Camp Haiastan’s Director’s Quarters, Summer Office Ready For Summer 2019

Camp Haiastan’s brand new Director’s Quarters and Summer Office are ready for summer 2019.

The “DQ,” as the Director’s Quarters is affectionately called, was originally built in 1966. The front portion of the building was demolished to create a new two-story space. The first floor consists of four small bedrooms, a small sitting area and full bathroom. These bedrooms are intended for assistant directors or other adult staff members. The new second floor is intended for the summer director and family. It has two bedrooms, a full bathroom, living room, dining area, a washer/dryer and a full kitchen.

This project was made possible by a generous donation from Unger/Esquire Gregory Arabian, no stranger to Camp Haiastan. He has visited Camp many times and was always so energized by the enthusiasm and respect by campers and staff that he began to formulate a plan—to replace and expand the fifty plus year old building. “I am so impressed at what Dave is doing that I want to leave my own legacy,” he said. Arabian is a longtime member of the former Lawrence Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), Chairman of the Boston ARF Sardarabad Gomideh, ARF adviser to the AYF Central Executive, President of Watertown’s Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC) and a generous adviser and friend of the Armenian community. His unfettered support and generosity define the commitment of the ARF as reflected in the well-known Armenian anthem: “Menk Ungeghz Zeenvor Yenk”.  

The second building updated was the summer office, one of the original buildings which existed on the Camp property when it was purchased in 1941. Twice renovated, it formerly housed the infirmary as well as the camp store and office. The old structure was demolished and a brand new larger building was erected in its place. This space includes administrative offices for head counselors and other senior staff, a summer director’s office, spacious conference room and a larger home for the Camp Store. The building also has a full basement, which will provide storage that was sorely lacking.

The new Summer Office was made possible by The Rafaelian – Caruolo family. These families have been regular donors to the Camp and silent supporters of the AYF, church and programs in Armenia from their home in Cranston, RI. Wanting to do more, Rebecca began to inquire about the next big project. Along with her mother Lucy and her husband Ricky, Rebecca was intent on improving Camp Haiastan. The family settled on renovating a crumbling office and made a large donation was made. But due to unseen infrastructure damage, the Rafaelians quickly realized that demolishing the old building and erecting a larger one was the right approach. The motivation to help has been based on a generational love of the impact of Camp Haiastan on their family. Having attended as campers and working as staff members, the Rafaelian family holds the importance of Camp and the future of our Armenian youth close to their hearts. “Our parents (Ralph & Lucy Rafaelian) taught us, it’s all about giving back,” said Rebecca.

On Sunday, August 5, 2018, members of the Armenian community and supporters of Camp Haiastan gathered at the Hye-Hope Pavillion in Franklin, Massachusetts for a dedication ceremony. Der Antranig Baljian from St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown was joined by former Prelate Archbishop Oshagan, to perform the traditional blessing of both buildings. Raffi Varjabedian spoke on behalf of the Camp Haiastan Board of Directors, Unger George Aghjayan from the ARF Central Committee, MaryAnne Bonjuklian from ARS Eastern Region and Lucine Bahtiarian from the AYF. 

During this program, Camp Haiastan was honored to host a short visit from Mkhitar Hayrapetyan, the newly installed Minister of Diaspora for the Republic of Armenia. The Minster toured the Camp and spoke of encouraging developments in Armenia. The program concluded with AYF/ARF member Ani Zargarian singing Unger Arabian’s favorite song to an ovation from many who joined in celebration of the momentous day.

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David Hamparian

David Hamparian is the Executive Director of AYF Camp Haiastan.

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