Touring group making its way to North Platte
Stuart and Rajean Shepherd grew up in entirely different parts of the country and went to school for very different things.
They wound up married, largely due to their tours with the touring performance group Up With People.
The group, which will make its next North Platte visit Sept. 3-10, is seeking host families for their week of community service and performances.
Staying with host families, the Shepherds said, is one of the key components of the Up With People tours.
The couple has experienced both hosting cast members and being hosted in around 1,000 different homes over their years with Up With People. They remember both sides of the process fondly.
“We love the host family experience,” Stuart Shepherd said. “I think it’s such a great way to expose your family to another part of the world. you develop friendships that last a lifetime.”
He and Rajean referenced the 2004 tsunami in Phuket, Thailand, as an event that normally would not noticeably impact life in America. It hit very close to home for the Shepherds, who they had befriended, through Up With People, a resident of Phuket.
“When you have someone in your home from another culture, when you watch TV at nighttime and something happens in that part of the world, you know somebody that’s from there and you care differently,” Stuart said. “There’s an incredible human connection that brings people together that care about each other.”
The Shepherds left Up With People after the organization moved its corporate office from Tucson, Arizona, to Denver. The couple then settled in North Platte, and their two children, Breton and Collin, later joined the group themselves.
Those interested in being a host family for the group’s upcoming stop in North Platte may contact Carlos Vazquez, Up With People’s promotion representative, at email@example.com or at 303-349-1327.
The group will perform at the Fox Theatre at 2 p.m Sept. 6 and 2 and 7 p.m. Sept. 9.