Youth On the Winning Side was birthed by the members of the gospel singing group, Nu Image, in 1991. The members was seeking solutions to see what could be done to make an impact on the community that no one else in the city was doing. The members felt led to do a week-long faith-based music workshop for youth and young people ages 3 to 25. Nu Image felt strongly about having a wide age span because of the lack of summer activities for the 20 to 25 year old age-bracket: too old to be a youth and too young to know how to handle adulthood.
As the group brainstormed and sought guidance, the members decided to have a guest clinician and also to include youth and young people with leadership skills to serve as mentors to the participants. Each night of rehearsals would not only include music, but special features that were built around topics of need such as peer pressure, abstinence, etc. The first year, 325 youth and young people participated. As YOTWS evolved, the numbers grew to over 1500 participants with 4,000 – plus people in the audience. The event went from having rehearsals at different venues nightly, to rehearsals being held in one location and the concert being held in a large city auditorium
Although gospel music is the “hook” for YOTWS, religious classical music is taught to and performed by the YOTWS chorales. Also, other performing auxiliaries are featured: steppers, mime, and dancers.
After the first 10 years of YOTWS, a group of young people who were participants in YOTWS for many years organized a group called Nu Flame. This group was founded for the purpose of continuing Nu Image’s vision. And this talented and anointed group of young people have done just that!
Youth On the Winning Side has grown and is still growing as proven by the fruit that has been produced: preachers, ministers of music, songwriters, evangelists, recording artists, actors, and just good, solid citizens. These participants are planted throughout the world effecting positive change. Many have received scholarships from Nu Image with the help of churches, businesses, and individuals in the community. Over 1500 bibles have been distributed to participants. Many youth and young people have made life-changing decisions. Intense study manuals have been distributed to young ministers who participate. And of course, the music that comes from the mouths and hearts is heavenly!
Participants travel from far and near to participate. YOTWS has had participants from almost every state. Some churches even send their entire youth departments. In the years of existence of YOTWS, Nu Image has not become weary in well doing.