As the last bus leaves Week H, the dust finally settles and, just like that, another eight amazing weeks of AYF Camp come to an end. With over 1,000 campers and staff, AYF Camp was bustling all summer with immense Armenian spirit, fun Red-Blue-Orange activities and a variety of educationals. “Camp is my home away from home. It’s where people come together. It’s amazing how people who were once strangers to me are now some of my closest friends,” said Natalie Moumdjian (13) from Seal Beach, CA.
What makes AYF Camp so special is its vast global appeal, which keeps growing year after year. In 2019, there were campers and staff from all over the world, including China, France, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, and the United Kingdom. “Being a counselor has given me the privilege to lead and guide the youth of the Armenian community. It is inspiring to see the campers creativity and uniqueness thrive through the activities and experiences made at AYF camp. This opportunity creates lifetime friendships and bonds between campers and counselors. The campers are the reason I look forward to attending every year,” said Deanna Jabourian (Counselor, Week H).
The pride and success of AYF Camp has always been, and will continue to be, the joint effort of all its volunteers and supporting community. AYF Camp is fortunate to have had amazing directors in the past who have paved the way and allowed for the addition of 7 new directors in the 2019 camp season – many of whom are female. For Lori Tashdjian, a first-time director (Week B) and AYF Camp Management Board member, “The spirit of AYF Camp never changes and continues to enrich the lives of Armenian youth. It’s wonderfully fulfilling to watch camp thrive year after year. It is a true testament to our program.” The counselors, under the guidance of these directors, ensured that all campers had a great summer focusing on building friendships, learning about Armenian culture, and enjoying the great outdoors.
The summer was filled with outdoor activities, including canoeing, archery, and Red-Blue-Orange team competitions, as well as educationals and the always-competitive weekly song competition. AYF Camp is truly grateful to all the volunteer educational speakers who came up throughout the summer to ensure that campers went home with more knowledge about the Armenian Nation, our rich culture, and beautiful history. This year, campers were fortunate to partake in a number of new educationals, including Armenian Genealogy, Artsakh, and Leadership. For instance, AYF Camp was thrilled to have two representatives, Manuk Avedikyan and Sedda Antekelian, from the USC Shoah Foundation representing the work that they do with the testimony of Genocide survivors, both of whom “were moved to see the positive impact testimony-based education had on the campers and the genuine appreciation they felt to have the opportunity to watch and listen to Armenian Genocide survivors as well as survivors of the Holocaust and the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.”
As the 2019 Summer Camp season has come to a close, AYF Camp would like to thank all of the volunteers, campers and community for their continued support in making this summer such a success and hopes to see everyone back next year.
Since 1977, AYF Camp has offered a genuinely rewarding experience, by serving as a place for Armenian youth to make new friends and memories for a lifetime. AYF Camp is the largest and oldest summer camp program in the Western United States focusing on Armenian culture and heritage. For more information, and sign up for our newsletter to receive news and updates on programs and events, visit our website.