As Sea Cliff teens Annalise Apt and Tayler Bradford lined the tables of the lunchroom in the North Shore Holiday House with plastic on Saturday, campers played outside in the pool, playground and backyard.
The house, located in Huntington, is a summer sleepaway camp that serves underprivileged girls, ages 7 to 11. The camp is home to as many as 50 girls during each of its four two-week sessions.
Apt and Bradford placed sets of markers, brushes, palettes of paint and the blank, white boxes that they described as “memory” boxes for an art class they were set to teach.
But Apt and Bradford — who will be juniors at North Shore High School this fall — are not part of the camp’s staff. Their participation this summer is the culmination of an idea they had last fall to start an art class for children and donate the participation fees to a worthy charity.
“We’re both very passionate about art,” said Apt, 15, who has been drawing and painting since she was 8. “Because of this we originally planned on donating the money to a school that couldn’t afford an art program.”
The girls brought their plan to Bradford’s mother, Sharyn Bradford, an artist by trade who loved the idea.
With their plan set, Apt and Bradford raised $1,200 by hosting a pair of five-class sessions — one last fall and another in the spring — made up of six girls, ages 7 to 11. The classes took place in Sharyn Bradford’s home art studio.
“They [the students] loved the idea of helping underprivileged girls,” said Sharyn Bradford of the class. “Even the girls taking the class knew what they were doing. So not only did they have the benefit of an art class, but they also had the benefit of knowing that they were helping other girls that were not as privileged as them.”
Sharyn Bradford also introduced the girls to Stacey Scarapone, executive director of the Women’s Fund of Long Island, with hopes that Scarapone could direct the girls toward an organization deserving of the donation. Scarapone mentioned Holiday House’s need for an art program.
Apt and Bradford had the parents of their art students make checks out directly to Holiday House so the money they raised could go toward purchasing art supplies for the new class, which the girls offered to teach.
On Saturday a counselor rang the camp’s “attention bell,” and soon 14 campers lined up outside of the lunchroom, ready to participate in the camp’s first art class.
Apt and Bradford will continue teaching through August, allowing them to meet all of the campers in each of the camp’s four sessions, helping them create memory boxes.
“We chose the memory box lesson because it allows the girls of the Holiday House to keep their favorite memories from their time here stored in one place so that they can always cherish them,” said Tayler Bradford, 16. “When they eventually go home and are having a rough day they can always go and look back at the box and be reminded of much fun they had here.”
Originally published: Newsday.com (June 30, 2013)