BY SEVANA PANOSIAN
Redwoods, Friends, Kebab, Shoorj Bar, Campfire Stories and Armenian Songs…
Preparations are underway for the inauguration of Armenian Youth Camp (AYC), a sleep away summer camp in Northern California for the Armenian youth.
The Armenian Diaspora is alive and well.
While the demand for our future generations to enroll in fun, educational and interactive camps is at an all-time high, space is limited and kids are missing out on the special summer camp experience aimed for Armenians in the Diaspora.
In the spirit that Armenians will move mountains to preserve our culture and nurture our youth, the San Francisco ARF Krisdapor Chapter in conjunction with the AYF Rosdom Chapter have teamed to create more space and expand footprint with the launch of AYC- the North to AYF’s South.
This week-long camp, for children 8 – 17 years of age, kicks off on Sunday, August 5 at Camp Sylvester in Pinecrest, CA.
AYC will be led by the legendary and beloved AYF Camp Director, Moushig Andonian.
To prepare for opening day, Moushig quickly formed an executive committee. Rallying with enthusiasm, more than thirty all-star and experienced AYF Camp counselors joined the team (most of which became CPR certified and AYC trained). Two licensed Emergency Medical Technicians came on board, as did gourmet cooks that are well versed on Armenian and American cuisine.
A “fun fact” is that half of these experienced cooks wanted to kick off AYC’s kitchen crew to honor the memory of the late Deegeen Araxi Soghomonian, one of the volunteers that spent decades preparing meals at AYF Camp and Camp Kessab.
When the website went live, enrollment exceeded expectations. The need for such a camp became obvious when registration boomed to nearly 140 registered campers within weeks.
While the committee prepares for August 5’ths opening day, campers can expect to be grouped into three teams (Red, Blue, and Orange). They will play games like wacky Olympics, obstacle course and quiz bowl. They will participate in fun activities including creative art, festive song and dance, athletics and traditional camp activities like steal the bacon. Most importantly, children will have the opportunity to create lifelong friendships and bond with fellow Armenians.
Our children may not know each other (yet), but “When two Armenians meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia”. – William Saroyan
To share the community efforts of launching this new camp for future generations, please consider sponsoring a cabin, funding a camper’s tuition or pitching in with other supplies. More info can be found by visiting: www.ArmenianYouthCamp.org and by following Armenian Youth Camp on Instagram and Facebook.