Mitzvah Project: Melissa Nadler, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
Five summers ago, I visited Camp Westmont in Poyntelle, Pennsylvania. I instantly fell in love. Not only did they have a beautiful campus, but they also had this amazing arts and crafts program with some really cool projects. I couldn’t wait to go the following summer. As it turns out, camp was even better than I imagined. I made some of my best friends of my life—we are in touch 24/7!
Pictured: Melissa organized her friends and family to each make a tile to raise money for SCOPE.
Four years later, I still think camp is the best place on earth, and in the fall before my Bat Mitzvah, I found a way to incorporate my love of camp into my Mitzvah Project. My mom and I went to Mitzvah Market’s Celebrate! Party Showcase in Westchester to get ideas for my Mitzvah Project and, of course, for the celebration afterwards.
The place was huge, but we came across ArtWare for Good, a charity that sets up art projects to raise money for organizations locally and throughout the world. At first, I thought I’d raise money to help children in Nepal. But then we came up with something that was closer to my heart. ArtWare for Good was about to partner with SCOPE. (SCOPE stands for Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education.) I thought raising money for SCOPE, a charity that helps underprivileged kids go to camp, would be a perfect way to give back. I was also able to combine all of my favorite things—arts and crafts, my friends, and camp—into my Mitzvah Project!
Here’s what I did: At the beginning of February, I invited my friends and family to an “Open House art Party” at my house. They could stop by to create their masterpiece, have a sweet treat, and help make this meaningful idea a reality. I asked my friends to donate $20 each and create a work of art based on the theme of “Fun in the Sun.” For example, my tile had my favorite camp food—s’mores. Every tile was unique: My brother, of course, made one that showed sports, while other friends drew ice cream cones, flip flops, and the ocean. For those people who could not attend the party, the process was easy: They created their artwork at home and just sent it to me. Our artwork was then transferred onto tiles with the help of ArtWare for Good. Ultimately, our designs became part of a tile wall mural that was donated to SCOPE. The mural will be hung in a SCOPE-funded camp in the tri-state area. With just a small donation from each of my friends, we not only created a mural for campers to enjoy, but we provided a child less fortunate than myself to have the opportunity to go to camp, and ultimately enhance his or her life.
The project ended about three weeks before my Bat Mitzvah, so that ArtWare for Good could create the tiles in time for me to present them at my Bat Mitzvah. This experience was so incredible, and I got to share it with so many people from all parts of my life—my school and camp friends, long-time family friends, and relatives. Everyone loved seeing the masterpiece that we created together.
ArtWare for Good helped me with my vision of creating something artistic for the greater good, but their partnership with SCOPE made my project a perfect fit for me. I know from experience that there is no better place to spend a summer than at sleepaway camp. I have been fortunate enough to have had four incredible summers so far at Camp Westmont, and I have learned and grown so much from my experience away from home. Being able to give someone the same kind of opportunity feels so good.
If you would like to learn more about ArtWare for Good and SCOPE, please see the contact information below:
ArtWare for Good
SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education)
This story is from our 2016 Mitzvah Market Magazine. If you would like to request a free copy, click here.