AYF Camp Haiastan announces Forever Tornig honorees ahead of 70th anniversary gala

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. AYF Camp Haiastan is proud to announce that it will host its 70th anniversary gala on Saturday, July 23rd. Over the last 70+ summer seasons, AYF Camp Haiastan has brought together thousands of campers, counselors and staff from all over the world to explore all aspects of Armenian culture and history while building lifelong friendships. 

This year’s gala will include the first ever presentation of the “Forever Tornig” award. Honorees of this award have shown unconditional love and devotion to AYF Camp Haiastan and are exemplary members of the camp’s community. Each of the honorees began their relationship with the camp as an enthusiastic camper, then a devoted staff member, followed by a tenure as a conscientious Camp Board member. Their unwavering dedication to the camp is both admirable and highly appreciated by all who love the camp. The first three honorees for the “Forever Tornig” award are Peter Jelalian (New Jersey), Richard Krikorian (New Jersey) and John Mangassarian (Rhode Island). The three honorees serve as examples to current and future generations of campers and staff. 

Circled left to right Richard Krikorian, Peter Jelalian and John Mangassarian, 1974

Jelalian has held the mantle of summer director many times, serving as a mentor to generations of campers. He has been a sounding board for new summer directors and has regularly stepped in to help when needed. Jelalian most recently served on the Camp Board until 2019. He continues to serve on the recruitment committee and has been instrumental in the recruitment and retention efforts.

Krikorian has been a longtime advocate of Camp. During his tenure on the Camp Board, he helped establish the camp’s current endowments and investment strategies. Without his efforts, camp would not be in the favorable financial position it is today. Krikorian still serves on the camp’s finance and investment committee. 

Whenever a helpful hand is needed at Camp, Mangassarian is the first person to step up to the plate. A lifetime supporter of camp enrichment, you can find Mangassarian volunteering at Camp several times a week. He is no stranger to hard work and has helped keep the campgrounds looking pristine over the years. Mangassarian is an essential community member who devotes his time to any of Camp Haiastan’s needs.  

“We are excited to announce this award to honor individuals who have been committed to Camp since their camper days,” said Hratch Najarian, Camp Haiastan Board chair. “We are even more excited to present this award for the first time at AYF Camp Haiastan’s 70th anniversary gala while we also celebrate all of Camp’s successes over the past 70 years.” 

The Gala will be held on Saturday, July 23rd at the Gillette Stadium Putnam Club in Foxborough, MA. The evening will feature a program highlighting the Camp’s achievements over the last few years as well as a look into future projects. Musical entertainment will be provided by Mike Gostanian, Mal Barsamian, Richie Berberian, Bruce Gigarjian, Paul Mooradian and Ron Tutunjian. Tickets can be purchased online.

Camp Haiastan
Founded in 1951, AYF Camp Haiastan is the oldest Armenian residential camp in the United States. Camp Haiastan is located in Franklin, Massachusetts.
Camp Haiastan


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