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Carmel Avitabile stands with Mark Pooler at the YMCA Camp Sloper with the donation check (Courtesy of Mark Pooler)

Southington woman donates to repay Camp Sloper kindness

SOUTHINGTON — A town woman recently donated $5,000 to YMCA Camp Sloper for the help the camp provided her four decades ago.

When Carmel Avitable’s brother Joseph, a town police officer, passed away suddenly in 1972, she was left to care for his five children, ages 3 to 11. Their mother had left prior to her brother’s death.

“I was shocked. I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” Carmel Avitabile said.

Avitabile said Camp Sloper offered to help by allowing the children to attend free of charge until they were 16.

“I would have never been able to handle it without it,” Avitabile said about the day camp.

Avitabile worked two jobs for 20 years to support the children and give them an education.

When a friend recently said she was going to give the camp a gift, Avitabile thought she should also help the organization. She considered leaving money in her will, but wanted to make sure the camp received the gift.

Mark Pooler, the Outdoor Center Director for Camp Sloper, said he was shocked when he got a message from Avitabile offering the gift. Pooler called it an “amazing, inspiring, good will gesture.”

When Avitabile met with Pooler to give him the check, she was also given a tour of the camp. Avitabile was awed by the children and the activities. Her children, now in their 40s, remembered the camp and were thrilled when they heard about the donation.

Pooler said the camp helps about 100 children every year with scholarships.

lsievert@record-journal.com (203) 317-2225 Twitter: @LaurenSievertRJ



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