TORONTO — After spending months preparing for their bar or bat mitzvahs, children are often rewarded with gifts in the form of money.
Allie Fenwick, who celebrated her bat mitzvah last Nov. 21, chose to use a portion of her gift money to give less fortunate children the means of experiencing Jewish summer camp.
Her mother, Gail, said she suggested to her daughter that some of the gift money be donated to charity.
Allie, who is returning for her fifth year at Camp Kadimah in Nova Scotia, said she felt a strong connection to the camp and wanted other children to experience the same fun.
“The people there are really nice, and they have so many fun activities during the summer,” she said, adding that she particularly loves the water sports, such as wakeboarding, at the camp.
Her parents, grandparents and siblings all attended Camp Kadimah, she said.
Allie said she’s excited about the donation because she will get to meet new people who might not otherwise be able to afford to go to the camp.
Camp Kadimah co-chair Michael Pink said that each year, the camp gives out more than $100,000 in scholarships that range in value. Allie’s donation, he said, will help around five to 10 children attend the camp.
Camp director Diane Morrison said she had heard that a camper was making a donation, but that she didn’t expect it to be such a significant amount.
“She’s so young and so generous,” Morrison said.
Since the camp introduced this form of tzedakah three or four summers ago, typically one or two families per year choose to support the camp in this manner, Pink said.
Fenwick’s donation is the first of its kind for this year, he added.
Kadimah means a lot to many of the camp’s alumni, and they have made this significance quite clear through their generosity, Morrison said.
The camp aims to help create a love of Israel among campers and staff, according to its website.
This year, to strengthen the campers’ connection to Israel, the camp is bringing in 25 to 30 Israelis to experience the camp. Most of them are from the Sderot region, Pink said.
“[Allie’s] gift will go a long way to help in this initiative.”
The camp is located near Barss Corner, N.S., on Lake William, and has existed since 1943.
It’s affiliated with Canadian Young Judaea, the largest Jewish youth movement in Canada.
The donation is especially important because it allows Allie to become an excellent role model for her fellow campers, said Pink.
“What better example are these kids able to set for their peers than to provide great experiences for kids who would not otherwise be able to afford to go to summer camp?”