• Hratch and Suzanne Toufayan (3rd & 4th from left) with their children Greg (2nd from left), Kristine (3rd from right) and Karen (2nd from right) and their respective families.

July 18, 2013 | Press Releases

Toufayan Family Donates New Pavilion at AGBU Camp Nubar

$75,000 Gift in Honor of Camp’s 50th Anniversary

“Camp Nubar is a place that helped us grow and mature in our Armenian identity. As a result, it gives us great pleasure to build a pavilion in honor of our parents, since they encouraged us to go to camp. We are also happy that our children will have the opportunity to enjoy it and be proud to have their grandparents’ names on it.”  Kristine Toufayan

The children of Hratch (Harry) and Suzanne Toufayan – Greg, Karen and Kristine – are all alumni of AGBU Camp Nubar, and share several cherished memories of their time spent at camp. Greg (86-87) learned to canoe on the Delaware River, which, along with other outdoor camp activities, helped shape his love for the outdoors. Karen (85- 86) recalled that Camp Nubar allowed her to experience the uniqueness of her Armenian heritage and learn the value of friendship. Kristine (85-86) felt simply that her two years there were some of her best summers ever.

When Camp Nubar announced plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the three Toufayan siblings understood the value of paying tribute to both the camp and their parents, who have been longtime benefactors of AGBU, the Armenian Church and community-at-large. Each has donated $25,000 for a combined gift of $75,000 to fund the building of the Hratch & Suzanne Toufayan Pavilion. The completely new structure will serve as an all-purpose unit where campers can participate in classes and activities “rain or shine.”

Naming the facility in honor of their parents was a natural choice. “Over the years, my dad and mom spent a lot of their time, energy, and resources to ensure that my brother, sister and I have always been immersed in Armenian schools, churches, and camps, and felt enriched by our Armenian culture,” said Karen.

They all had such positive experiences at Camp Nubar that Karen’s and Kristine’s children attend today. “Greg’s children are not yet old enough,” Kristine noted. “The friendships that I made there are some of my closest and dearest friends. Now, with those same friends, we are sending our kids to Camp Nubar and they are in the same cabins making memories that will last a lifetime.”

For the past five decades, the camp has earned a renowned reputation among Armenian families all over the world as a safe haven for their children to enjoy the leisurely summer months in a fun, structured and interactive environment. Karen reinforced that fact by saying, “That’s why our family is especially grateful to Camp Nubar. It has personally helped us – and now our kids – fully embrace our rich Armenian culture on our own terms. And when campers reflect on their own perspectives and experiences over time, the tradition continues to thrive and grow as it is transmitted to the next generation.”

Campers have diverse activities available to them. They play basketball, soccer, tennis and volleyball; make pottery, ceramics and other crafts; take horseback riding and photography lessons; and go canoeing, fishing, hiking, rowing and swimming. Additionally, all campers take Armenian language and history lessons.  

“Going to Camp Nubar definitely strengthened my Armenian identity,” said Kristine.  “Living for two to four weeks at a time with just Armenians has that special connection you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else:  Divine Liturgy every Sunday in the woods, Armenian meals, Armenian language and dance.  These are just a few of the activities that are unique to camp.  Some of the important things I learned were how to live with others, respect each other, and be independent and responsible for myself.” 

Greg remarked, “The hard work and dedication of our parents to their children, the family business, and the Armenian nation have all brought forth the blessings we have. Above all, they set the example for us to give back.”

“Perhaps this is why we felt that one of the best ways to honor and give thanks to our parents is by giving a donation to Camp Nubar for its 50th anniversary – so that this wonderful institution can continue to encourage Armenian children to be proud of their heritage,” added Karen. 

AGBU Camp Nubar will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with events in New York City on July 26 and on the campgrounds on July 28, 2013, with attendees expected from many corners of the world. Donations to AGBU Camp Nubar’s 50th Anniversary campaign can be made here: http://campnubar.org/50.

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.

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