2023 AYF Washington, DC Olympics kickoff draws capacity crowd

The Greater Washington DC area Armenian community gathered in Soorp Khatch Arabian Hall, celebrating hosting the AYF Olympics this upcoming Labor Day weekend.

WASHINGTON, DC Over 200 community members flocked to Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church Arabian Hall on May 5 for a celebratory countdown to the 89th annual Armenian Youth Federation – Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF-YOARF) Olympics, to be held in Washington, DC, on Labor Day weekend from September 1-4.

The evening was organized by this year’s host, the AYF Washington DC “Ani” Chapter, and brought together AYF alumni, members and supporters for great food provided by Sasun’s Restaurant and a night of dancing to DJ Sevag’s energizing repertoire, as the community gears up for an Olympics celebration of sportsmanship, Armenian culture and heritage.

AYF Washington DC “Ani” senior member and 2023 AYF Olympics Steering Committee co-chair Shirag Ohannesian shared updates about plans underway for an unforgettable weekend and outlined volunteer opportunities. He estimated that attendance is on track to break records with more rooms booked at the Washington Renaissance Hotel within the first five days of its announcement than the sum of hotel bookings from the 2022 Olympics in Worcester.

Ohannessian promised a weekend of innovative and exciting events and a number of firsts, including the introduction of the online AYF Olympics Ad Book. Ads submitted will be uploaded to the AYF Olympics website and displayed digitally in the run-up to the event and then printed in the traditional ad book distributed over Olympics weekend. In addition, ad books from the past three Olympics have also been posted online, offering alumni and supporters a stroll down memory lane.

AYF Washington DC “Ani” chapter member and 2023 AYF Olympics Steering Committee co-chair Shirag Ohannesian opening the event.

Following Ohannessian’s overview, junior and senior members from the local AYF chapters led the community in Armenian dance, fully immersing themselves in their love for Armenian music and culture. After singing and dancing the night away, community members left feeling excited and energized to host this year’s AYF Olympics.

Proceeds from the event will cover transportation costs to AYF Junior Seminar and support the AYF-YOARF Eastern Region Artsakh and Syunik Funds.

The annual AYF Junior Seminar occurs on Memorial Day weekend for junior members ages 10-16 and AYF senior members ages 17-28. Campers attend various lectures where they learn about Armenian culture, history and state of affairs. They also participate in social events and connect with youth from across the eastern region. AYF “Ani” Seniors and “Sevan” Juniors will be sending over 60 members to seminar this year a chapter record.

The AYF-YOARF Eastern US Artsakh and Syunik funds support youth development initiatives in these regions of the homeland, which continue to suffer due to Azerbaijani aggression. Last year, the AYF Washington DC “Ani” Chapter donated over $10,000 to the Artsakh Fund. This year, the chapter is working on raising another $10,000 to support community centers and other programs in Artsakh and Syunik. Community members can support the AYF DC “Ani” Chapter’s fundraising efforts by donating online (specify the recipient of your donation).

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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