WRIGHTWOOD, Calif.—AYF Camp was at capacity over the weekend of March 24-26 as more than 130 members of the Armenian Youth Federation Juniors gathered for their annual AYF Juniors Winter Getaway.
“Each year we select a slogan for our Winter Getaway to serve as the theme for the weekend. This year, our slogan was “Hzor Badanee, Hzor Hayrenik” said Sylva Khayalian, a member of the AYF Juniors Central Council (JCC) and lead organizer of the camp. “For the last several years, the JCC has worked with our chapter directors to create programs that help develop our members into future leaders, who achieve academic excellence and pursue ambitious goals while doing their part to secure a prosperous homeland.”
Joined by some thirty AYF Seniors, who volunteered as counselors, the campers enjoyed classic AYF Camp activities, such as Steal the Bacon, Wacky Olympics and Butt Volleyball, alongside captivating cabin discussions and educational presentations; all under the leadership of camp Co-Directors Knar Kitabjian and Stepan Boyajian.
“It was truly an enjoyable experience to spend the weekend among the future leaders of the Armenian people – our youth,” said Boyajian. “I believe it was just as much of a learning experience for me as it was for them.”
ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian provided an enlightening and engaging educational presentation about the role of the AYF Juniors in developing a prosperous nation. Coupled with a slide show presentation by Carnie Armenian about Javakhk, the campers were able to draw a clear connection between themselves and their role in the development of a prosperous homeland.
“From a parent’s perspective, I must commend the noticeable enhancements made within the AYF Juniors organization,” said Dr. Lisa Manuelian. “Just the fact that the JCC made the difficult decision of postponing the previously scheduled camp weekend due to inclement weather shows that they kept the well being of our children as a top priority, no matter the hardship it caused them. This, along with their professional approach to communicating with parents, is a testament to their sensitivity to the needs of members and their parents alike.”
Saturday night, after the conclusion of the day’s agenda, campers were delighted by the surprise visit paid by well-known community artist Tro Krikorian, who joined the juniors in singing patriotic and revolutionary Armenian songs.
“As a first time co-director, everything came full circle for me, as the enthusiasm that I had many years ago as an AYF Junior attending the very same getaway at the very same location, was now emulating from the campers throughout the weekend,” said camp co-director Knar Kitabjian. “The dedication of the juniors that continues until today will only bring greatness to our organization and our Homeland. I am humbled to have been a part of this weekend and to have spent time with our next generation of activists. I have no doubt that our future is bright.”
“We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the AYF Seniors counselors, AYF Camp Management Board, the getaway directors, our volunteer EMT, our juniors, their parents, our chapter directors, our donors, Raffi Hamparian, Carnie Armenian and Tro Krikorian – each for doing their part in making the 2017 AYF Juniors Winter Getaway a success,” said AYF JCC Chairperson Saro Shirinian.