Peace in the Process

The following story was submitted by Morgan T. from CYT Fredericksburg. for our 2016 My CYT Story Contest.

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Peace, CYT Fred!

 

 

Through CYT I have been able to feel God’s presence in my life. Thought out the whole process of Mary Poppins (our Fall show) one of the things we turned to a lot was prayer. Anytime we didn’t know how to handle a situation we prayed; and this showed me that there is nothing we can’t do without God!

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Asking for blessing.

It was very nerve wracking that we never did a full run through until the third day of tech week and many thought “how would this ever come together”? After all the worrying and praying our show turned into a miracle that touched many people’s lives and is one of our best shows we’ve done. I truly believe that It was only by the grace of God that we pulled it off. At the end of this whole process It was beautiful to watch the cast and crew members pray on stage and over the seats of the auditorium on the last Sunday.

CYT friends!

CYT friends!

It was something that brought many to tears and in the end it brought us all closer together.

My CYT Story: My Heart is Full

The following story was submitted by Madison C. from CYT Lafayette for our 2016 My CYT Story Contest.

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Madison & friends enjoying CYT Lafayette.

My very first CYT show was Annie Jr. I was 10 years old and I remember my very first audition. I sang “Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music and I remember being very nervous. That weekend I also got my first callback as an orphan.

CYT Celebration!

CYT Celebration!

During the years of being in CYT, my parents got a divorce and it was very difficult. Being in CYT, in a Christian environment, and being around wonderful friends really helped me get through it. Also being in CYT grew me closer to God and helped me form a relationship with him.

Shrek!

Shrek!

As I entered high school, I was able to join the high school girls group. This occurs every Friday night after rehearsal. This is a place where girls can talk about real deep topics that one may not feel comfortable talking about in a co-ed group. Being in this group as well as HYPE has given me a chance to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. These girls have helped me through so much and I couldn’t thank them enough for it.

My girls.

My girls.

Without CYT in my life, I would be bored on weekends, lacking friends, and I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. So thank you to all of the founders and staff in CYT for making my life and my heart as full as can be.

 

 

 

 


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

*NOTE: DEADLINE for the 2016 My CYT Story Competition has passed. All submissions received after this point will be held for the 2017 My CYT Story Competition. 

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. 

 

 

Do not let Anyone Look Down on You Because you are Young

The following story was submitted by Amanda H. from CYT Sacramento. for our 2016 My CYT Story Contest.

My Munchkins

My Munchkins

My whole life, I was different from everyone else. My parents were divorced when I was really young, my mom has been dealing with a rare form of cancer for 8 years, and my dad is a wounded war veteran. Wherever I was, I always felt as if I were an outcast. Every camp, every church, every school. The people around me constantly told that I was not beautiful, that no one cared about me, and that I could never be loved.

My first day at CYT was the initial workshop. At first, I was really nervous. I was scared that I was going to get the same treatment there as I did everywhere else. I left CYT that day with a huge smile on my face knowing that this company was different and that I was going to be apart of something special.

My little loves

My little loves

Through the next 4 years, I have been part of all 11 shows. I have met some of the greatest people and have experienced important life lessons and fun memories. Although I have friends who are my age, the people who inspire me to be the best I can be are my “Munchkins.” This group of little kids at CYT have changed my life in ways you could never imagine. When I had a discouraging week, I’d go to CYT on Friday and Saturday and have these kids run to me, yelling my name and jump on me. Because of the love I have received from them, because of these young girls telling me that they wanted to be just like me when they grew up, I vowed myself during my freshman year of high school that I would stop cutting myself. They told me how I was their role model. The last thing I wanted was for them when they were my age to be hurting themselves the way I was hurting myself. Here I am two years later and I have not cut myself since. They made me feel beautiful, and loved. They made me feel all the good things that I never believed about myself. I have a wall full of posters, cards, drawings and notes that I have been given over the years. I wake up every morning knowing there is someone who loves me just by looking at my wall.

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Working onstage with my little pals.

1 Timothy 4:12 said “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” These kids have set a more Christ-like example to me than kids my age or older. My munchkins make me want to be a better person. They make me want to live on the days when I only want to disappear. Because of these young kids, I have hope and I don’t feel the same as I did three years ago.


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

*NOTE: DEADLINE for the 2016 My CYT Story Competition has passed. All submissions received after this point will be held for the 2017 My CYT Story Competition. 

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. 

My CYT Story: Saved by HYPE!

The following story was submitted by Grace G. from CYT Fredericksburg. for our 2016 My CYT Story Contest.

A HYPE retreat helped Grace find her path again. *photo courtesy of CYT Fred's webpage

A HYPE retreat helped Grace find her path again. *photo courtesy of CYT Fred’s webpage

My CYT story could go on for ages, as would be expected for someone who is going into their 13th show and has basically grown up at CYT. My life has pretty much been God, Family, School, CYT. Period. To say my family life is CYT isn’t a figure of speech, everyone in my family is involved or has been involved with it at some point, and CYT has grown my family so much closer. My CYT life started a little differently than most. My older sister joined CYT when she was 14, and I was the typical shy 9 year old little sister that was on a swim team and thought that all those crazy theater kids were way too loud. I would just hang out in the makeup room bored out of my mind. But my mom dragged me to every show my sister was in, and I slowly started to adapt to the crazy people I now call my best friends. Yeah they were crazy, and awkward, and extremely loud, but they were pretty cool.

I remember one publicity event CYT had when my sister was playing Jasmine (in Aladdin). I was sitting in the corner booth of the Chick-Fil-A with my brother, when the magic carpet came over to give us a flyer for the show. We had a laugh and explained our sister was in the show, we talked for a while and then she asked if I wanted to come with her and help hand out flyers. I remember how much fun I had hanging out with her all night, and to this day she is still one of my best friends.

Well a season of shows later I had miraculously become friends with a bunch of these crazy theater people! And they convinced me to do a show! Me, my two brothers Nathan and James, and my sister Sarah all auditioned for CYT’s 2010 Production of A Christmas Carol and enrolled in CYT classes. I was enrolled in a “So You Think You Can Dance!” class and discovered that I wasn’t too bad at the whole dancing thing, I was super clumsy and fell a lot! But I absolutely loved it! At 10 years old, I decided that this was my thing. I dropped out of the swim team I was on and joined as a full time crazy dancing theater kid!

I continued to do every show I could and took CYT classes every season, all which were dance classes, for two years. And then CYT Fredericksburg opened their dance studio, Dance in the Light! I was so excited! It had dance classes of all styles Monday-Thursday, and a Competition dance team. I auditioned for the team as soon as I could! I was on the dance team for the next 4 years, and absolutely loved it, and some of my closest friends are from being on the team.

Fast forward a couple years, I’m starting high school. Which at the time I didn’t know would be one of the hardest years of my life so far. I found myself in a very bad place, I was surrounded by girls who were not good role models, and were pressuring me to try, do, and say things that I knew were not right. But I didn’t think much about it, and I just thought it would fade with time. Unfortunately it didn’t and I found myself giving into the pressure at some points and falling farther away from my relationships with my parents, my siblings, and Christ. There were about 6 month of my life that I didn’t talk about it. I made myself believe that it was okay, that there wasn’t anything to talk about, and I didn’t need help from anyone, not even God. But then our CYT started a HYPE. And I joined. Our HYPE went on a retreat for a three day weekend, and that’s when I found it, the need for Christ again, the need for help, the need for a change in my life. I vividly remember the first time HYPE lead worship before rehearsal the weekend after our retreat. Because that was the day I asked God to help me again. And He did. He changed my life, He flipped it back around, and the people in our HYPE helped. I now have a very strong relationship with Christ, my mom is my best friend and I tell her absolutely everything, and I have the best friends a girl could ask for! Sure my life isn’t perfect, no one’s is. But I’m in a very good place, and the people of CYT helped me to get there, and I couldn’t be more thankful! I’ve danced in many CYT productions, I have been Assistant Choreographer for two productions, and CYT has helped me find my passion for teaching and choreographing dance, which I plan to attend college for in the years to come. CYT is my family, and my home. I couldn’t be more thankful for the people of CYT and am blessed to call them my big, crazy, awkward family.


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

*NOTE: DEADLINE for the 2016 My CYT Story Competition has passed. All submissions received after this point will be held for the 2017 My CYT Story Competition. 

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. 

My CYT Story: Out of My Comfort Zone

The following story was submitted by Andrew F.* from CYT Portland. for our 2016 My CYT Story Contest.

Hi, I’m Andrew*. I’m almost 16 and CYT has affected my life in a way that will be hard to put on paper. As I write this I have amazing memories of the fantastic time I had performing with everyone. I’ve only participated in one CYT production, but it was one of the best two months of my life. However, I don’t think anybody would have found me saying this in the beginning. I’m not referring to rehearsals, auditions fair, or meeting new people, that was all good. It was the call backs. I learned that day, that CYT was really gonna pull me out of my comfort zone.

Why? Do I look uncomfortable?

Why? Do I look uncomfortable?

Whether Mrs. VanWhetten was leading awkward stretches, or Mr. Benjamin was asking me to sing out of my range, it didn’t matter. That night after call backs I was so excited to see the cast list, but had to wait until 1pm the next day before learning who got what part. At 12:59 on Sunday, and after refreshing my phone’s email about a thousand times, the list popped up. Not many people know this, but I was almost crying because of the part I had gotten. I was expecting to get the Genie, the Sultan, or even Aladdin. But when I saw the list I was devastated. “Andrew F.-Narrator 4.” As I let it sink in I was given fantastic advice at that moment… “You may not like the part, but be the best Narrator 4 that there ever was.” I listened and eventually fell in love with the part.

Rehearsals were awesome. It was always the highlight of my week, or day, whenever anybody asked. Learning new dance numbers, being dramatic, or being goofy musical nerds is what some might see on the surface, but at CYT there is an experience I doubt any other company could offer, a new family.

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Just some of my new family…

Friends have been hard to come by for me just simply due to that a lot of my interests aren’t mainstream or popular among the boys at church and school. My parents have always told me that my siblings should be my best friends, and that’s exactly what CYT offered me, brothers and sisters in Christ who encourage me and love musical theater to boot!

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Circle up!

I would like to conclude with the fact that CYT has been one of the best experiences of my life! Whether it was dancing and singing hilarious show tunes, playing games in the green room, Circle Up with the cast, or being told to stop “wife shopping” backstage! CYT has given me friends that support me, instructors that care for me, and an unforgettable experience! Thank you CYT!

*Last names have been removed to protect the identity of minors. 


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

*NOTE: DEADLINE for the 2016 My CYT Story Competition has passed. All submissions received after this point will be held for the 2017 My CYT Story Competition. 

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. 

My CYT Story: Everyone has to Play their Part

The following story was submitted by Katie T. from CYT Seattle for our 2016 My CYT Story Contest.

Katie's Headshot from Children of Eden

Katie’s headshot from Children of Eden

The first time I ever saw a CYT show I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of it. I went to go see CYT Sacramento’s first show, Annie. I was still involved in dance, so I couldn’t join for their next show, Aladdin. The first time I joined CYT was for summer camp “Broadway Kids” in 2013. I remember just feeling like I was part of something special that I didn’t feel when I was doing dance. I enjoyed it so much that I begged my parents to enroll me in the classes and in their next show, Wizard of Oz.

For my first class I took Drama. My teacher was my old jazz teacher, so I knew her and she knew me, which was cool. I remember my audition for Wizard of Oz. When I found out that I was going to be cast as a munchkin in the lollipop guild I was so excited! When it was time for the show I felt like I was in a movie. The costumes, makeup, hair, props, and scripts made me feel like a movie star. When the show was over, I couldn’t wait for the next show and classes.

When it was time for the next show which was, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, I couldn’t wait to be part of yet another great show. When I got called back for Lucy, I literally freaked out. When I found out I got the part of a dancer, I was a little disappointed, but I realized that everyone has to play their part. It was still a great show. The next show was probably my favorite show. When I got called back for Chip in Beauty and the Beast I was again so thrilled. During callbacks I knew that I did a great job. When I found out that I, got Chip oh boy was I ecstatic!

Katie as Chip in CYT Sacramento's Beauty and the Beast

Katie as Chip in CYT Sacramento’s Beauty and the Beast

During the shows having a big part was a great learning experience. It meant that I got to practice with the other people that had big roles. One funny thing that happen during our show was that right after intermission one of the characters forgot that the scene had started and wasn’t on stage. We had to improvise until the actor got there.

After two more incredible shows of Godspell and the Little Mermaid, it was time for another summer camp. We had tons of fun with games and crafts. During our family trip to Hawaii my dad told me that he got offered a job in Seattle. Of course I was curious if there was a CYT in Seattle, but I wasn’t sure. When we found out that there wasn’t one, I was really sad. I couldn’t imagine my life with out my CYT family. God answered my prayers just last month! My parents and I met with a lady who also wants a CYT in Seattle. When I found out that it was actually happening, I wanted to jump up and dance.cyt seattle

Going to the expo would help us get advice on starting a CYT in Seattle. I am looking forward to assisting my parents in starting a new CYT family and bringing the joy that I have had to the youth in the Seattle area!


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

*NOTE: DEADLINE for the 2016 My CYT Story Competition has passed. All submissions received after this point will be held for the 2017 My CYT Story Competition. 

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. 

My CYT Story: Don’t Crack a Smile

The following story was submitted by Landon B.* from CYT Santa Cruz for our 2016 My CYT Story Contest.

My first real involvement with Christian Youth Theater was in 2013, when I took an acting/voice class centered on Rodgers and Hammerstein’s, Cinderella.  I came into this class with massive apprehensions. I had seen these “thespians” at different CYT events I had attended, such as improv shows and their “Hoedown Throwdown.” At all these events, I felt quite out of place and now going into this class every nerve and brain cell in my introverted self screamed, “RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY NOW! RUN AWAY FAST!” But, here I was, taking a class with people I perceived as being radically different than myself. Now, I have nothing against the teacher who taught that class, or against any of the students who were in it with me, but I’m going to be honest here; at that time and stage in my life, it drove me to tears. I was NOT ready to learn the songs, NOT ready to dance, and DEFINITELY NOT ready to be cast as one of the princes for the showcase! I buckled down and got through it, however, but afterwards I had no intention of EVER going back, EVER (But was that God’s plan?).

Cut to me sitting at a CYT improv comedy show with my family at some point in 2013. I came by choice; however, I was determined to have NO FUN, WHATSOEVER. At this point, I held the steadfast, unwavering opinion that I would not be involved with CYT forevermore. I sat through the first half of the show, trying my hardest to keep a straight, serious face. It worked, until the opening of the second half, when my good friend Reece H. cracked a hilarious joke. I tried to keep a poker face, I really did, but then the dam burst, and I laughed, continuing to do so throughout the rest of the show. I didn’t sense it, but something was changing.

The months passed; CYT was out of sight, out of mind. Then, in the spring of 2014, my mom told me they were offering an improv class that session. Reluctantly, I signed up. I showed up, on the first day of class, ready with my sullen face to deter any kind of contact from this jolly band of extroverts. Any guesses as to who had also signed up for improv? Yes, Reece. I was through the roof! Here was someone I knew. That day, I also met my fantastic friend and improv teacher, Sarah Preston, but at the time I was determined to avoid anyone I didn’t know, so she was grouped right in with them.

People started to break through the walls I had put up, though. Two who really stood out at this point were Stephen and Joseph P. Joe had been paired as my HYPE buddy; someone to welcome me into this crazy place. He was on the quiet side, which, from my narrow perspective, was quite odd. Up until this point I was picturing everyone at CYT essentially as rays of constant exuberance (today I know this is not the case and that everyone has their quiet days, as well as crazy ones). Stephen was also enrolled in improv, and I thank him for consistently including me in conversation. He always greeted me with a smile, and was insistent on the fact that I should audition for a production. When that improv class ended, I was unsure of my feelings for CYT. Yes, I had hoped to convince myself that any kind of theater was not for me, but I had just experienced a huge positive force through meeting new people in improv. I tried to be resolute in my dislike, but God was still working on my heart, and placing lots of people in my path, adults and students alike, who were encouraging me to do more with CYT.

Summer came and passed, and then the fall session opened up. What should be offered but improv! Soon enough, my name was on the roster for a second time. This time around, I was still really trying to hold onto my bad feelings for everything CYT-related, but then I found that Jacob K. was in my class. Jacob and I had known each other outside of CYT, and got along quite well. Being in improv class with him was another thing that had a significant impact on my heart. At the end of that session, an audition for the 2014-15 improv team was held. And that was when God gave the final push. I auditioned, made the team, and ended up with a group of people who are now some of my best friends. I started taking more classes (Shakespeare, Newsies Dance, Acting for the Camera) and broadening my involvement (working backstage, performing in a fundraiser, promoting events), and coming out of each experience I was blessed with dozens of amazing new friendships, and continued to grow in knowledge of the theater arts.

I now realize that every CYT experience I’ve had has been a truly beneficial part of my education and life. CYT has helped me grow in every aspect of my life, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I have made so many wonderful friendships that I am sure will continue, and I would like to give a big thank-you to anyone who has ever talked to me for any length of time at any CYT event; you are all so fantastic and awesome and you are all a part of the change that has been worked in my mind and heart. All this has finally lead to this moment, where (and I would have never dreamed this could happen (or would happen) I find myself performing in the role of Chef Louis in CYT Santa Cruz’s, The Little Mermaid. I am so thankful to continue to be a part of Christian Youth Theater, and hope that it continues to bless and change everyone who comes in contact with it, even those of us who take a while to warm up to it.

*Last names removed to protect identities of minors.


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

*NOTE: DEADLINE for the 2016 My CYT Story Competition has passed. All submissions received after this point will be held for the 2017 My CYT Story Competition. 

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.