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HYPE stands for “High School Youth Pursuing Excellence.” These are the teens of CYT, tomorrow’s community leaders. HYPE is a program through which high school youth involved in CYT can develop their leadership capacity.
The name says it all. These teens are hyped about CYT and the positive impact that it can have on our community.
The goal of HYPE is to challenge and grow the advanced students of CYT to be leaders and get involved by serving the community around them. To look at all aspects of theater, not just from the actor’s point of view. To continue to grow as an individual, committing themselves to excellence in all they do.
- To build quality relationships between different age groups, social groups and CYT locations.
- To create HYPE and excitement within the CYT family that encourages all students to pursue an excellent lifestyle.
- To serve the community in creative ways effectively using student’s talents and gifts.
HYPE is the ASB of CYT. HYPE is a service and leadership group – it is not a youth group or a clique. HYPE is based on the premise that when you give CYT students meaningful responsibility they will step up to the challenge. These students will have better attitudes, stay committed to CYT longer, and begin to mature appropriately as young adults and future community leaders.
Ideally, your HYPE students will be the backbone of your CYT program. Within CYT, they will set the example of older kids committed to the program and to doing all they can to better and serve it. Within the community, they will serve as CYT representatives, reaching out to serve and bring CYT’s values and services to others.
HYPE students are committed to the program for one full CYT season (aka, a full school year), and are involved in the following: attending biweekly meetings, planning social events for CYT families, organizing fundraisers, doing service projects within the community, and planning ways to minister and mentor within CYT. In turn, HYPE students are trained by their Adviser(s) on leadership traits and roles, and are mentored to put that growth into action at CYT and elsewhere in their lives.
The HYPE Adviser is the key person to the success of the HYPE group. The Adviser should be someone who has a sincere desire to work with older CYT students, has the time available to devote to HYPE, and who has had significant experience in CYT and in the community. The HYPE Advisor should not be the Area Coordinator nor another staff member already heavily committed to CYT, as this will lead to a divided focus and possible burn-out.
Advisers should be youthful [if not by actual age, by energy and enthusiasm for all things youthful] and be able to give the focus and guidance needed to the group. If possible, there should be two or more Advisers to share the load in leading the group and also to make use of creative collaboration.
The HYPE Adviser’s Role:
The Adviser’s role is to mentor this group of students specifically – not necessarily to be doing all the tasks required of the HYPE members (in planning and setting up events). The Adviser should be giving personal challenges and encouragement to the group and to individuals to help them grow spiritually and as young leaders.
- Attends every HYPE meeting and HYPE function or event (if multiple HYPE Advisers exist in an area, they can switch off attendance).
- Prepares a leadership lesson or encouragement to give to the group at HYPE meetings.
- Calls and/or meets with students individually throughout the quarter to build relationships and mentor them.
- Gives challenges for personal/spiritual growth and keeps students accountable.
- Plans Retreats/Sleepovers, etc. to facilitate growth and team-building within the group.
- Is the contact with CYT staff/office for HYPE plans & events.
- Plans a budget for HYPE with the HYPE Treasurer; monitors it throughout the year to make sure the group is staying on track.
- Sets agenda with the HYPE President & Vice President; makes sure agenda is followed at meetings.
- Receives HYPE applications & arranges interviews; facilitates HYPE selection process.
- Comes up with and continues to carry on traditions and practices that encourage community within the group (e.g., prayer notebooks, celebrating birthdays, encouragement cards, boundary breakers, etc.).
- Handles any HYPE discipline issues that may arise, including having to ask members to step down for not complying with the commitment contract.
Looking for an Adviser? Click here.
Once you have an Adviser, it’s time to get some members in the group! After all, HYPE would not exist were it not for the high school aged participants involved with it. A good HYPE group should have at least six members in it, and up to 20-24 max for one area.
- In high school, ages 15-18 (or 14 and a freshman)
- Has successfully completed at least one full year of CYT (school year or calendar year) and participated in at least one show by either cast or crew.
- Submits a thoughtfully completed HYPE application on time.
- Displays teaching, serving, and/or leadership gifts and maintains a positive, teachable attitude, willing to grow.
- Demonstrates a good rapport with all youth and adults in CYT.
- Commits to serving one full year in HYPE
- Attend bi-weekly meetings regularly; give input and positive participation (two excused absences per session permitted).
- Volunteer in service projects for the community.
- Welcome new students to CYT and mentor young students.
- Plan and put on a social each quarter for CYT families and/or students
- Participate in at least two productions a season, either on-stage or behind the scenes in your area (committing to one specific area for the whole season – not “area-hopping”).
- Participate in HYPE fundraisers.
- Assisting in any other way necessary at CYT functions/classes/rehearsals
- Build community within CYT by modeling, ministering, and mentoring
Ideally, a CYT area needs to have been in existence for at least a year so that high school students can demonstrate their potential for being a part of HYPE.
In order to initially form a HYPE, advertise it, but also encourage certain high schoolers in whom you have noticed leadership traits. This should not be viewed as a popularity contest or the Adviser just picking their favorite students. Opportunities for all students to submit applications should be available, but if it seems like it’s difficult to get members at first, Advisers (or other key CYT adult leaders) should feel free to encourage students to apply.
Asking students to fill out a thorough and well-thought out application brings the seriousness of HYPE involvement to the next level.
Click here for more information.
Please note that this process is instituted for HYPE groups that have been in existence for some time. If just starting out, applications & interviews would go through just the Adviser(s) and potentially the Artistic Director and/or Area Coordinator.
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The contract is attachéd to the application and specifies the required commitment for the following year. Not only should every new member and their parents sign this, but it should also be renewed for each year with continuing members and their parents. Because so often high schoolers are not driving yet, their parents must fully understand the importance of their commitment to HYPE as well.
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One of the best ways to run HYPE is like an ASB with assigned jobs, officers, and committees to carry out the work. The following job descriptions are based off of the idea of HYPE being a body that needs each part to function properly. Every role has special and unique responsibilities that need to be carried out each quarter. When the roles are trained and overseen properly by the Adviser, the students soon become independent and are able to function at a high level of responsibility.
Choosing Positions/Voting for Officers
When first beginning a HYPE, the adviser should ask students which jobs they are interested in, then assign roles based on interests and needs. If everyone is interested in the same job, some will have to be asked to take a second or third choice.
Positions are usually held for a year, but can be evaluated on a quarterly basis if a position turns out to be not the right fit for a student. At the end of a year, students write down their top 3 desired positions for the next year, and positions are reassigned based on interest/ability/incoming/outgoing members.
Officers include the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. These are positions that should be voted on by student peers in HYPE. Students can be nominated or indicate their own interest in a role privately to the adviser. All members interested in officer positions are placed on a ballot on which all members anonymously vote. In the case of a tie, a re-vote can be taken.
The unity of the HYPE body should be stressed at all times. At no time should the officers be given preferential treatment or be allowed to tout their positions over their fellow HYPE members. Working together is most important, and the value of every position is paramount in a HYPE group functioning well.
A HYPE does not need to have all the roles below to function properly. At a minimum, with six members in HYPE, the officer roles, Minister of Ministries and Minister of Philanthropy should be covered. Likewise, having “members-at-large” is not favored – all members should feel that they have a specific and valued role in HYPE. Therefore, if you have a larger HYPE, committees for certain roles are perfectly acceptable (indicated after each position below). Special circumstances are always understandable, and additional roles can be created based on the needs of your CYT.
Click here for HYPE Job Descriptions.
Find out about HYPE Meetings here!
HYPE Service Projects are at the heart of what HYPE is all about. Ideas for CYT Service Projects, Community Service Projects, and Fundraising, exist here.
It is important to remember that as leaders, HYPE kids are there to set the example and the tone at CYT events. It’s not enough to just be present; there must be an intentionality about creating a warm and welcoming environment at CYT – making it a family. This is what so many have commented on, saying it sets CYT apart from other theater groups. To help create this atmosphere is the privilege that HYPE students get through modeling, ministering, and mentoring.
Whether it’s reaching out to new or younger students, breaking out of cliques, responding graciously to casting decisions, or choosing not to gossip/contribute to drama, HYPE students should be first in setting the example for others to follow at CYT (as the theme verse, 1 Timothy 4:12 says). HYPE students should seek to keep one another accountable in this area, especially during rehearsals and through the run of a show when nasty behaviors become more prevalent.
There are many ways to minister to the family that is CYT and share God’s love with them. Some HYPE groups have a Bible study/worship night once a month where they invite others in CYT to join. Some HYPE groups have a time of worship in between shows on days with multiple shows or before classes on class nights. Some HYPE groups put up encouraging verses at the theater or at the rehearsal space, and some even share a short devotional before rehearsals begin. Even spontaneous prayer for cast members started by a HYPE member is a great way to minister to others at CYT.
One of the best ways to mentor new students at CYT is through the “HYPE Buddy” system. This program usually works for CYT areas that have been established for a few years (so that HYPE students aren’t overwhelmed by the amount of new students they are assigned).
The adviser or the MOP of HYPE obtains a list of new students from the office before classes begin and assigns them equally among HYPE students. Each HYPE-ster calls their buddies before classes begin, introduces themselves to the parents and to the new student, tells them a bit about CYT and lets them know they will greet them on the first day. Making signs for the new students with their names on them and a quick, welcoming note is a great way for buddies to identify each other, and can be a fun souvenir for the new student to keep. HYPE students introduce themselves to their buddies and their parents, show them around a bit, and answer any questions they might have. Throughout the class session, HYPE students are encouraged to keep in touch with their buddies, be their friend, and introduce them to others at CYT to make them feel welcome. This system can seem overwhelming, but we’ve received nothing but positive feedback about how welcoming it has made new students feel.
Another great way to help mentor is the use of encouragement sheets or sticky notes during the run of the show to promote positivity and community amongst the whole cast and crew.
The best way to build team bonding and unity within your HYPE group is to have retreats or extended periods of time where you can simply focus on growing with one another. If you can’t find a time or place where a few days away will work for the group, simply having an all-nighter with the group at a neutral location (studio, church, school – wherever you hold classes) can be a great way to build unity and provide extra time for planning. If at all possible, though, I plead and encourage you to have weekend retreats for HYPE. The benefits are numerous, and if well-planned, these weekends will be some of the best HYPE can share together.
The purpose, as I have explained to my HYPE kids, is not to go away and just have fun and come back with a lot of inside jokes that make us more of a clique within CYT. The purposes are to a) plan extensively for an upcoming quarter, b) provide opportunities for team-building activities, and c) give training and lessons in leadership through sessions that go along with the theme. Having fun is always a mandatory bonus.
(Please feel free to develop your own – these are just the themes we have used at our retreats and for which materials have been developed. If you develop some of your own, please pass them along so that they can be added to the resources!)
The Mystery of God’s Will for Our Lives (Clue/Detective/Spy themed)
The Cozy Box: When Moving Out of Our Comfort Zone is a Gift
The Other Person’s Story (Books/Scrapbooks/Stories)
(With any of the following sessions, I have further information upon request – or maybe the titles will be enough to spark your own thoughts to share on one of these topics)
Making an Impact
Time Capsule – bury/hide a time capsule with your HYPE group! Write letters to your future selves, predict other people’s futures, put in pictures & memorabilia that you find important now – talk about how time passes quickly and how we need to make the most of what we’ve been given.
Sacrificial Love/Servant’s Heart (combine with a feet-washing ceremony)
“I Have a Dream” – Discovering the Joy of Who God Made You to Be
“Dare to Make a Decision” – How to Make Biblical Decisions in God’s Will
God’s Story/Your Story/The Other Person’s Story/The Story Doesn’t End/
(Once again, for full instructions for any of the following team-building exercises, please contact me and I can get them to you):
These are the “not necessary,” but oh so fun parts of HYPE that keep us building up community within the group and help to keep us connected beyond a surface level. These are all traditions and habits started within the HYPE Spokane group, but if you have more to add to this list, by all means, please do so! Don’t feel like these are all mandatory, but if they spark creativity and excitement within your group, feel free to adopt them yourselves.
For every group of new members that enter into HYPE, we have an initiation process that we do to “induct” them into the group. It is not harmful in any way, physically or psychologically – purely fun and maybe a bit “scary” on purpose! – but for reasons of top-secret security, I cannot share the details here. Feel free to come up with your own initiation process … each initiation is slightly different than the last, although there is one central element that is always included at the end. We always tell new members that the best part after being initiated is the satisfaction that they now get to help plan the next new member initiation – and pass on the joys of being new in HYPE! Along with the silly little ritual, we also make sure to have time to thoroughly explain other traditions and jokes of HYPE so that they will be prepared when they come up. This can be made fun and/or entertaining by taking a walk while doing so and having various current HYPE members explain different aspects to new members.
Pass the Torch Ceremony
Similarly, we have a ceremony for graduating members when they literally “pass the torch” on to the continuing members. Again, each graduating group can plan the details of how they want the ceremony to go, but at the end, we always have a real Tiki torch that is lit (note: this is best done outside at night time!), and the graduating members will pass it from one to the next through all the continuing and new members, symbolizing the tradition of HYPE that will be carried on after the graduates leave.
Oftentimes, there are also “awards” given out to graduating members to thank and/or commemorate certain aspects of their jobs. Also, sometimes graduating members pass on something specific to continuing members – a personal touch so that they can be remembered in HYPE.
Prayer Notebooks or Prayer Pages (everyone writes down their name and prayer requests in a small notebook or single page of paper, puts it in the middle, everyone draws someone else, then prays for them for the next month, writing down their prayers and/or encouraging verses, then giving it back to them the following month when you switch people)
Boundary Breaker Questions
Encouragement Cards (done at the beginning of every meeting – like the Prayer Pages idea, only on 3×5 cards, and you just write down a quick encouraging note to the person whose name you drew and then give it to them right then & there).
“Shoot the Bunny” (when we get off track in a meeting, we call it a “bunny trail” – therefore, to get us back in focus, we need to “shoot the bunny” and get our minds back on track. An actual picture of a bunny for the President to hold up is oftentimes useful)
Snacks at meetings
Setting goals and keeping each other accountable
Keeping a Quote Book of funny/witty things said during meetings/retreats, etc.
Again, remember that building unity is a beautiful thing within the group. But when it stops us from ministering and reaching out to others in CYT when we’re not in meetings/retreats/sleepovers, then it becomes a monstrous issue of “clique-ishness” and people won’t see HYPE as something they want to be a part of – they’ll want to avoid it, because they feel ostracized. Don’t limit yourselves to just HYPE friends when you’re at classes or rehearsals or other CYT functions. Don’t constantly be bringing up HYPE jokes when you’re around people who don’t understand them, and don’t let your HYPE responsibilities make you feel and act superior to everyone else in CYT.
We are here to have a servant’s heart and love everyone around us. That is our primary goal in HYPE.