LOS ANGELES–In what became an afternoon of confused patience–an immense group of Armenian youth representing the Western region of the United States–departed for Armenia–via Frankfurt–in order to take part in two very distinct events.
The Armenian Youth Federation Youth Corps program along with some 102 members from various chapters of the Homenetmen Western Region–left Los Angeles International Airport for Yerevan.
The eleven Youth Corps participants–who will stay in Yerevan for only a few days before departing for the village of Ashan in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic–are part of a historic trip–as the program marks its fifth anniversary.
As the village of Ashan–as in past years–prepares to host the 11 Diasporan youth–it is also with great pride that this year’s participants will indeed reap the benefits of the program’s five year history. For the first time–Youth Corps participants will conduct a summer camp for youngsters in Karabakh at the camp site–which they have gradually helped rebuild over the last five years. Although numerous tasks remain to bring the old school-turned-camp site–which was ruined as a result of Azeri aggressions–to a perfect condition–Youth Corps participants will conduct camp–in addition to contributing to the completion of the camp site.
The Youth Corps group–in addition to their daily necessities–took with them numerous boxes of supplies–toys–clothing–books and other equipment to Armenia and then Karabakh.
This year’s Youth Corps participants included Hrag Yedalian–Harout Jarchafjian–Eric Davarhanian–Eric Tamrazian–Tamar Melkonian–Sylvia–Serabian–Dzia Vartabedian and Hratch Jaghasbanian. In addition Pilibos and Ferrahian Armenian Schools sponsored Christine Farajian and Michael Zadorian–respectively. A member of the AYF Eastern US region–Raffi Karagozian of Boston is also among the participants.
Dzia Vartabedian who has traveled with the Youth Corps group for each year of the program noted–"This year we will really become aware of what we have been a part of in Artsakh. It is the fruition of a lot of dreams–as well as the best response to a lot of cynicism."
The Homenetmen Western US delegation–boasting one of the largest delegations to the Homenetmen International Jamboree–will participate in two weeks of events–joining hundreds of other Homenetmen members from every corner of the world.
The Homenetmen International Jamboree–which takes place every four years–will convene for the second time in Armenia. On this the 80th anniversary of the organization–the Jamboree takes on particular significance–as it is for the first time that more than 750 members will converge onto the Homeland. The number of participants–a record–will indeed add to the experience of every individual present–as each delegation will bring with itself not only the proud spirit of Homenetmen–but also unique regional attributes which will make the Jamboree an important milestone in each member’s organizational career.
Jamboree participants will take part in educational–scouting–cultural and social events. In addition–during the first week of their visit–they will conduct a parade with all members participating. This will be the largest gathering of Diasporans in a program in Yerevan. Several excursions to historic points of interest are also planned.
Homenetmen participants–too–took with them more than 100 boxes and suitcases of gifts–daily necessities and other relevant material.
Delegation member Ani Khachatoorian of the Glendale "Ararat" Chapter noted–"I think being in Armenia in itself is historic–but when you add that aspect of the Jamboree to the pride that we feel as Homenetmen members–it’s safe to say that it will definitely be two weeks that will stay with us for a long time."
Due to a six-hour flight delay–all of the participants were able to interact–sleep–interact some more and then be bored–until they boarded their fight to Frankfurt.
At press time–news of the group’s arrival in Frankfurt was transmitted–and the connecting Armenian Airlines flight delayed its schedule to take this group of Diasporan youth home.