Life Chronicles · Memories

A Farewell to the CYT Studio

The year was 2007. I was 19 and CYT-Spokane’s newest staff member. I remember the first time ever driving out to this place we now call the CYT Studio and – like everyone else – wondering where in the world I was going to end up.

Where in the world was I going to end up? If only I had known at the time. We all thought this building was a little sketchy at first, but in time, the drive out here became memorized and the marmots & strange humming noise from next door became barely noticeable. Though it takes some of us longer to get out here than others, for everyone, I think there’s a feeling of joy and satisfaction when they turn in those gates and see the familiar letters of CYT spelling out home.

But back to those early days at the Studio. I remember being a part of an office staff of 3 people – myself, Doug Beschta, and Nickle Van Wormer. I remember going to Costco and buying all those tables that we’re using right now – and window blinds for the office and all-new phones. I remember being tucked away in a cubby-hole of an office – that’s now the tech room inside the inner office. Because we were all holed away in offices away from the front door, Doug decided that we needed a bell for the front door to make sure we knew when people came in. And hence, that “ding” has signaled “Welcome Home” ever since.

I’ve seen a lot of changes to CYT in the past 7 years. If you are new to CYT, please know that this is not something uncommon. I’ve watched three different artistic directors come and go. I’ve moved to an off-site office and back again. I’ve painted the walls of these studios, seen a window knocked through the wall of one to make it an office, and I’ve slept on these cold, hard floors more times than I can count (11 times to be exact).

I have sat through 22 sets of auditions in this very room. I have stayed well past midnight on many occasions for callbacks, and I’ve been here at the crack of dawn for many a Super Saturday breakfast. I’ve eaten every meal here, and I’ve even had a shower here! (Ice Cream Wars of 2009 summer camps, anyone??) All of my best memories over the past seven years have happened within these walls. I’ve cried my heart out here, laughed harder than I ever have in my life, seen great heartache, and formed the deepest friendships here.

But the most beautiful thing of all is the transformation that being at this building caused to happen within me. When I first started working at CYT back in 2007, I loved the place with all my heart as I still do. I gave up going to college to come work here because it was a dream come true. But I was a pretty selfish, insecure, dramatic person (okay, I’m still dramatic!) who didn’t have a lot of direction in her life. And slowly, over the years of working here, I started to become the person I am today – a leader who is confident in her calling, who loves what she does, and who doesn’t know just quite how she got blessed with this family called CYT. If it weren’t for CYT, I wouldn’t have become certain of my calling as a teacher. If it weren’t for CYT, I wouldn’t have been given the chance to be the HYPE Adviser – and then eventually, the National HYPE Director. If it weren’t for CYT, I wouldn’t be who I am today, surrounded by the most loving & supportive people a girl could ever ask for.

Many of the changes that took place at CYT nearly broke me because I almost wasn’t willing to let go of the way I wanted it to be. Thankfully, I had many patient & wise people who helped me grow through those changes and reminded me of why I was actually at CYT. And through every staff change-over and every time I “almost quit” (let’s not count those times!), I learned something of great value: my loyalty, in the end, was not to a specific person, but to the organization as a whole called CYT.

And in the end, when it comes time to move out of here, I do believe we will realize the same lesson – our loyalty is not to a building, but to the organization that lives within the building.

Just like I love every single person who has been a part of my history at CYT, we love every single memory we’ve made in this building (well, besides the body odor that comes from 70 cast members squeezed into one tiny room!). But we don’t leave behind the opportunity to make memories when we leave this building. We bring those opportunities with us because we’ve been so blessed in the past. We know there will be so many more new memories formed in the future wherever God leads us because we are taking our family with us. He sovereignly led us to this building in 2007, and now He is closing the door on this chapter and leading us sovereignly to the next place where we will have the opportunity to be a witness for Him. Just think about all that’s in store for us!

For so many of us, CYT is our “Solla Sollew” – our “world of pure imagination” – our “place where dreams come true” – our “Neverland.” It’s a place that is safe, a place of love, and a place to call home. And whether that’s in the hallways of the Bing, the hallways of the Studio, the hallways of high schools, churches or other such facilities, we know that we will always find it. Because it doesn’t lie within these four walls – it lies within a friend’s heartfelt hug – a child’s magical smile when they are taking their very first bow – a senior’s tears when they’re taking their last bow – a parent’s late-night dedication to getting that last set painted – the cheerful voices of the office staff as they answer the phones – the laughter that is always to be found – the insistence of “one more time from the top!” – and the hands that hold tight as we all join together in prayer. We will always have that as long as CYT exists. And no matter where we go, we will take that spirit with us. Here’s to new adventures waiting just around the next bend!

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