Harlequin Member Spotlight: Sarah Ely, New Box Office Manager (August 2015)

I recently took on the position of Box Office Manager at Conejo Players Theatre, and I'm really looking forward to the challenge. Everyone who helps at the theatre is a volunteer -- and I'm no stranger to volunteering (I just have to learn to say "no" sometimes). I first started at CPT when my youngest son Jonathan accepted a role in his first show, ALICE IN WONDERLAND JR., when he was 11 years old. 
When my family and I moved to Thousand Oaks in 1993, I started working full-time. I decided to volunteer at the elementary school; back then, there wasn't much I could do while working, but I found a way. My older sons were playing baseball in the spring as well as bowling every season. They also played flag football and -- yes -- I was "Team Mom" multiple times. In 1996, Jonathan was born and I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom. I brought him to Horizon Hills pre-school and kept busy, taking my older sons to their activities and bowling every Wednesday evening in Simi Valley. 
I volunteered in different roles, at schools and with sports, off and on from the time my older sons were in elementary school at Ladera Elementary through to when my youngest graduated from Westlake High School. (My sons are now 29, 27, and 19!) I was the PTA newsletter editor for many years at the middle school, high school, and for one year at an elementary school. I also worked at the middle school all three of my sons eventually attended, around the time Jonathan started kindergarten. It was perfect; I was always there for him when he got out of school and then could go to the other schools to pick up the other two. (My middle son was the only one lucky enough to have me as his actual "lunch lady.")
I started bowling in the fall of 1994 in Thousand Oaks (the season Conejo Village Bowl closed). I continued bowling at Harley's Simi for another 18 years -- with time off during the last couple weeks of pregnancy in '96, and then another break when I had hand surgery in '11. Starting in the fall of 2014, I bowled in Camarillo, since my family and I had moved there ... 
I continued bowling through the spring of 2015 -- that was when I couldn't bowl on Thursday nights any more because I had a show to perform in at CPT. It was my fourth show, so I guess you could say I'd caught the acting bug. My first production was at Moorpark's High Street Arts Center in the spring of 2013, followed by IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE at Camarillo Skyway Playhouse in the winter, and CSP's MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET the following year. Then I decided to audition for THE GRADUATE here at CPT, earlier this year; I enjoyed playing a wedding guest and a hotel receptionist.
But my favorite part about CPT is the fact that I can be up front to greet the patrons, both as a House Manager and in the box office. I've been working in the "front of house" since 2008; I started as an usher, a ticket taker, and at the snack bar, and then signed onto the House Manager team. Ultimately, I joined the box office staff in 2012 after watching what was going on in there and growing increasingly intrigued. I really enjoy what I do for the theatre, and I'm happy that I can help make others happy.
In addition to my theatre responsibilities, I've been involved in Boy Scouts since Jonathan was a Tiger Cub in first grade. I was never a Den Leader or Scoutmaster, but my roles have always been important ones. I even continued on as Cashier and Registrar after Jonathan aged out of the troop. Now my role in scouting is a Unit Commissioner, which means I am the liaison between a unit (Cub Scout pack) and the Ventura County Council. It's been fun all these years; I've even gone camping with the troop a few times.
I'm back to working full-time, at The Acorn Newspapers in their Camarillo office. I've been there 10 years now and I love my job. I get to be creative with ads and make the Camarillo paper, delivered every Friday, look nice for readers.
I've been married to my wonderful husband, Dave, for almost 32 years. He has stuck with me through all my volunteer duties. I am also a grandma to two wonderful children; Addison just started third grade and Oren will be 2 in December. My son Adam is currently in Afghanistan working for the Air Force as a civilian contractor (he was in the Air Force for seven years). My son Stephen lives in the San Francisco and works for a car dealership. My youngest, Jonathan, continues to live at home while he attends nearby Moorpark College. Yes, I am very proud of all three!
My sons used to tell me to stop volunteering so much -- but I hope they learned how important it always was for me, and I also hope they volunteer in their own communities when they're able.