2017 AYF Olympics: Hospitable

2017 Armenian Youth Federation Senior Olympic Games, Hosted by the AYF-YOARF Racine “Armen Garo” Chapter, to Take Place in Downtown Milwaukee

Hospitable. Definition: friendly and welcoming to strangers or guests.

This year’s Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Olympic Games are here in Downtown Milwaukee and hosted once again by the AYF-YOARF Racine “Armen Garo” chapter, Aug. 31-Sept 4.

That sums it up pretty well. Wisconsin hospitality combined with Armenian hospitality was the key component to the first Downtown Milwaukee Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Olympic Games, as it is often referred to as one of the best Olympics ever. Hospitality will be the key to another successful Olympics this Labor Day Weekend.

Why are we so hospitable?

Living in a less crowded environment has a lot to do with it. It is a small world here, so there’s a good chance that you will see the stranger walking opposite you again, so we smile and say hello the first time we see them. Maintaining a kind and respectful demeanor is critical in our small world where we rely on each other to pull together when needed.

A less crowded environment lends itself to being a less hectic environment, but so does our Wisconsin composure. That composure allows us to enjoy the good times and endure the bad times (especially our winters) with the same easy going, calm demeanor and a confidence that things will work themselves out. Good health, family, friends, community, and lending a helping hand are more important than running yourself ragged searching for treasure. We work to live… We don’t live to work!

Add Armenian hospitality to an already hospitable environment and you get Hospitable 5.0. Due to our small size and relative isolation from mainstream Armenian-American life, our local community goes out of its way to welcome out-of-town guests. Visitors are fed, feted, and made part of the family during their entire stay, making a visit to Racine a memorable experience. Hospitality is Racine’s greatest attribute and it comes from being a smaller community and not taking anything Armenian, great or small, for granted. Less is more.

This is why Racine has an active AYF chapter, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) gomideh and Armenian National Committee (ANC), Armenian Relief Society (ARS) chapter, and a church with a full-time priest. It’s why Racine has…

…hosted the AYF National Athletic Tournament (NAT) twice, including the first ever NATs in 1987; the AYF Midwest Junior Olympics every three to four years; the AYF Senior Olympic Games in 2006; three AYF Conventions since 1988; and the ARS Regional Convention in in 2005.

…obtained a State resolution designating April 24 of every year as a Wisconsin Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide as well as a State resolution designating April 24, 2015 as a Wisconsin Day of Remembrance of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, organized an annual Armenian Genocide commemoration at the Wisconsin State Capitol since 2001, and exhibited Armenian Genocide curricula at the annual Wisconsin Council of Social Studies teachers conference since 2005.

…hosted lectures featuring the likes of Dr. Richard Hovanessian, Dr. Henry Theriault, Dr. Robert Krikorian and screenings of the films Screamers with director Carla Garapedian, Orphans of the Genocide with director Bared Maronian, and, soon, Women of 1915 also with director Bared Maronian, in front of Armenian audiences, non-Armenian audiences, and on college campuses.

…contributed to every initiative including Javakhk, Camp Javakhk, Artsakh, Kashatagh, Arajamugh, ARS Amanor Giving, the All Armenia Fund Telethon, Syrian-Armenian Relief. and more.

…it’s also why the Racine community has hosted the most unique Armenian picnic or Madagh on the last Sunday of June every year since 1937.

For more information about the 2017 AYF Olympics, stay tuned to this column or go to,, or

“Oor eh? Hos eh!”

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