Young Armenians in Bulgaria, France, Lebanon and the United States enjoyed a fun-filled summer
Through AGBU’s diverse array of programs in the diaspora, Armenian youth from all over the world had the chance to establish lasting friendships, learn new skills and expand their horizons.
This year, Camp Nubar, located in the Catskill Mountains of New York, welcomed over 300 campers and counselors from Armenia, Belgium, Canada, France, Lebanon, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and across the United States for its fifty-second season. Along with traditional camp activities, such as archery, canoeing, horseback riding, photography, swimming and tennis, campers also learned more about their heritage with Armenian dance classes. This summer, Camp Nubar also introduced a hockey league, which became an instant favorite among the campers.
“Camp Nubar has so much to offer, from crafts to water sports, there are so many new things to learn and experience here,” said camper Daniel Basmajian. 2015 saw the grand opening of the Harry and Suzanne Toufayan Pavilion, a new center used for daily activities, mass and dances as well as the Camp Talent Show and Lipsync.
Colonie de Vacances
AGBU France held the thirty-second season of its Colonie de Vacances in the mountains of Haute-Savoie. This year, for three weeks in July, about 80 children from Armenia, France, the Island of Réunion, Russia, Switzerland and the United States were joined by their shared cultural heritage with traditional songs and dances along with sports and visual arts. There were also a host of outdoor activities, including hiking, rafting and horseback riding.
“100 years after the genocide, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren of the survivors came together at the camp to create a little Armenia in the heart of Haute-Savoie,” said Herminé Duzian, director of the camp. Duzian also notes that 90% of the counselors are former campers themselves. “Who is in a better position than former campers to spread the values of the camp as they had been transmitted to them in the past? It’s this continuity that allows our camp to exist.”
Demirdjian Summer Day Camp
This year, the AGBU Demirdjian Center Summer Camp set a record, welcoming more than 180 campers both from Lebanon and oversees. AGBU Lebanon wrapped up the Demirdjian Summer Camp with its end-of-season fiesta during which the students performed this year’s theme—The Phoenix—through the Armenian songs, poems, and dances that they learned. The campers ended the fiesta with the traditional collective Armenian dance.
During the fiesta, the Beirut Marathon Association (BMA) awarded the camp volunteers with certificates in honor of their hard work in the Faqra Club Race organized by the BMA and the My School Pulse organization.
Camp HayLer (Plovdiv, Bulgaria)
AGBU Camp HayLer (Plovdiv) celebrated a fourth summer full of exciting programs for the Bulgarian Armenian community. The camp was attended by 65 children, ages five to eighteen, who hailed from cities and towns across Bulgaria as well as from Russia and the United Kingdom.
In between hikes in the Pirin Mountains, talent shows and arts and crafts classes, the campers participated in a meeting with the chairman of the AGBU Plovdiv chapter Roupen Chavoushian and a lecture series led by Father Hrach Muradyan. They also enjoyed the Camp Olympic Games as well as Armenian and Bulgarian comedic productions of Romeo and Juliet. During the events, the campers wore specially made t-shirts and hats with the HayLer logo.
Camp HayLer (Sofia, Bulgaria)
At AGBU Camp HayLer (Sofia), thirty-eight campers, ages seven to seventeen, from Sofia, Russe, Plovdiv, Varna and Bucharest, Romania enjoyed many outdoor activities, horseback riding and Olympic Games at the campsite in Nezabravka Park. They also learned Armenian songs and dances and welcomed special guests, such as Nelly Matevossian, counselor at the Armenian Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Bulgaria and Arsen Mikayelian, the consul at the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Romania, accompanied by the chairwoman of the AGBU Sofia chapter Sonia Avakian-Bedrossian.
Campers were supervised by a team of professional counselors, teachers and sport coaches who made sure that each day at camp was filled with interesting games, activities, handmade artwork and adventures. This year, a Camp HayLer anthem was introduced and children were given the option of participating in morning yoga, a ropes course, treasure hunts and walks in the mountain with guitar performances and songs around the camp fire in the evenings. The camp ended with a final concert with Armenian songs and dances.
The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world’s largest non-profit
organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational,
cultural and humanitarian programs. Each year, AGBU is committed to making
a difference in the lives of 500,000 people across Armenia, Artsakh and the
Armenian diaspora. Since 1906, AGBU has remained true to one overarching
goal: to create a foundation for the prosperity of all Armenians.
To learn more visit www.agbu.org.