LOS ANGELES–Nestled at an elevation of over 5,000 feet and just over 77 miles from downtown Los Angeles, sits the Armenian Youth Federation’s Summer Camp, a haven for hundreds of Armenian American kids every year. This year this special camp has partnered with the Armenian National Committee – Western Region (ANC-WR) to teach campers how America’s democratic system of government works and the value of Armenian Americans being actively involved in all levels of government. At each of the week-long sessions this summer, the ANC-WR has provided a speaker to talk about issues related to the Armenian Cause.
"Educating young Armenian Americans about how our democracy works is an ANC-WR priority," remarked ANC-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian after returning from a trip to AYF Summer Camp. "These young Armenian Americans, many of them AYF members, are intelligent and motivated to learn more about how they can be involved in the Armenian Cause. "I am proud that the ANC-WR is giving these kids the tools they need to be active and engaged in public affairs."
In a series of weekly presentations at AYF Summer Camp, ANC-WR representatives have touched on both the freedom of speech and assembly that are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and how these rights relate to the Armenian Cause. The ANC-WR has also emphasized the need for the youth in our community to "seize the day" in creating positive change and progress in their respective communities. In one presentation to the campers, the ANC-WR conducted a mock presidential election. In this exercise, campers energetically created political parties, crafted party platforms, heard speeches from the candidates, and ultimately voted for one of four presidential candidates.
"We think it is natural for AYF Camp Big Pines to partner with the Armenian National Committee to provide educationals to our campers, remarked Camp Representative Ara Malakian. "Having the campers learn more about American democracy is a good thing. We are also pleased that our kids are learning from the ANC-WR how they can make a positive difference on key issues, like the Armenian Genocide and building better and stronger ties between America and Armenia," added Camp Chairman Aram Madenlian.
Located in the Angeles National Forest near the city of Wrightwood, AYF Summer Camp is 11.5 acres of beautiful forestland with facilities to accommodate up to 120 campers each week. The Armenian Youth Federation Summer Camp was established in 1977 and provides a great atmosphere for young Armenia’s between the ages of eight and seventeen to make new friends, become better acquainted with Armenian history and culture, and participate in a wide array of athletic activities. Each year, Armenian youth from all over the United States and Canada make AYF Summer Camp an integral part of their summer agenda.