WATCH ABOVE: Lama Nicolas reports on the Richmond Hill boy who was rejected from a Jewish summer camp.
TORONTO – Tyler Weir isn’t allowed to go to camp with his friends because it’s a Jewish camp and he isn’t Jewish.
According to a report by YorkRegion.com, Camp Solelim told the Richmond Hill teenager’s parents he can’t attend the camp even though he has predominantly Jewish friends and attended similar camps in the past.
“The director said that he didn’t belong and that he would feel out of place and it would be very awkward for him,” Weir’s father told YorkRegion.com.
Tyler disagrees. He said he went to Camp Shalom last year and learned about the Jewish religion and culture – and said it was fun.
“When I went last year, I just felt really welcome and all my friends were there and it just made me really happy to fit in and have fun with my friends,” he said in an interview with Global News Monday.
“I think it’s kind of unfair. I think whatever race or religion you are you should be able to go to any camp at any time.”
The York Region report said organizers of Camp Solelim, operated by the Canadian Young Judaea, don’t believe Tyler’s participation is in the best interest of the camp. In a statement to Andrew Weir, the camp said its mission statement “lists nurturing Jewish identity and values, fostering a sense of pride and knowledge in Israel and building future Jewish leaders as part of its core.
“Our summer educational programming and training are geared entirely to these principles,” the statement read.
“As our mission is to instill Jewish pride and create future leaders of the Jewish community, clearly, it is only with a Jewish demographic that this can be accomplished.”
Solelim is a camp for 14- to 15-year-olds in Sudbury, Ont. Tyler had previously attended Shalom, a camp for 7 to 13-year-olds.
But Young Judaea told York Region Tyler’s involvement in that camp was a result of an oversight. Part of the application to the camp asks if any family members are Jewish. Tyler filled the application out honestly, stating no, last year when he applied to Camp Shalom. That camp, run by the same organization, said it wasn’t a problem.
Meanwhile, some parents and even Tyler’s hockey coach have come to the boy’s defense saying the situation is unfair.