FRANKLIN, Mass. (A.W.)—On June 30, the AYF Camp Haiastan campers at teen session engaged in an emotional night. After laughing until their stomachs hurt during the camp lip sync battle, the campers had a small dance. The campers showed their true Armenian pride as they danced the Michigan Hop out onto the basketball courts despite the ensuing downpour. The rain really ignited their spirit when they started singing Armenian revolutionary songs. Every camper stood on the basketball courts singing with pride.
Diran Ardahaljian of Cabin 5 said, “Tonight was the proudest moment for me as, not only an Armenian, but also as a human being in general. Rushing out in the rain, raising flags in praise, and standing together arm in arm makes me feel incredible.” Each and every one of them, as well as every camper, felt pride and joy for being Armenian that night.
“Being Armenian is not about how well you speak, read, write, or sing. It’s about the red blood that flows through your veins,” said Sam Sagherian. This message resonated with everyone—staff and campers alike. Hampton Trout, another camper singing that night, said, “Even though my last name is Trout, even though I haven’t been to one day of Armenian school, and even though I can’t say one sentence in Armenian, tonight showed how powerful we are as a community and as a family. Tonight made me feel more at home than with my mom and dad.”
A few of the campers had similar feelings:
“Before tonight, I’ve never felt so unified, so proud, and so expressed in my culture. It’s something that is so meaningful to me, words can’t describe it.” – Joey Charchaflian
“One of the most powerful feelings I’ve ever felt. This special sense of unity that brings us together is like no other.” – Nareg Stepanian
“Tonight was probably one of the most emotional and moving nights of my life, being arm in arm with my friends and singing the songs was such a good feeling.” – Gregory Cormier
“This night was a perfect example of why I love being Armenian and love singing with the family I had around me. I will never forget this night.” – Armen Surenian
“Tonight was a surreal experience that could only be described as magical and powerful.” – Emin Abrahamian
This spirit and pride of being Armenian was high throughout the rest of the session and will continue to be for the rest of the summer and following summers.