AYF Camp Haiastan set to launch record-setting season

Peter Jelalian appointed Interim Executive Director

The newly-renovated Cabin Circle at Camp Haiastan, Franklin, Massachusetts

FRANKLIN, Mass.—AYF Camp Haiastan will launch its 73rd camping season on Sunday, June 25. This summer the Camp will welcome over 450 campers, a 16-percent increase from last year and a 24-percent increase from the pre-COVID year. 

This summer, the campers will enjoy the major renovations of the Cabin Circle area, the expansion and upgrade of the Under the Tree seating area, the benefits of all new kitchen appliances and the introduction of a revised contemporary program that challenges, entertains and educates today’s camper. 

Interim executive director Peter Jelalian

In preparation for the 2023 season, the Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Peter A. Jelalian as the interim executive director (ED) of the Camp. Current executive director Kenar Charchaflian will be on maternity leave this summer. Charchaflian and her husband Nareg Mkrtschjan are expecting their first child in late June. 

“Peter’s extensive knowledge of the Camp operation and his capability to manage made it easy for the Board to select him as the interim ED,” stated Hratch Najarian, chairperson of the Board of Directors. 

Jelalian, who has worked with all the executive directors, expressed his appreciation for their collective accomplishments. “I look forward to the challenge and working with the summer directors and staff to implement the revised program, enjoy the upgraded facility and most of all welcome a record-setting number of campers; it is an exciting time for Camp,” added Jelalian. The camp senior staff will report directly to Jelalian. Steve Mesrobian and Mimi Parseghian will assist him and have been assigned various duties. Ani Aroyan will continue her position as administrative assistant. 

The counselor staff will be led by summer director (SD) Nairi Koroghlian. She will be assisted by co-directors who will each serve a 2-week session: Hagop Soulakian, teen session; Garin Kaligian, first session, Nevart Mikaelian, second session and Nareh Mkrtschjan, third session. “I am grateful for the assistance of a co-summer director that will be on a rotating schedule – this will ensure that we are able to fully support all the needs of campers and staff members alike,” commented SD Koroghlian. 

The camp season will end with the one-week third session which gives an opportunity for children new to Camp Haiastan to acclimate. 

Program director Seran Tcholakian, who developed the revised Camp program, has been working with the summer director to map out the implementation of these new activities with the traditional ones that have defined the Camp experience. 

Ani Changelian has returned as day camp director. This year, the Board extended this program which serves children from 5-7 years old to include an additional week. A record number of staff members82have been hired to serve as cabin counselors, day camp counselors, lifeguards, Armenian school teachers, and staff-in-training. “We are quite pleased with the staff that we have assembled. They represent a wide age group, different levels of Camp Haiastan experience, geographic diversity and varied skill sets,” stated Charchaflian.

“Our dedicated staff has been actively preparing for an exciting 2023 summer season! New and returning ungers and ungerouhis are committed with maximum continuity and consistency to make for an engaging camper experience,” added SD Koroghlian. 

The Board of Directors invites all Camp supporters to visit on the following Sundays: June 25, July 9, July 23 and August 6 to see all the major improvements to the facility and to enjoy the unique atmosphere the Camp provides.

The AYF Camp Haiastan Board of Directors invites all camp families to join us on Sunday, July 23 for the official unveiling of the newly-renovated and expanded Under the Trees and Cabin Circle areas. This ceremony will commemorate the lives of three lifelong Camp alumni: Mark Alashaian, Vaghinag Koroghlian and Regina Najarian.

Camp Haiastan
Located in Franklin, Massachusetts, AYF Camp Haiastan, was founded in 1951 and is the oldest Armenian camp in the United States. The Camp prides itself on providing a healthy and safe experience to Armenian-American youth to help them foster their Armenian identity and establish lifelong friendships.

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