GLENDALE–AYF Camp’s summer 2015 session has officially come to a close. This summer was the largest in the camp’s history, with nearly 1000 campers and staff participating in the summer camp program.
A new online registration system was implemented this summer for both campers and counselors in order to better streamline the experience. Enrollment began on February 15th and proved to be a success. Within thirteen days one of the weeks sold out and within two months four more weeks sold out resulting in the most sold out weeks in one summer in the camp’s history.
“We’re really excited that we were able to provide the great AYF Summer Camp experience to such a large number of campers. These numbers further prove to us that the program we are offering the campers is something that they want to come back to experience year after year,“ said AYF Camp Management Board member Anya Agopian.
Kicking off the summer was “Get to know AYF Camp”, an abridged camp session specifically designed for first-time campers ages seven to eleven. The purpose was to introduce campers to the summer camp experience and help ease the transition to attending the week-long sessions in the future. The first week was successful making this year the highest number of campers in attendance.
“The 1st week program eased anxieties for first time campers as well as many parents. It was truly a success,” stated AYF Camp Management Board Chairman, Aram Madenlian.
Throughout the summer, campers participated in the traditional AYF Camp activities such as arts and crafts and canoeing, as well as rock climbing, slack line and air soft. Campers also listened to educationals covering topics including “Armenian Instruments and Music Appreciation” by Arick Gevorkian, “Genocide Centennial” by Berj Parseghian and “What Does it Mean to be Armenian in the U.S. Today? Homeland, Diaspora, and the Internet” by Talar Chahinian. Some of the weeks were also lucky enough to Skype with volunteers from the AYF Youth Corps program in Armenia, where campers engaged in conversations with the participants. These topics, along with educationals covering the Armenian Youth Federation and Armenian National Committee of America, engaged campers of all ages providing them with information on Armenian history and culture and ways to get involved in the Armenian community.
On Friday July 17, the fourth session of summer camp was evacuated due to a nearby brush fire which caused the week to end one day early. The AYF Camp Management Board, Camp Committee, Week 4 staff along with the support of the community worked together in order to safely and expeditiously evacuate the camp. Fortunately, the campground was safe and the fire was extinguished within 24 hours with the help of some heavy rain.
“I want to take a moment and commend all the staff with the amazing organization and coordination during the evacuations. Your quick thinking and preparedness is what helped us parents keep calm,” said Caroline Mesropian, a parent of Week 4 campers.
Since 1977, AYF Camp has offered a genuinely rewarding experience, by serving as a place for Armenian youth to make new friends and memories of a lifetime. AYF camp is the largest and oldest Summer Camp program in the Western United States, focusing on Armenian culture and heritage. Visit www.AYFCamp.org for more information and sign up for our newsletter to receive news and updates on programs and events.