Camp Haiastan Board Appoints Executive Director Search Committee

Camp Haiastan Opening Day 1951

FRANKLIN, Mass.—The AYF Camp Haiastan Board of Directors has appointed a four-person Search Committee to manage the selection process for a new Executive Director (ED). David Hamparian, who has been the executive director of the youth camp for the past seven years, has decided to pursue other career opportunities.

The Search Committee consists of current Board Chair Michael Guzelian of Massachusetts, current Board member Hagop Soulakian of Illinois and former Board members Peter Jelalian of New York and Steve Mesrobian of Rhode Island. The four were selected not only for their extensive knowledge of the Camp’s operations, but also for their outreach capabilities and active involvement in the Armenian American community.

The new Executive Director will only be the fourth individual to serve in that position since the Camp was formally incorporated in 1976 as a non-profit organization. “In order to make this place the greatest place on earth, we have to continue to live by the words of Mal Varadian, a long-time Camp leader and supporter when he said, ‘Honor the traditions, but make it better than it was,’” said Guzelian. “We are thankful and grateful to David ‘for making it much better.’ We are looking for someone who will build on the work that David and his two predecessors, Bob Avakian and Roy Callan, have done.”

Founded in 1951, Camp Haiastan is the oldest Armenian camp in the United States. Over the years, it has served thousands of young people by providing a healthy and safe summer experience while exposing them to Armenian culture.

During his leadership, Hamparian implemented a major facilities improvement campaign. A number of new buildings were constructed, and older ones were repurposed to ensure that the Camp would be able to provide a 21st century experience. Additionally, under his tenure the Camp achieved a high level of financial stability and sustainability.

The Board has expressed its gratitude to Hamparian for bringing the Camp to this new level and allowing them to shift their focus on the program. In a discussion about future plans, Hamparian said, “Some program initiatives work well, some slightly less. Keep the core of the program and make slow, gradual change. Camp traditions are important, but we need to be open to innovation and the fact that the needs and wants of our parents and campers are changing with time.”

This suggestion will be one of the key components in selecting the new Executive Director. That person must be able to take what has been done in the past and build on it. The ever-changing needs of children and their parents’ expectations need to be constantly evaluated and modifications need to be made while maintaining the long-standing mission of the Camp.

Soulakian explained that the new Executive Director will need to continue to think of new and innovative ways to “expand our reach, provide exemplary activities/programs and to ensure that all of our campers and staff leave with an amazing Armenian experience that can light a flame in each of them to bring to their respective communities.”

The position not only provides personal satisfaction and community service, but also professional growth. In addition to administrative skills, one will utilize and continue to develop their financial and investment aptitude, personnel management, marketing and public relations competence and facilities oversight.

Additional information on the Camp and the Executive Director position can be found online. If you have questions or would like to discuss the position in more detail, please call Board Chairman Michael Guzelian at 781-710-1412 or email

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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