Idina Menzel: Broadening Horizons

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Idina Menzel is an actress, singer and songwriter, best known for her starring roles in Broadway’s “Rent” and “Wicked.” She founded A BroaderWay Foundation with her husband Taye Diggs to help girls from underserved communities create an outlet for self-expression through arts-centered programs.
Idina Menzel is an actress, singer and songwriter, best known for her starring roles in Broadway’s “Rent” and “Wicked.” She founded A BroaderWay Foundation with her husband Taye Diggs to help girls from underserved communities create an outlet for self-expression through arts-centered programs.

My childhood camp experiences truly shaped who I am today, but I realize not all girls are so lucky. In 2010, I created A BroaderWay Foundation and Camp BroaderWay with my husband, Taye Diggs, to give girls from underserved communities an equally special experience, which combines performing arts with a carefree, exciting and creative refuge.

Camp BroaderWay is a 10-day sleep away program for girls aged 11-14. Our amazing staff of artists, social workers and camp operators create a safe environment where campers can take risks, learn healthy forms of self-expression, experience cohabitation, and form strong and lasting bonds with fellow campers and our Camp BroaderWay team. In addition to traditional camp activities, the girls write poetry, sing, dance and act. With so many electives to choose from, such as songwriting, choreography, singing, story boarding, tap dancing, acting, painting, sculpting, costuming and hair and make-up application, the girls are able to use the creative process to find their voices—both literally and figuratively!

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We conclude the program with an original camper-created performance, which is performed on a professional New York City stage. The experience is extremely gratifying for the campers as well as their families, friends and supporters. But, the final performance is just the culmination of the process. What happens during the BroaderWay experience is truly precious and unique: our campers inspire and our team facilitates. Together, we find our voices. At the end of camp, we have melded together as a family. The girls and the Camp BroaderWay team leave lasting imprints on one another.

We maintain a close relationship with the girls throughout the year and continue to reinforce the fundamentals of A BroaderWay’s vision by hosting reunions and offering exposure to various art forms. We’ve taken the girls to see Wicked, where they were able to engage in a post-show discussion with our wonderful producer, David Stone. They have also attended a gospel choir competition and visited and participated in various art exhibits. One of our girls even read her poetry at Carnegie Hall during my concert. I am so proud of what we have created, but I am most proud of what our girls have accomplished.

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