYT: Family Across the Nation

In late August, on the same weekend as auditions for their fall show, CYT Houston families evacuated their homes when Hurricane Harvey flooded their city. Their homes were damaged, possessions lost, and lives were changed. But during their time of need, families from CYT Baton Rouge, LafayetteFront Range, New York City, Waco, and Chicago all mailed letters, made donations, and sent gift cards to CYT Houston to help. 

Less than two months later, the families are back in their homes but things have still not completely returned to normal. However, the students are back at classes and rehearsals, and the CYT Houston families are working hard to put on one of their fall shows, Shrek the Musical Jr.But they’re not doing it alone. Shrek is coming together with a little help from their neighbor, CYT Lafayette!

This weekend, on October 8, CYT Lafayette closed their own production of Shrek the Musical Jr.! Instead of tearing down the set or putting it into storage, it’s getting put to good use and sent over to CYT Houston for their production! Check out what Gerald B., the CYT Lafayette Executive Director, has to share!

“First of all it was a real privilege to have Houston visit our show and are honored that we could give back to the CYT affiliate that was the inspiration to start CYT Lafayette 9 years ago!

Many people know how devastating the flood was in Louisiana last year and how hard it was on our families and the community. The support we received from the CYT affiliates was over whelming so it was an easy decision to jump in and help. Their dads have had little time to focus on CYT with so many people needing help with their homes. It’s the least we could do to help support them.

Two Houston Dads (Ari and Richard) drove to Lafayette with the truck and arrived in Lafayette around 2:30. They got to watch the show then started load out with our dads around 5:30. The sets were a little two large for the truck so they spent an hour or so making as much fit as possible. We wrapped up around 8pm and sent them on their way. The staff also agreed to help with expenses for their trip so we included a gift card for $450.

Praying they have a great show! Blessings from Lafayette!

We are CYT!”

CYT: More Than A Theater Company

Landon B. from CYT Santa Cruz experienced how CYT is unique when it comes to theater companies. The CYT family is something special that will always be there to welcome you! Read his story!

This summer, I took part in my first theatrical experience outside of CYT or the dance company I train with, which is based in Christian beliefs. It was with a professional company, Cabrillo Stage, which puts on fabulous productions that I have enjoyed watching. I auditioned and was cast in their production of the Addams Family Musical as an ancestor, something that had been on my bucket list ever since I worked a spotlight for CYT Santa Cruz’s production. I was so excited to work with the artistic team and cast for this show, especially because quite a few of them were from CYT as well.

The production experience was AMAZING. We had a fantastic artistic team, who directed us in a show that was exquisite in all accounts, whether it was the incredible vocals, the powerful dance, or the insightful acting. The cast was tight-knit, and we made it through a lot of hard stuff that went down with this particular show. The times I was onstage were some of the most fun I have had in my short time as an on-stage performer.

But there was something missing.

After the final bow, the final curtain, the cast party, I had no big emotional reaction, other than being proud of my young friend from CYT who played Pugsley, who did an amazing job and was sad to be done with the show.

I was confused.

Normally, I feel at least a touch of the melancholy as I say goodbye to a show. Yes, I felt disappointed that I wouldn’t be doing the show with the same cast again, but I didn’t cry. Not a single tear fell from my eyes (and believe me, that’s unusual). I couldn’t figure out why, and it was quite strange. Well, tonight, not 24 hours after closing Addams, I realized why.

Let’s pause for some background.

CYT Santa Cruz has recently launched a CCT, and their first production is Godspell, a show I honestly knew very little about before tonight. I would have auditioned, but was already doing Addams Family and a production of Swan Lake, and didn’t feel like I could devote the time necessary to be involved. It was hard to say no, especially because so many of my dearest friends were taking part in it. I had come to terms with not being involved at all, and just coming to support them by seeing the show.

But that was not God’s plan.

During CYT’s National Expo, I was prompted by a good friend of mine to ask if they needed help on the stage-management side of things for Godspell, as I would be able to help once I finished the run of the Addams family. I followed up, and was asked to come on as the assistant stage-manager.

Flash back to the present.

I went to rehearsal tonight with no idea of what I was about to walk into. I hadn’t been in very close contact with many of these people, and knew I was walking in on something that I wasn’t really a part of. At least, that’s what I thought. Tonight was the night they were blocking the final scenes, from the final parable through the last supper, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I was at first unfazed, as the tone of the last parable is somewhat corny, since Godspell was written by a secular writer.

Then they moved into the final hours of Jesus’ life.

As I watched my friends pour their all into conveying this beautiful story of redemption, I was struck with deep emotion. Here was a group of people, united under the common goal of performing live theater for a greater purpose; giving glory to our almighty God, the one who sent his ONLY son to die a horrible, miserable, ruthless death on the cross as payment for any sin, past and future, that we might commit. Watching my good friend and mentor Conrad Useldinger portray the chaotic, confused, scared character of Judas brought me to tears, as did the performance of all the other people in the room. And when we gathered in a prayer circle afterwards, that was when the plentiful tears came.

And came, and came, and came.

I finally realized what I had been missing, and it was the unity that CYT and CCT bring. Being united under a common goal of bringing glory to Elohim, no matter what petty human vices we may fall into. It was then in that circle that, that I am never really gone, and that we will always have the knowledge that we perform for the same end goal.

The family we have at CYT and CCT are deeply special. I hope you cherish every moment you spend with your own community, and realize, as I did tonight, that truly “We Are CYT”.

God bless.

Hey Ho EXPO – Meet Scott Smith!

Scott Smith, college pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church, will be joining us at EXPO for our Morning Devotions! Keep reading to get to know more about him!

Hey Everyone Coming to CYT EXPO!

Cards on the table right away, I’ve made my kids watch Newsies with me twice this month in preparation to be with you all in just a few weeks – which basically makes me Dad of the Year – Ha!  Seriously, we are so excited to be with you all at CYT EXPO this year, as we learn what it means to Seize the Day in our lives.

A few things you need to know before we meet in just a few weeks.

1) My wife is RAD, simple as that. And she is a Rockstar CYT Teacher (I’m biased, but she is)  

2) Our kids are the BEST of us! Our daughter, Hope, is already a CYT kid, and our son, Silas, tries to sing every song he can while substituting the word “poop” as often as possible – he’s a three year old boy, so…. 

3) I am praying for you. I really am. In fact, we, the Smiths, are praying for you. EXPO is a first for me, as I’m sure it is for some of you, and we are excited for the week! 

4) We are going to get real. Life is quick, and Love is crucial. So, we are going to look at what Jesus says about Seizing the Day together and how we can follow His Lead in becoming the change we want to see.

OK, we’ve got Mission Bay, awesome programming, food, fun, workshops, friends (old, new and soon-to-be), music and of course our nationwide CYT family coming together in just a few weeks.  So get pumped!  Stoked to meet you all at EXPO!

Singing the wrong words to Newsies songs all month – driving my wife crazy,


Who, What, Wear – EXPO 2017!

Hello, CYT! It’s Rachael Baciocco (ChocoTaco) with the Who, What, and Wear of EXPO 2017!! EXPO is only 15 days away, so I’m sure you’re wondering about all the exciting details we have planned. I’ll let you in on a few, but we have to save some of the fun for EXPO!


WHO: EXPO is for YOU! Are you 12 or older? Are you a CYT Teacher? Area Coordinator? Parent? Student? Whatever your role, you are invited! Registration is still open, so get signed up here!

WHAAAAAT?? We’ve got prizes, food trucks, CYT Ninja Warrior, and MORE! Here’s a quick sneak peek at the “what” of EXPO 2017!

Win awesome prizes from our Opportunity Drawings! (items include Apple watch, iPad mini, gift cards, free EXPO 2018 Registration, and more!)

Remember those delicious food trucks? That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, “That’s What Cheese Said” is back, along with other returning trucks AND some new ones!! This year we have a couple of different trucks coming each night! We have a wide variety of options, including Organic Food Truck, Epic EatsHana Hou to Go, and Cucina Caprese Monaco. Check them out! You can purchase food truck vouchers at the Info Table for $13!



CYT Ninja Warrior?! Whaaaattttt?? Get a team of Newsies together and compete to see which team can Carry the Banner from Start to Finish the fastest!! We have the course posted on our Facebook page, along with the descriptions to each station. Take a look and start training with your fellow Newsies for CYT Ninja Warrior!!

WEAR: Each day of EXPO we wear our CYT Swag loud and proud. Here’s what the CYT EXPO Staff will be wearing each day, so why not “twin” with the staff? Make sure you pack these items, or if you don’t have them you can buy them at EXPO at a special EXPO discount!


Tuesday: We’re wearing our CYT EXPO Staff shirts, so come decked out in your Affiliate’s gear to represent your group! Make sure you bring some Newsies attire too though…Tuesday night we’re going to “Party Like it’s 1899”!

Wednesday: Wear your CYT Tank and/or your CYT Trucker Hat! Remember those cool retro tanks we released at the 2015 EXPO? Well they’re back, and in fun colors! You had the chance to purchase them in green or teal, and now you can get them in black or pink! Add them to your CYT Swag collection at EXPO!



Thursday: Time to pull out the good old “I HEART CYT” shirts. We’re wearing those on Thursday! Wear your I HEART shirt and tell the world you love CYT!



Friday: What’s your favorite piece of CYT Swag? Get dressed Friday morning wearing your favorite CYT shirt/hat/accessory!

And THAT, my friends, is the Who, What, and Wear of CYT EXPO 2017! Get your Swag, get excited, and get ready to Seize the Day at CYT EXPO 2017!


Get hyped for HYPE!!

Are you hyped for HYPE?? Lydia, our National HYPE Director, is! We had the chance to ask her a few questions, so take a look and see why she’s excited about EXPO!

What has been your favorite thing about EXPO in the past?
My favorite thing about Expo – which hasn’t changed from the first Expo I went to in 2010 – is that it feels like a giant family reunion. Every year that I go back, I get so excited to see friends from around the country that I only get to see once a year – and to make new friends that I will love seeing again next year. No matter where we live, CYT people are all the same deep down, and there’s nothing that makes me happier than when we all come together each year.

The whole group picture from last year’s Expo!

As the National HYPE Director, what is your goal for the students who attend EXPO? What can HYPE students expect at this year’s EXPO?
My goal for Expo is three-fold – 1) for HYPE students to grow in community with one another and build strong relationships that will continue throughout the year; 2) for HYPE students to share strengths and challenges from this last year and learn from one another as they collaborate for the upcoming year; and 3) to learn leadership skills in specific areas that they can take back home with them and put to use right away.

What part of EXPO are you the most excited about?
Such a difficult question! I think I’m most excited to see all these amazing student leaders face to face and have incredible conversations with them. I keep in touch with them throughout the year, but there’s nothing like seeing them in person and having those meaningful conversations.

Bonus question! You just opened your first show as director – CYT North Idaho’s Snow White and the Prince! Congratulations! Do you have a fun moment from the process you can share?
Thank you so much! The entire process has been more fun than I can even say, but one poignant moment that stuck out was when I was driving over to Coeur d’Alene after a tiring day of teaching. Even though I was exhausted from teaching, I felt so much joy and excitement at seeing my cast for rehearsal. And I realized that – while I love getting to work for CYT, Inc., from home – being involved in a show again after about 3-4 years away reminded me of why I love CYT so much. It felt like I was coming home – and that’s why we do what we do – so that we can allow other people to feel the same way about CYT. The cast and artistic team and staff have been such a joy – the whole thing has felt like a dream come true.

What I love about this picture is that the choreographer, Charlsie Johnston, and I are both CYT alumni working on our first show together. She was a CYT-North Idaho student and I was a CYT-Spokane student – and now we get to work together on this fun show! 🙂

Lydia is such a blessing to leaders and students all across the country. We are so thankful for her and for all that she does! Congratulations on your show, Lydia, and we can’t wait to see you at EXPO!

Are you registered for EXPO yet?? Get online and register today!!