AYF DC “Ani” Chapter hosts Lenten dinner fundraiser for Camp Javakhk

AYF Washington, DC “Ani” Chapter members at the Lenten dinner, March 2023

WASHINGTON, DC — The Armenian Youth Federation – Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF-YOARF) Washington DC “Ani” Chapter raised $2,050 for Camp Javakhk, including a generous $500 donation from the Washington, DC Armenian Relief Society (ARS) “Satenig” Chapter, during its annual Lenten dinner.

Community members volunteered to serve a variety of vegan Armenian dishes after the Lenten service held on March 24 at Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church.

AYF Washington, DC “Ani” Chapter members at the Lenten dinner, March 2023

Founded in 2012, Camp Javakhk is a program of the Armenian Relief Society. It’s based in Georgia and designed to bring Diasporan Armenian counselors together with Armenian youth on historic Armenian land in order to foster connections of both cultural and interpersonal variety. After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Camp Javakhk announced its much-awaited return in 2022 with programs in Akhalkalak, Akhaltshka, Tsalka and Ninotsminda. This initiative has had a profound effect on Armenians all over the globe, especially in Washington, DC. AYF DC Ani chairperson Nayiri Shahnazarian describes her experience as a counselor as “one of [her] favorite summers ever.”

AYF Washington DC “Ani” Chapter chair Nayiri Shahnazarian volunteering at Camp Javakhk in Ninotsminda, 2019

The money raised from the Lenten dinner fundraiser will sponsor 41 campers for the 2023 sessions of Camp Javakhk. “I can’t wait to see the new memories created between this year’s campers and counselors,” shared Shahnazarian.

Support for Camp Javakhk has been widespread and ongoing with continued donations from all over the United States that aim to send as many kids to camp as possible. A donation of $50 will sponsor one camper, as the ARS seeks to ensure the collective effort of the Armenian diaspora in helping Armenian children in Javakhk engage with and learn about their culture and heritage as, in the words of Camp Javakhk leadership, the Georgian government continues efforts to “dilute the Armenian population.” Camp Javakhk has become a space for these children to feel safe in their expression of their Armenian identity and for both counselors and campers to learn and grow in their understanding of what it means to be Armenian in different places across the world.

AYF DC "Ani" Chapter

AYF DC "Ani" Chapter

Founded in 1942, the AYF Washington DC “Ani” and “Sevan” chapters work to unite Armenian youth and organize activities in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area. The chapter has a Senior ("Ani") and Junior ("Sevan") chapter. The Washington DC “Ani” chapter sets out to achieve its goals and objectives throughout the year and hosts events like joint meetings between DMV juniors and juniors in Armenia, protests and other forms of political activism, an annual chapter anniversary dinner and fundraisers to benefit the homeland. The AYF-YOARF's five pillars (athletic, cultural educational, political, social) guide the chapter and help keep its membership active and at the forefront of the Armenian cause at all times.

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