Pandemic and Panagoum Persist. 2020 Junior Seminar Going Virtual.

There is no need to keep reminding you – the latest developments have not left anybody untouched. Classes, jobs, graduations, weddings, family brunches… church masses, protests, barahantesses, AYF meetings… We are all doing our very best to adapt to these circumstances. Der Hayrs are preaching to us through screens, while our favorite musicians are performing on live-streams. In the meantime, AYF chapters around the world are pleasantly surprised that meetings are running quite smoothly and creating some normalcy for many. 

Since 1971, there has been one particularly sacred event for AYF members of all ages across the Eastern Region – and that is Junior Seminar. As chair of this year’s Junior Seminar Committee, I can say that throughout the unfolding of the latest global events, our committee was hoping that this event would somehow remain unaffected. Junior Seminar is an annual landmark for our members; it delivers a major web of educational content that can reach a majority of our membership at once, and it is a place where the best memories are made with friends that are not easy to keep in touch with throughout the year. For years, parents have felt comfortable waving their kids goodbye, onto a bus ride that can be anywhere from 5 to 13 hours. They have trusted older members of this organization with the health and well-being of their own children – and in return, this responsibility is not taken lightly by the senior members of the AYF. For this reason, the committee, along with the Central Executive, has made the decision to go virtual this year! Although we regret to inform our members and parents that we will not return to Camp Kon-O-Kwee this year, we are very excited to make history as we take Junior Seminar online, on Saturday, May 23rd. 

We know that this may come as a disappointment to many, but we are absolutely committed to delivering a memorable seminar experience. We are lucky to have a network of councils that can lend us their expertise. Just like many institutions and organizations across the world, we will be using Zoom to bring our membership together. Those who register will not miss out on important and engaging lecture content – delivered by some of our favorite Junior Seminar faces, and will have plenty of time to mingle with friends that they have been looking forward to seeing. The committee is excited to put all the tools they have into use, to incorporate interactive activities and discussions between all those in attendance, as well as in smaller, more intimate groups. 

We know that these challenging times have put our resilience to the test. However, we also know very well, as Armenian poet Yeghishe Charents said, that the Armenian peoples’ savior is in their collective strength. With this spirit, we are hopeful that even a pandemic cannot put a stop to us coming together on Memorial Day weekend. With that said, we highly encourage all AYF-YOARF Eastern Region members to register during the week of May 16th, and be a part of this historical endeavor – we could not do it without you all. 

More information will be communicated along the way. In the meantime, we wish you all the utmost health and safety during this time.

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Founded in 1933, The Armenian Youth Federation is an international, non-profit, youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). The AYF-YOARF Eastern United States stands on five pillars that guide its central activities and initiatives: Educational, Hai Tahd, Social, Athletic and Cultural. The AYF also promotes a fraternal attitude of respect for ideas and individuals amongst its membership. Unity and cooperation are essential traits that allow members of the organization to work together to realize the AYF’s objectives.

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