Ever get involved in something and wonder if you made a difference? The end of my summer youth theater has caused some introspection both years. And part of the conversation I have with myself goes something like this: We did two shows with a total of five performances. Had over three hundred audience members between the five performances. Everyone had fun. The dinner theater food was great. But did it really make a difference?
Such was the conversation I had with myself this morning. I blame the mopey attitude on the fact that I was still recovering from the all-night cast party we had from Sunday evening till Monday morning.
Then I went looking through some e-mails, cleaned out some text messages, and deleted some old Facebook messages and got my answer.
In each of those places I discovered at least one message from a cast member of the High School/College age show thanking me for allowing them to take part in the performance. For one young person, it confirmed that they should be pursuing a major in the performing arts. For a couple of others, it was their first theater experience ever and they discovered that they kind of like it alot. For three others, life is rough right now for a variety of reasons. For them, rehearsals and performances became a safe place to be.
That last reality breaks my heart and humbles me all at the same time. I enjoy working with high school and college age kids and I love musical theater so it makes sense to put the two together. We have a few laughs, do some good work on stage, and make some memories. To know that I gave even just one young person a place where they felt safe is more than I could have hoped for and gives me all the motivation I need to do it all again next summer.