Saturday, April 9, 2016

Broadway or Bust

When Mary Elysse Santa graduated from Currituck County High School last spring, she knew that she didn’t want the end of high school to also mean the end of her time as a Girl Scout. She had been a Girl Scout for 11 years and had spent countless hours participating in community service projects, testing her limits in the great outdoors and honing her business skills as a cookie entrepreneur. She had even represented Girl Scouts at Legislative Day in Raleigh, traveled to Salt Lake City to attend Girl Scout National Convention and earned the Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a Girl Scout can earn. Being a Girl Scout was a big part of Santa’s identity.

In August, she headed off to Western Carolina University to start a new adventure studying elementary education. A few months into her studies, Santa reflected on her Gold Award project, which centered on bringing live music performances to a senior living facility in Currituck, and thought about it had helped her realize her passion for spreading music to others. Already registered as a lifetime member of Girl Scouts, she connected the dots and figured out how she could continue her Girl Scout experience as a volunteer. She contacted GSCCC and got the okay to begin planning a musical theatre summer camp experience for Girl Scouts back home in Currituck. Right away, Santa started to outline her camp, now named Broadway or Bust, to give Girl Scouts ages seven to 14 a chance to develop a love for theatre and perform in front of a live audience.

“I first got involved with music at a very young age because my grandfather was a music teacher, and he taught me how to sing and play piano,” Santa said. “I started theatre at school when I was seven, and I got a big part in a Christmas pageant. I haven’t stopped loving theatre since! My love for theatre and Girl Scouts motivated me to start planning this camp.”

Santa has big plans for Broadway or Bust this summer. She has recruited a talented group of friends, former theatre classmates and fellow cast members from over the years to help her run the camp. Together, they are going to spend a week teaching girls choreography, blocking, dance, set design and so much more. The camp will culminate with a performance that will be free and open to the public.

“I am really looking forward to seeing the campers learn about theatre and have a great time performing,” Santa said. “Music education is important because it helps created well-rounded individuals. I am excited to be able to share my passions with Girl Scouts this summer.”

Broadway or Bust will take place from June 27 to July 1 at Currituck County Middle School. The camp Monday through Thursday, girls in grades two through five will attend camp from 9 a.m. to noon, and girls in grades six through nine will attend camp from 1 to 4 p.m. On Friday, camp will start at noon for all ages and culminate with a performance at 5 p.m. Camp is open to all girls ages 7 to 14, whether or not they are currently registered members of Girl Scouts. The cost to attend is $50 for the week. Non-members will pay an extra $15 registration fee. For more information and to register, contact