Once again, it is that time of year—time for AYF Summer Camp.
Beginning on July 5, more than 700 campers will converge onto AYF Camp Big Pines for the first of seven full-week summer sessions. Armenian youth between the ages of eight and seventeen will have the chance to make new friends, enjoy the outdoors, learn about their culture, and participate in a wide array of games and activities.
To prepare for the arrival of these young campers, members of the AYF teamed up with the Camp Board on June 25-27 for a special work weekend aimed at renovating and setting up the campground.
“Contributing our time and service in any way we can to maintain and beautify AYF Camp helps make the campers’ experience better and better every year,” said Emineh Noravian, a member of the AYF Camp Board which organized the weekend. “All the building, painting, and cleaning we do during the work weekends help our Summer Camp program run smoothly.”
Over 30 volunteers came together and successfully revitalized the entire campground. Some of the work that was carried out included a new paintjob for the lodge and staff cabin, the construction of a new storage room near the swimming pool, and the organization of supplies and facilities for use in the summer. The camp was also entirely cleared of brush, debris and shrubbery.
“It was really rewarding to see the condition camp was in when we got there and the visible improvements we were able to make through our work,” said Patil Aslanian, a member of the West Valley “Sardarabad” Chapter who participated in the work weekend. “Within less than 48 hours, camp received a face lift.”
Also lending a hand to the volunteer effort was AYF Central Executive Chair Arek Santikian. He explained the importance of AYF Camp in the lives of the volunteers that participated saying, “We view AYF Camp as our home and, since it is such a special place for us, it’s our duty to have these weekends in order to preserve it.”
Similar work weekends occur several times throughout the year, with volunteers from throughout the region dedicating their time and labor to make sure AYF Camp is constantly being improved and upgraded.
“Volunteering at work weekends shows you genuinely care about the camp,” said Anya Agopian, a member of both the AYF Central Executive and Camp Board. “Everyone who came up wanted to make sure that camp was ready and looked good for the kids attending this summer. We want to be proud of our campground so we put in the effort to make sure we can be.”
Since 2006, the AYF Camp Board has committed itself to a seven-year renovation plan aimed at modernizing and expanding the facilities of the campground. A total of 13 structures have already been completely upgraded, along with all of the restroom facilities and the swimming pool. These work weekends, along with the community’s generous support, play an integral part in the continued growth of AYF Camp as the largest and most prestigious Armenian summer program in the Western US.
For more information about AYF Camp, visit www.AYFcamp.org.