BY GORUNE GELOIAN
The Orange County community bonding weekend at A.Y.F. camp is more than just a winter gathering in the mountains. What makes the experience both memorable and valuable is the unique mix of participants from the A.R.F. Armen Karo Gomideh, A.Y.F. Ashod Yergat Chapter, Aghpiur Serop A.Y.F. Juniors Chapter and other key hamagir members of the Orange County community.
During the weekend getaway, we had many recreational activities to bring everyone together. For example, on Saturday morning, we divided up into two teams and played a friendly game of dodge ball in ankle deep snow. As I looked around, I realized that not only was every single person present at camp taking part in the game, but we were all bonding and having a good time as we laughed our way through two rounds of the game.
The weekend included two informative educationals. The first was delivered by A.Y.F. members and summarized the A.Y.F. Western Region’s Youth Corps, With Our Soldiers, Divest Turkey and We Are Gyumri programs and campaigns. The second was delivered by Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian school principal Sanan Shirinian, focusing on the topic of Armenian Genocide Reparations. Both educationals turned into lively discussions that elicited the participation of attendees of all ages.
Some of my favorite memories from these weekends tend to come from the Saturday night festivities, and this weekend was no exception. We kicked things off with Wacky Olympics. Nothing compares to watching people rushing to wrap their team member in as much toilet paper as possible or attempting to be the first to feed their partner a cup of chocolate pudding while blindfolded. These “wacky” games may sound silly, but they’re a fun approach towards teambuilding exercises.
It takes a lot of coordination and effort to organize these weekends and the Saturday night khrakhjank is an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labor. While some of us were outside cooking kebabs with our ungers in the freezing temperatures others were inside playing an impromptu game of indoor soccer, playing UNO, belote or tavli. The evening even involved some traditional Armenian dancing and singing of revolutionary songs by the fire.
These may seem like small things, but the community bonding weekend truly serves to unite the A.R.F., A.Y.F. and A.Y.F. Juniors members as one, and thus strengthens our community. We may all head up to camp as fellow members of the Orange County Armenian community but we leave as brothers, sisters and ungers.