AYF Camp, located in the Angeles National Forest, hosted yet another successful summer camp season. This year, there were seven one-week sessions beginning on July 5, 2009 and continued through August 23, 2009. An astounding total of 750 campers and 150 counselors participated in this year’s camp program throughout the summer. The program consists of educationals focusing on Armenian history and Armenian issues relevant to today, along with a wide-range of activities including canoeing, arts and crafts, archery, rock climbing, singing, and competitive games.
The AYF Camp Board has been aggressively committed to upgrading and expanding the facilities of the campgrounds since 2006. As part of its seven year renovation plan, a total of 13 structures have been completely renovated along with all the restroom facilities and the pool over the past four years. A total of approximately $600,000 has been spent on these upgrades. These projects have been funded not only through fundraising efforts and camp proceeds, but also through the very generous donations provided by members throughout the community.
The AYF Camp Board hopes to continue fundraising and sponsorship efforts in order to have all structures completely renovated by 2013. The improvements and expansion of the facilities has lead to a direct increase in camper participation.
This past summer, with the additional construction of a cabin, three sessions were filled to the new maximum capacity of 150 campers each week. This is the largest amount of campers to attend a single session of camp since its inception. The Board is happy to announce that Mr. and Mrs. Vache Chadarevian, of Orange County, have graciously pledged to sponsor a newly renovated cabin in the amount of $20,000. Donations such as these motivate and inspire the many volunteers of the camp and will help the camps overall goal of complete renovation.
There are a total of three structures left to be renovated which are the Arts and Crafts Building, the Staff Cabin, and the Lodge. The camps next major project is the complete renovation of the Lodge as this is the area where campers spend most of their time. It is a multi-purpose structure that serves as a cafeteria and assembly hall for educationals, games, and dances. Architectural drawings have been rendered and the estimated renovation budget for this project is approximately $650,000. In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the Board will organize a major ‘kick-off’ fundraiser at Bagramian Hall on November 6, 2010 for this project.
Although the estimated budget for the Lodge renovation is considerable, the AYF Camp Board is confident that the community will get behind the project and raise the necessary funds. Additional sponsorship is also available for three cabins that have been recently renovated for $15,000 each. The Arts and Crafts building and Caretaker’s cabin are also available for $100,000 each.
The Board hopes to continue the momentum of the renovations and continue to attract more Armenian Youth to participate in AYF Camp.
The success of AYF Camp is largely due to the committed parents of the campers. If they did not believe in the Camp’s purpose and mission, attendance would not be growing from year to year. AYF Camp is a unique place where Armenian Youth congregate for a week at a time, make life-long friends, have fun and learn about their culture all at the same time. Campers are urged by staff to “make a difference”, whether that effort is in Scouts, Homenetmen Athletics, Student Bodies, AYF, Badanees, or any other form of community activism.
The message they are given is that a few people can initiate change and progress. It is the belief that AYF Camp is making a difference in the lives of the Armenian Youth that drives its volunteers to work as hard as they do. The AYF Camp Board, its Committee, and its Volunteers stand committed to furthering the cause of the Armenian People by educating its youth and providing them with a safe and fun environment while instilling in them a sense of responsibility and activism as Armenian Youth. The mission is invaluable and process truly gratifying.
AYF CAMP MANAGEMENT BOARD
Camp Photo Gallery