The following story was submitted by Danielle R. from CYT Chicago for the 2019 My CYT Story Competition.

Stepping out of your comfort zone can often have the biggest payoff. For me, auditioning for CYT was that step. It was advancing from the comfort of the day-to-day into a wonderland of experiences. I am forever changed because of CYT, and the payoff is immeasurable.

Seven years ago, I had my first CYT audition for Godspell; to say I was nervous would be an understatement. When we arrived at the church people wanted to get to know me and ask me questions. When you’re a quiet kid at school you’re usually overlooked, but not at CYT. I sang the song “Happiness” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and I think that accurately reflects my CYT journey. This organization has brought me an abundance of happiness. I didn’t realize it then, but that first audition day would be a day that would change the rest of my life.

By the time rehearsals came around, I knew that CYT would become my home. And for 7 years and counting, this has been true. I have become a dancer performing as the Enchantress in Beauty and the Beast, a singer as the Bird Woman in Mary Poppins, and an actress as Mrs. Darling in Peter Pan. Our house walls have been invaded by cast photos, the closet is stocked full of programs and memorabilia, my Pandora stations are 90% showtunes, and most importantly my heart is overflowing with good memories. You could call me a CYT fanatic! I look forward to coming to CYT every week, and it’s truly a one-of-a-kind community. Spending just 60 seconds smiling and singing through the nerves has offered me a lifetime of amazing memories.

CYT has molded me into a more confident person and performer, and I have grown so much from when I started. I’ve also made some of my best friends at CYT. The cast is like a family, and I’m so grateful for such a supportive group of people who help me be the best I can be. I don’t know where I would stand in my faith without CYT as well. From exposure to godly role models, to worship on Saturday morning rehearsals, to touching the hand of God through the CYT point, I have truly been saved by the support of this organization. It’s beautiful to see how many lives are being changed through CYT.

The memory of my first audition day is clear and heart-warming, and I learned that sometimes you need to push yourself to do something uncomfortable, because those are the experiences that best pay off. A quote I try to live by is, “if it excites you and scares you at the same time, it probably means you should do it.” CYT has pushed me leaps and bounds and I thank God for such an incredible blessing. Theater changes people like nothing else can; now I can take on the world.

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

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

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