LOS ANGELES—The energy, ideas, intrigue and hardball politics of a congressional election have been taking center stage every week this summer at AYF Camp Big Pines in Wrightwood, California. Hundreds of smart and motivated campers have been getting a first rate education in how America’s democracy works thanks to the efforts of the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region, which has been conducting mock congressional elections during every camping session this year.
“To win the future, we need to invest in it,” remarked ANCA-WR Executive Director William Bairamian who has been making the 150-mile roundtrip to Wrightwood every week to educate a new generation of Armenian Americans on how a congressional election is run. The mock election involves a competitive election between three political parties, an active press corps and an army of lobbyists who try to influence the policy positions of the parties and their chosen congressional candidates. At the conclusion of a fast and furious campaign season the campers and counselors are all handed ballots, where they get to vote and effectively decide the winning candidate – illustrating in a fun and informative way the power of a free and fair election.
“The success of the mock congressional elections at AYF Camp is a credit to the campers and their dedicated counselors,” added Bairamian. “Every week I continue to be impressed by the power of the ideas these future leaders bring to our mock congressional election. For example, I have been very impressed by then many young campers who
have been chosen as congressional candidates and have delivered outstanding speeches. These remarks are rich in content and filled with a spirit of public service that makes me confident that the best days of the Armenian Cause are ahead of us,” continued Bairamian.
Tamar Baboujian, Executive Director of AYF Camp, has been thoroughly pleased with the ANCA’s presentations at Camp. “Campers and counselors always enjoy the ANCA exercise because it’s not only educational, it’s also fun. Everyone is running around but they’re actively engaged in a political process – they’re not just listening to a lecture about how politics works, they are seeing it and being immersed in it firsthand,” said Baboujian.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.