Special to the Armenian Weekly
Javakhk, a place so close to home and dear to heart, that it is impossible to put our passion for these beautiful lands and generous people into words. As participants of Camp Javakhk, we immediately felt a part of Javakhk—their families, their agoumps, communities, churches, and homes—as they do us.
For the sixth consecutive year, counselors will visit Javakhk day camps in four towns, where we teach basic health, Armenian history and current events, and advanced lessons in English; conduct arts and crafts activities; host friendly games and competitions; and sing and dance. Most important, though, is that we create bonds with every generation of Armenians we encounter during our time there.
Our experience in Javakhk extends far beyond the 500+ smiling faces running toward us, arms open wide, at camp every day. During camp, we give as much as possible to the youth of Javakhk, while in the evenings they do the same to us by inviting Camp Javakhk counselors to family dinners, taking us on hikes in the rolling mountains to hidden churches, and enjoying khorovadz by the lake with our new friends with whom we have so much in common. Should one fall in the river, they are ready to invite us in to dry off and lend a warm set of clothes, tell our fortune in a coffee cup, even teach us how to milk a cow or ride a horse.
Thousands of miles from what we know as home, when in Javakhk we could not feel more at home.
Armenian pride runs rampant through the fabric of Javakhk: the children playing in front of our local agoumps, our colorful dances celebrated with passion, Vahan Derian’s poems not merely recited but chanted by the youth, traditions passed down for generations and also shared with diasporans who embrace the beauty and history of Javakhk and our people… We could have never imagined such a place that could immediately steal a part of our hearts.
Below is a video of one of the many talented campers participating in this year’s Camp Javakhk. Meet a Camp Javakhk regular, Raffi from Ninotsminda:
It is no secret that Armenians living in Javakhk are in an uphill battle to sustain their culture and to continue to occupy their rightful lands; that battle is not an internal one, with themselves, but with the conditions forced on them. Armenian-populated territories in Georgia face poor educational opportunities, lack of access to health care, inaccessible roads during harsh weather, hot water and gas that are cut off from Armenian areas in order to supply Georgian-populated towns, unequal employment opportunities… The list goes on.
However, despite those difficulties and struggles, the fight of the Armenian of Javakhk is just, and we cannot allow it to be waged alone.
On behalf of all past, present, and future Camp Javakhk counselors, we urge you to make a donation to this righteous cause, to ensure yet another year of smiling campers who interact with and learn from our counselors. Your donation will provide meals to our campers (which they would usually go without), a T-shirt to remember their experiences by, educational materials, and arts and crafts activities supplies.
It’s only $50 to sponsor a camper; however, if you sponsor two campers, for $100, you will receive an original Camp Javakhk T-shirt along with a written thank-you card from a camper.
Two donation options:
Be sure to follow our adventures at Camp Javakhk on social media:
Carnie Armenian is a member of the 2017 Camp Javakhk committee