Camp Airy Near Thurmont To Receive Emergency Funds Following Dining Hall Fire

Camp Airy Dining Hall Fire (Photo from Frederick County Fire & Rescue Services)

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is donating $25,000.

Thurmont, Md. (KM) – Camp Airy near Thurmont is getting some financial assistance following a fire which destroyed its dining hall. The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is donating $25,000 in emergency funding to the camp. CEO Gil Preuss says organizations such as Camp Airy have sufficient funds for daily operations, but often not enough for emergencies. “When we saw the fire, we knew that we needed to help out with a grant to the camp to make sure they did not have to worry in the short term about resources to support the camp, the staff and feed everyone etc,” Preuss says .

He says this $25,000 amount is a grant and the camp does not have to pay it back.

Camp Airy, located at 14938 Old Camp Airy Road in the Thurmont area, is a Jewish sleep away camp for boys between the ages of 7 and 17. It has been in existence for about 100 years.

The fire at the dining hall broke out on Wednesday morning. Fire fighters from Maryland and Pennsylvania responded to the scene and spent three hours bringing the flames under control. They also spent several hours after that doing overhaul and putting out hot spots.

The Frederick County Fire Marshal’s Office says the building a total loss with a damage estimate of $2-million.

Preuss says the Federation allocates some financial support for the camp and those who attend. “We do provide funding to the Camp to first time campers as well as some scholarship dollars,” he says,

He says the scholarships can help those families who want to send their sons to Camp Airy, but can’t afford it. “Overnight camping is a wonderful thing and it has a significant impact on kids’ growth and identity,” he says. “But we also know a lot of families can’t afford the full cost of tuition for four weeks over a summer So it’s important to be able to help out.”

In addition to activities such as swimming, baseball, basketball, volley ball and other sports, Preuss says Camp Airy also offers these young men a religious experience. “It’s a way to experience your faith, your community, your sports, your cultural activities, all together in one thing,” he says.

By Kevin McManus