AYF Members Encouraged to ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’
PROSPECT, Pa.—Well, here we have another AYF Junior Seminar in the books. Now in its 38th year, more than 300 AYFers, both Juniors and Seniors, continue to gather to spend a weekend with their fellow AYF members to forge new friendships, learn about prominent Armenian issues, and preserve the AYF spirit.
This year’s Junior Seminar once again took place at Camp Lutherlyn in Prospect. For 21 years, the AYF has utilized the camp grounds—at a location convenient for all chapter members traveling from various points on the East Coast.
Participants were enlightened on a number of events and issues taking place in Armenia and the diaspora. This year’s presenters were AYF alumni, ANC activists, or current AYF members, and included Ivan Ardhaljian (Javakhk), Shari Melkonian (Western Armenia), Zohrab Khaligian (AYF), Ara Surenian (Beyond Recognition), Antranig Kasbarian (Artsakh), George Aghjayan (Turkish Apology Campaign), Ara Chalian (Grassroots), Tamar Kanarian (AYF History and Convention), Karine Birazian (Soccer Politics), Anny Deirmenjian (Genocide in the Media), and Josh Tevekelian (Leader-in-Training Program).
Over the course of the weekend, Juniors had the opportunity to participate in free-time activities to catch up with old friends while meeting new ones. One of the many highlights of the weekend included the Saturday night activity, where each age group was given a separate program. Members in the younger group were provided with lessons on traditional Armenian dances, while the middle group enjoyed an evening by the bonfire singing patriotic (heghapokhagan) songs. Finally, the older group campers were busy creating public service announcements (PSA) focused on genocide recognition. Justin Kaladjian of the New York “Hyortik” Chapter conducted video shoots of cabins presenting their PSAs (which will soon be available for viewing on YouTube).
“Junior Seminar was a huge success,” said Shant Aghajanian, a member of the 2009 Junior Seminar Committee. “I think this year was very special due to the focus the committee put in having the best lectures possible for the kids. There were several occasions where the campers expressed to the committee members how much they enjoyed the lectures.”
The weekend concluded with Sunday night’s dance and award presentations by the Central Junior Council. The following morning witnessed many heartfelt goodbyes and “See ya at Olympics.”
Till next year!