ALEXANDRIA, VA–What better way to conclude a year then by holding the highest and most influential meeting of your organization? Well, that’s exactly what 35 elected delegates from AYF chapters throughout the eastern United States did this holiday season in Alexandria, VA, when they attended the 2008 AYF-YOARF Senior Convention, hosted by the Washington, DC “Ani” Chapter. These AYF members came together from December 26-30 to evaluate the accomplishmen’s and shortcomings of the previous year, debate the key issues facing the organization, and set the course for the AYF’s activities in 2009.
Some of the key issues focused on by the convention included improving the efficiency of centralized committees, ensuring the proper conduct of athletes at AYF sporting events, instituting a formal education program for members, and setting consistent requiremen’s for those seeking to participate in AYF Senior Olympics. There was also a great deal of discussion regarding Camp Haiastan and the need to improve AYF involvement in its successful operation.
In its evaluation of 2008, the convention lauded the success of Junior Seminar, which showed great improvement over previous years. Delegates expressed their hope that this trend would continue into 2009 and beyond. There was also a very positive evaluation of the 75th anniversary celebration which was organized by the Central Executive. The convention was very pleased with the event’s overall execution and emphasis on AYF alumni and history.
Reflecting upon these assessmen’s and the challenges that lay ahead, AYF Central Executive Chairman Anthony Deese had the following to say: “The overwhelming support from AYF alumni on the 75th demonstrated to our membership how deeply our community cares for and needs the AYF. I hope this will further motivate our membership to work toward the AYF’s goals in 2009 and continue to strengthen local chapters.”
The seriousness and sincerity of the delegates helped ensure a very productive five days. Many of the newer delegates, who were attending convention for the first time, were impressed by the discipline and gravity of the proceedings. “I have been an AYF member since I was 10 years old,” said Sosy Tatarian of the Washington “Ani” Chapter, “but this was the first time I realized that the AYF is a truly bona fide organization. It was amazing to see how everything worked and how everything is run. I felt honored to be able to discuss and vote on issues that would impact the organization.”
Other, more seasoned veterans with previous convention experience were pleased to see the younger members showing up and making their voice heard. “The mix of younger members, 17-19 year old, and older members, 25-27 year old, was wonderful to see,” said Mark Torossian of the New Jersey “Arsen” Chapter. “This year there were a lot of younger members which is proving that they are starting to care a lot more about the organization and want to make changes.”
After successfully completing its various agenda items, the convention concluded with the election of the 2009 AYF-YOARF Central Executive. The following members were elected to this year’s CE: Anthony Deese of Philadelphia, Lauren Da Silva of Greater Boston, Phil Nigon of Philadelphia, Knar Mesrobian of New Jersey, Ani Saryan of New Jersey, Antranig Avedissian of Boston, and Ari Janessian, also from Boston. This seven-person team will serve as the supreme administrative and representative body for the AYF-YOARF Eastern Region in 2009.