Camp Zavarian: A Home Away From Home

LA CRESCENTA–Camp Zavarian, perched in the foothills of the Crescenta Valley, has been a home away from home for dozens of local Armenian kids providing them with a safe environment where they can play, and learn during the summer.

The day camp, established by the ARF Zavarian Gomideh, is more than just a place to bring your kids for baby sitting. Since its door’s opened on June 30, Camp Zavarian has been vibrant and full of activity. In addition to swimming and playing games, the campers learn to cook Armenian dishes, practice arts and crafts, and act in traditional Armenian plays. Psychotherapist Nora Chitiian-Keleshian helps campers in developing their social skills, while Mihran Aghvinian of Hye Kach Do helps with their self esteem through martial arts classes. Every Friday, special guests from the community visit the camp to speak to the kids about various issues, ranging from Armenian history and culture, to life growing up as an Armenian in America.

"Parents have often asked that we create a program to educate and entertain children in the summer months," said Mike Keleshian, the camp’s executive director. "Our new summer day-camp program with its rich cultural and educational program is a fulfillment of our community’s requests."

"As an organization this is just one of the ways with which we cater to the needs of our community," he said, adding the Crescenta Valley Armenian Center exists to serve the community’s needs.

The day-camp, which offers extended hours for working parents, is open every weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. under the direction of Arpi Dabbaghian, an experienced and skilled educator with decades of experience dealing with children. The camp is staffed with a licensed lifeguard and has its own cook, who has included Armenian dishes to the menu.

"As a parent, every summer we would be on the lookout for a well managed summer day camp where our children could be entertained with a culturally rich program," said Rosetta Rajoyan. "Now, thanks to the Crescenta Valley Armenian Center Summer Day-Camp, my children will have fun in a safe and friendly environment."

"We have tried to make learning fun for the kids by teaching them about our culture through the various activities they enjoy doing during the day," Dabbaghian said."They are indirectly being acquainted with Armenian culture when they sing Armenian songs, act out Armenian plays, learn to cook Armenian food, and make Armenian related symbols during arts and crafts."

Camp Zavarian will continue operating through August 29. For More information about the camp, please call the camp’s executive director at (818) 653-1735 or visit online at


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