Mission and History of YSP

Mission:

Youth Sing Praise Foundation empowers youth and young adults for leadership through programs that promote music, theatre, community, and faith, and commissions the creation of new faith-based musicals.

  • Our premier program is Youth Sing Praise, a 9-day overnight performing arts camp and religious retreat for high school teens, culminating in the top-quality performance of a faith-based musical for an audience of thousands.
  • The Foundations also invites middle school students to a one-day workshop, YSP Jr., where they learn performing skills, prayer and community-building–like YSP on a shorter scale.
  • Helpers Team for young adults (often alumni of YSP) is a service leadership experience that incorporates prayer and reflection into the physical work and leadership skills required to make YSP–and any community program–happen with grace and excellence.
  • Over the years, many musicals have been written expressly for, or debuted at YSP. From Stephen Schwartz’s Family Tree (later re-titled Children of Eden) in 1986, to our most recent commission from Orin Johnson and Bradley J. Behrmann, Just Pretend, we benefit from relationships with talented, faith-filled writers and composers.

Purpose and History:

Youth Sing Praise began in 1982 as a ministry of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL. The original idea was to welcome young people from every diocese in the US to learn and perform new liturgical music. The hope was to inspire contemporary liturgical music to be written and sung in liturgical settings. Somewhere along the line, it morphed into the performance of a faith-based musical including the occasional writing of entirely new shows. It has been a fluid, changing program ever since I’ve (Donna Eisenbath, Program Coordinator) been around which affirms to me that the Holy Spirit is alive and active. God knows that theatrical youth can find themselves living on the fringes of their peer society. At Youth Sing Praise these gifted young people find Oblate hospitality, affirmation and encouragement. The Youth Sing Praise experience shows them that they are not alone in their faith journey or discernment of a vocation. Since 2011, the YSP Foundation has been responsible for funding and programming, and in 2014 received designation as a 501c3 charity organization. Enrollment is up 60% in 3 years, and the Foundation has raised over $50,000 in donations from friends and supporters in that time.

Please see Previous Productions for more information.

AND

Please see How Can You Help? for more information.

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