Stories From the Road: Tucson, Arizona
The Young Americans do thousands of workshops all around the world. Each and every town is incredibly special, but the cast doesn’t always know the affect they have had on the students they’re teaching. The town kids of Tuscon, Arizona refused to let that be the case. After the show we were bombarded with notes from the students. Almost half the workshop had written down what the past three days had done for them and what affect the Young Americans had made on their lives forever. Here are just a few examples.
Dear Young Americans,
Thank you so much for coming here to teach me. I had an amazing first workshop. I have wanted to do this since 5th grade when my brother was in it. You guys are amazing. I love how you all treat each other like a family and always take care of one another. You really brought of the real me: a girl who is fun, outgoing, and loves to sing an dance. When I felt bad, you all cared. You are my inspiration.
Love you all,
Dear Amazing, Spectacular, Fun-loving Young Americans,
Thank you all sooooooooo much for coming to Oro Valley and working with us. I had a PHENOMENAL time! I’m usually not the type of person who likes to go out there and be center stage, but when I was with you I felt like I could do anything. Being with you guys was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. Thank you so much for coming to our school. I loved it!!!
Dear Young Americans,
I’d like to say thank you for changing my life in a way that is hard to explain. Your attitudes have inspired me to say yes to opportunities that emerge and to not let my nerves get in the way, just to go for it. I’m not that proud of my voice but I absolutely love singing because it makes me feel like I can show my feelings. In a way, I’d say singing “is the window to my soul.” Because I’m not proud of my voice, I always worry I won’t be successful in what I really want to do, which is become a musical theatre actress. It’s hard to explain how it happened, but you all have made me believe that my worries and what some people think can’t stop me from doing what I love. When you performed Lion King I thought to myself, “That’s what I want do.” I want to make a deep connection with the people I perform for. When I dance during that song I think about how I am going to do everything I can to achieve my dreams. When I think of that song I fill up with passion for what I love to do. Your presence has changed my life forever and I can only hope to see you again.
Dear Young Americans,
I can’t pinpoint one thing that makes the Young Americans so incredible. I think it has something to do with the sense of family. I have never held hands with so many random people in my life. But that’s the point, everyone coming together. Anyone can tell how much you guys enjoy what your doing. I can’t thank you guys enough for giving me the best three days of my life. You all inspire me to make something of myself. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience and dedication.
I love you all,
This last letter is one written by a mother and a teacher who felt compelled enough by what the Young Americans are doing do write a personal thank you.
To the Young Americans,
Thank you so much for your time, energy, and generosity. By sharing your gift of music with our children, you have had a profound affect on the future. It has been an honor to be able to host Young Americans four times. In the past ten plus years, you have had an impact on our family, community and our state. Our children look up to you and wish for your bravery; you shared it, and brought it out of them. Thank you. In my classroom, I see the effects of your workshop when you are gone. One of my students had been molested, he did the workshop twelve years ago and afterward he came out of his shell, he ended up performing through our his high school career. Because of you, he no longer hid from his past but embraced the present and future. Thank you.
A girl I taught was failing all of her classes; I begged her parents to put her in the workshop. Though resistant, they did. She told me thank you, then she did the most amazing thing, she did all her work. She earned straight A’s and when I saw her at the show last night, she said she was still getting straight A’s. Thank you.
You had one of my former students in this workshop. He too is a kid that consistently lets himself down, fails, lies, and makes poor choices. Last night he smiled a smile I’ve never seen and I’m sure you made a difference in him too.
Most of all, you have made a difference in my two children. Easton and Kayla have role models to look up to that aren’t going to let them down. You tell them they can, you show them they can and they do. It is so rewarding and confidence building. Thank you!
We sincerely appreciate the compassion, kindness and love you have left behind in our community. Your gift of song warms our hearts.
Niki and Phil
These are only a select few of the many letters that were written to the Young Americans. We cannot begin to explain how rewarding our workshops are for the schools, the kids, the community, and the cast of Young Americans that have the honor of touring there.