WATERTOWN, Mass.—It is no secret that the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) has and always will support the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Camp Haiastan in its endeavors. The fact is that the ARS has been involved in the camp from its inception. Many ARS members were past campers or counselors at Camp Haiastan, and most have sent their children to camp.
The ARS follows important tenets of its bylaws by providing and supporting the Armenian language, identity, cultural, and educational needs of the communities it serves, and each year it renews its commitment to AYF Camp Haiastan.
Throughout the years, a liaison from the ARS of Eastern U.S. Board has been part of the camp board in order to communicate how the ARS can assist the camp in current programs and special projects. She participates in meetings and brings and takes new thoughts and ideas that keep the ARS and Camp Haiastan connected.
During the camp’s renewal and expansion project, resolutions at the annual ARS Eastern U.S. Convention were passed for several years encouraging chapters to raise funds to improve the facilities at camp. Most chapters participated in that effort and generously supported it. In addition, every year, the ARS of Eastern U.S. and its chapters offer camperships to provide opportunities for many youngsters who might not otherwise be able to go to camp.
A program of special interest to the ARS is the camp’s Armenian program. Several years ago, a group of dedicated former campers produced a workbook for campers to use. The ARS of Eastern U.S. happily financed it and has had it reproduced over the years through the generosity of the Albert and Queenie Bagian educational fund. This year, after much discussion and debate, it was decided that the workbooks were underutilized; therefore, it was decided to purchase ANEC’s new Armenian conversation booklets, Let’s Chat, in which the ARS of Eastern U.S., again through the Bagian fund, provided 250 copies to camp for use this summer.
Through communications with Camp Director Digeen Sarine Adishian, the ARS has learned that the campers have used this booklet in several of its activities. According to Digeen Sarine, “it’s been a positive addition to our Armenian program.” Last, but not least, a special PowerPoint presentation was given by ungerouhi Heather Krafian during camp lecture nights, during which she presented campers on the many programs and projects that the ARS offers.
The ARS Eastern U.S. and its 32 chapters are proud supporters of AYF Camp Haiastan and appreciate all the assistance that the communities it serves in turn provide to the ARS.
The Armenian Relief Society, founded in 1910, is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.