By Aris Givelekian,
AYF-YOARF New York “Hyortik” Junior, Age 11
AYF Camp Haiastan is fun for everyone!
Kids ages 7-17 travel to this amazing camp from all over the States. Now that I have experienced Camp Haiastan I know why.
Camp Haiastan is the first Armenian camp in America. It was founded in 1951 and is located in Franklin, Mass. Uncas pond is part of this beautiful campus and where many activities take place. All the cabins are situated in a circle, which surround a courtyard. There are basketball courts, volleyball nets and the largest vinyl pool in New England!
While at Camp Haiastan, you learn more about our amazing Armenian culture. It is awesome to learn about our culture with fellow Armenian friends. But it’s not like your ordinary school day—you learn through songs, prayers, and engaging projects. The best thing is when you are in your groups you get to socialize with your friends while you are learning.
The activities offered by Camp Haiastan are where memories are made. There are so many fun activities it would be hard to list them all. Here are some of my favorites…
Traveling back in time to play a game of stickball, which is similar to baseball.
Another favorite is boating in Uncas pond. Boating in Uncas is endless fun! You can go canoeing, kayaking and paddle boating. I would recommend for you to go kayaking because it is so peaceful. I love being able to relax and enjoy myself.
Set in the woods, the adventure ropes course is a blast! You can swing from tires, balance on seesaws and work on ropes. The best part is you have your friends to help you. There are so many other fun activities like swimming, creative arts and lots of sports.
During my stay at Camp Haiastan I went on several field trips and there are planned activities every night of the week. Field trips include glow in the dark mini golf and a visit to the ice cream shop. Night activities vary and there is something for everyone to do. There are dances, movie nights, song nights, talent shows and more! My favorite was detective night. You get to move around the camp in search of clues about a certain topic.
You might think that all camp food is ordinary camp food, which is less than delicious, however, this is not the case at Camp Haiastan. Every day, the food is made fresh and there are tons of healthy options. There are so many choices everyone is always happy.
During the second week of camp, specifically Thursday Friday and Saturday, the Olympic Games are held. I loved this part of camp! Earlier in the week, your teams are announced. You play so many sports including soccer, hockey, kickball and more. It is a fun way to wrap up the week with a friendly competition.
While the camp is beautiful and the activities are aplenty, nothing beats the friendships formed by fellow Armenians. On the first day, you meet your cabin mates who may be strangers, but after a few days you feel as if you have gained tons of new friends. The friendships I’ve made will last forever. After camp, I got the phone numbers of some of my friends and we kept touch throughout the year. Now I cannot wait to see them again in July.
I feel like nothing beats being Armenian and getting to go to an awesome camp like Camp Haiastan!
For more information about AYF Camp Haiastan, visit: http://camphaiastan.org/