By Janee Law
Over the last two years, 13-year-old Jolie Nemshin has raised over $13,000 for Camp Loyaltown, an upstate sleepaway camp for children and adults with special needs.
Nemshin, of Cold Spring Harbor, said she learned of Camp Loyaltown from her classmate, RJ Schupler, whose brother, William, has attended the camp for the past five summers.
The camp is “heaven on earth for him,” said William’s dad, Robert Schupler.
So Nemshin assembled a fundraiser dance that produced $7,000 last year, enough for Camp Loyaltown to build a sensory garden for its campers.
“We are grateful for all of the support Jolie and her classmates at Cold Spring Harbor High School have shown our son William and his summer camp,” Schupler said. “Raising a child with special needs, such as Will, is physically and emotionally demanding. Camp Loyaltown provides Will a wonderful place to spend a few weeks during the summer, and our family a much needed respite to reconnect with each other and recharge our batteries. Jolie, her friends and the entire Cold Spring Harbor community help make it all possible.”
Nemshin said she saw how much the fundraiser meant to the Schupler family, and to Camp Loyaltown, and didn’t want to stop there.
“I wanted to continue because I saw what an impact it makes on the kids that go to the camp, either giving them a scholarship to the camp or having them build something that they love,” said Nemshin, who is an eighth grader at Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School.
This year, through the second annual Camp Loyaltown Fundraiser, Nemshin raised over $6,000 through another dance, which was hosted on Jan. 22 at H on the Harbor in Port Washington. Tickets were sold for $43.19, and a total of 100 Cold Spring Harbor seventh and eighth graders attended. Donations were also collected during the dance and online.
Spectators watched an informal video about Camp Loyaltown, ate dinner, danced and had the chance to win prizes that were raffled off. Various local businesses such as Living, The Gourmet Whaler and Pink Link donated gift cards and gift receipts, said Nemshin’s mother, Suzanne.
“It’s a wonderful cause and it’s amazing the way our community comes together to support it,” Suzanne said. “The way the children come together to support their classmate and his brother, it’s pretty incredible.”
Nemshin said organizing the event wasn’t an easy task.
“It was a lot of work. I gathered a committee with a bunch of my friends and they helped me make posters and I had to mail flyers out to the whole school,” she said. “In the mornings I would hand out flyers and I would tell my friends to promote it by talking to all the seventh graders and eighth graders.”
In addition to planning the party itself, Nemshin and her committee, which consisted of 20 students, had to gather prizes for the raffles by going to local businesses.
But it’s worth it. Nemshin said seeing the positive effects the fundraisers have had on families and kids who attend the camp made her “happy” and “proud.”