More about YSP

Youth Sing Praise has been ministering to and with high school teens for 38 years! Each summer, YSP invites vocally and theatrically talented teens from across the country to immerse themselves in a nine day part-theater camp, part-spiritual retreat. It culminates with the performance of a faith-based musical (like Jesus Christ Superstar or Godspell, or shows written originally for YSP like Children of Eden and Just Pretend), as a witness to an audience of 1,000-2,000 people!

Who’s eligible: High school teens who have completed freshman year through recent high school graduates may apply. Youth may be of any religious denomination or faith, or none at all. We welcome any teen willing to respectfully engage in this theater camp/retreat. The program reflects our Catholic heritage and values, especially sharing hospitality, affirmation of God’s love, and encouragement to show good news to others. Anyone interested in music, theater, dance, performance, spiritual retreats, or just having fun with new people is a great addition to the group!

Youth Sing Praise builds community, develops theatrical gifts, prays, plays, and rests. The performance takes place at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows’ outdoor Amphitheater which seats 2,400 and has extra lawn-chair/blanket space on the hills.

Where: (Southern Illinois – Belleville, IL. 15 minutes from St. Louis, MO) – We practice, pray, and eat as welcome guests at St. Mary’s parish.  Their gym, classrooms, cafeterias, and prayer spaces accommodate our needs and enhance our time together in community, worship, and rehearsal.  Lodging (3 or 4 to a room; hallway chaperones in abundance), prayer space and performance space are at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

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Who: YSP employs four professional teams: program administrators, theatrical staff, youth ministers, and helpers team. The first three are made up of an adult professional staff, each experts in empowering youth in a different way, through programming, vocal, theatrical and dance training, spiritual development, and counsel for each small group of students. The Helpers Team is a young adult volunteer staff, often alumni of YSP, who facilitate the day-to-day operations of the program through vital practical service tasks. All staff work together to ensure the safety, growth and success of our young participants. To that end, all staff undergo a background check and specific Child Protection training.

When: Applicants may submit materials by May 15th (available beginning in December). (Applicants after May 15 should contact and may be subject to a late fee) Accepted applicants will receive notice of admission in the month they apply, and an information packet during May. Participants arrive at our lodging site on June 20, 2020 and depart on Sunday, June 28, the day after the performance (June 27).

Cost: Tuition for Youth Sing Praise includes: food & lodging for nine days/eight nights, professional ministerial staff for prayer and small group time, travel each day between lodging and rehearsal sites, rehearsal materials and rehearsals with professional theatrical directors, music directors, and choreographers. Does not include: travel expenses to/from camp.

Church groups or community groups often will help participants defray the cost of tuition as well as transportation to YSP (which the participant is responsible for). As a ministry to all, YSP does not exclude anyone based on financial need. Scholarships are available through the YSP Foundation. Please let us know if you need any assistance. There are also discounts available for families who send multiple children.

Donors and friends subsidize the cost of this program; the program director and board work hard to maintain a responsible budget and quality experience.

Please consider the tuition level to which you are able to commit.

Fully-subsidized Rate: student’s family pays $495 (asked to do $100 in fundraising)

Partially-subsidized Rate: student’s family pays $750 (asked to do $100 in fundraising)

Un-subsidized Rate: student’s family pays $1100 (no fundraising requirement)

Costumes are made available from our vast costuming inventory, and also from items participants bring with them either to lend or donate permanently.

What do you do?: A daily schedule looks something like this – Wake up; breakfast; travel; morning prayer; rehearsal; break; rehearsal; lunch; rehearsal; group recreation/community; rehearsal; rehearsal; dinner; rehearsal; travel; small group meeting with your youth minister; evening prayer; bedtime; lights out! Throughout the week, we also make time for a Reconciliation service and a Party Night. Each small group also plans prayer; we have Eucharistic celebrations on the Sundays book-ending the program; there are also costume-fittings, breaks to chat with friends or youth ministers, call home, rest and meditate. There are tech- and dress-rehearsals, a barbecue, and a post-performance cast party. It’s a busy week, but any YSPer will tell you it’s very rewarding! Parents and family are invited to drop off, ending Mass and departure, and to volunteer for a meal service during the week if they choose.