Late last month, over 40 AYFers gathered at Camp Haiastan in Franklin, Massachusetts for a weekend of lectures, discussions and ընկերութիւն (comradery). The theme for this year’s Senior Seminar was Վերածնունդ (Rebirth).
When members arrived, they each received a pair of socks made in Armenia adorned with the AYF-YOARF logo. Unger Greg Bedian, Ungerouhi Yeghisapet Chouldjian, Ungerouhi Heather Krafian, Ungerouhi Tereza Yeremian and Unger Steve Mesrobian were scheduled to lecture about the role of the Armenian language in our communities, Armenian women, the ARS, and Hai Tahd. These topics were discussed at length by participants, both during the organized discussion led by Unger Josh Tevekelian and informally during breaks and at meals.
One of the important takeaways from these discussions – which have continued beyond the weekend – includes the need for the AYF to take a greater role in encouraging members to utilize Armenian and offer resources to learn Armenian. Many of our members come from communities without the infrastructure to teach Armenian; members examined ways to expand our usage of Armenian while also ensuring that nobody feel excluded.
There were also intense discussions regarding the need to fight for women’s rights – especially for women in Armenia and Javakhk – as well as increasing our political activities in both the U.S and Armenia towards our goal of a free, united, and independent Armenia.
Following dinner, the AYF alumni, who had served as cooks for the weekend, changed hats (but not literally) to become musicians; AYFers and lecturers alike had a wonderful time dancing and singing along. Afterwards, there was a campfire complete with s’mores and հեղափոխական (revolutionary) songs that went on late into the night.
The next morning, after a delicious breakfast of foul, members participated in a leadership workshop organized by the CE, which included a talk by Unger Dikran Kaligian and further discussions regarding transparency and accountability in the AYF. Finally, members cleaned the camp and made their way home.
The CEC would like to thank everyone who helped make the weekend so engaging and productive, including the lecturers, cooks/musicians and participants!