FRANKLIN, Mass.—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Providence “Kristapor” gomideyutiun (ARF chapter) held its 10th annual panagoum (campout) at AYF Camp Haiastan over the Columbus Day Weekend, with 20 members in attendance. The weekend schedule included discussions on relevant topics, a time to reflect on how we as an organization are doing, and an opportunity to bond.
The members began arriving on Friday night. There was time to unpack, unwind, and get ready for the busy weekend. The firepit was lit, songs were sung, jokes were told, and all enjoyed each other’s company on the hallowed grounds of Camp Haiastan.
Following breakfast on Saturday morning, a “Goal-Making” workshop was facilitated by four of the youngest members of the chapter: Nareh Mkrtschjan, Garo Tashian, Raffi Rachdouni, and Hrag Arakelian. Participants were split into three groups with the purpose of analyzing three different aspects of the chapter: youth, internal affairs, and external affairs. The members developed great ideas for the gomideh (local ARF executive body) while following SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-constrained) goal-making guidelines.
The Providence gomideyutiun was then presented with an update of the Armenian community in Syria by unger Khajag Mgrdichian from Boston. Unger Khajag provided detailed information regarding the current conditions in Syria and responded to questions from the Providence ungers (comrades—i.e., members).
Following a short break, gomideh chair unger Hagop Donoyan led the members in discussing ways to strengthen our sister organizations as well as our community. Discussion was followed by a team-building exercise that encouraged collaboration and creativity among the participants.
Dinner, which was prepared by unger Donoyan and enjoyed by all, was followed by an annual game of Jeopardy. The trivia game tested the teams’ knowledge in categories such as Armenian poetry, ARF history, and Armenian holidays.
The ungers then proceeded outside for a gathering by the fire pit, and once again enjoyed each other’s company by sharing stories, recalling memories, and telling jokes.
Sunday morning brought heavy rain, but the skies cleared a bit as the traditional Family Day was to begin. Ungers’ families arrived in early afternoon, and dinner was served shortly thereafter. Nearly 50 people gathered to partake in a delicious meal.
The Providence ARF works hard throughout the year, and this panagoum provides the ungers time to build camaraderie, reflect on their work, and ponder future activities. Not surprisingly, members look forward to this is annual tradition on the grounds of AYF Camp Haiastan year after year.