Announcing the 2024 AYF Camp Haiastan leadership team

FRANKLIN, Mass.—This week the Board of Directors of AYF Camp Haiastan announced the selection of the Leadership Team for the 2024 camping season. 

“Each year, our summer leadership team embodies the spirit of dedication, compassion and excellence that defines AYF Camp Haiastan. I am excited to welcome these individuals who will lead our camp community in 2024, inspiring our campers to embrace their Armenian heritage, foster lifelong friendships and cultivate leadership skills that will guide them far beyond the summer,” commented Executive Director Kenar Charchaflian. 

Erik Avagyan of Watertown, Massachusetts will be the Summer Camp Director this year. Baron Erik, a first year Camp Director, is no stranger to the camp. He has been involved with Camp Haiastan since 2006, first as a camper, then counselor, then staff coordinator and for the past few years as a volunteer, helping with facility maintenance and airport transportation.

Erik Avagyan

Avagyan was born in Yerevan and grew up in New York City. Upon finishing high school, he joined the United States Marine Corp, where he was deployed overseas for two stints. At the conclusion of his enlistment, Avagyan relocated to Boston where he pursued employment and education. During his undergraduate studies at Boston College, Avagyan excelled in business classes and decided to pursue his MBA, which he is now earning at Babson College. In order to prepare for the 2024 camping season, Avagyan has taken a leave of absence from his job in the technology field and has already been involved in staff hiring and other pre-season activities. 

“I see my primary role to make sure the camp provides a safe and healthy environment while instilling a sense of Armenian identity. I would like to give back what the camp has given me. In my camper days, Baron Pete had a positive influence on me. I hope to do the same for both staff and campers,” Avagyan said.

Seran Tcholakian will continue as the Program Director at Camp Haiastan. This position was established last year to revise and expand the traditional activities in which previous  generations of campers had participated. The 2023 record-breaking number of campers thoroughly enjoyed these new and age-appropriate activities. 

Digin Seran is very familiar with the camp, as she has attended as a camper and has served as a Summer Director (2019-2021). A native of New York, Tcholakian lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan with her husband Rafi and their five children, all former campers and staffers. A graduate of Hunter College, Tcholakian taught for many years at the Alex and Marie Manoogian School in Dearborn. She is now a tutor and an active member of her local Armenian community through the Armenian Relief Society (ARS).

Based on the positive reaction we received from campers, staff and parents, the new activities that were introduced last year will be continued. In discussing the camp program, Tcholakian stated, “We will make some minor adjustments and introduce some variations to continue to ensure a positive, developmentally appropriate and exceptionally unique Camp Haiastan experience.”

Seran Tcholakian, Kristin Asadourian and Erik Avagyan at Camp Haiastan

Ani Changelian will return as Day Camp Director. Last year Digin Ani led two, one-week sessions for the day campers, ages 5-7. Established in 2006, the Day Camp offers parents of young children an opportunity for their children to attend a camp that provides extensive outdoor and indoor activities, but more importantly fosters Armenian identity. Again this year, there will be two sessions, one in late June and another in early August.

Changelian received a master’s degree in education from the New York Institute of Technology, Downing College. She lives in Bedford, Massachusetts with her husband Andrew and their two children, who are both former campers and staff members. Changelian previously worked as a kindergarten teacher at St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown. In addition to serving as Day Camp Director for many years, she also served as the AYF Camp Haiastan Summer Director from 2019-2021. Her professional background and long-time association with the camp make her well-versed with the camp mission.

Kristin Asadourian will serve as the MESH specialist Teen Session through Session One.  Asadourian earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and multicultural relations and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Connecticut. 

Kristin Asadourian

Asadourian is a personal development and social and emotional coach, and the author of the “Living Become Self-Discovery Journal.” She is passionate about her job at Camp Haiastan this coming summer. “I see my role as helping to create a safe and healthy atmosphere where every camper and staffer is comfortable being themselves. Camp is a place of shared value, and as such, we want to make sure everyone who is here is part of this community,” Asadourian said.

Asadourian is a former camper and a parent of current campers. Her professional background, combined with her family’s involvement with the camp, is a major asset to this year’s summer program. She is originally from Hartford and currently lives in Weston, Massachusetts.

Nevart Mikaelian and Nareh Mkrtschjan will both return as MESH Specialists, Digin Nevart for Session 2 and Oriort Nareh for Session 3. They and their families both have had a long association with the camp, serving in many roles including Summer Director. 

Ashley Narducci, the camp’s 2024 Health Center Director, received her nursing diploma from St. John’s nursing school and bachelor’s degree in nursing from Salve Regina University. She  holds a master’s degree in health education and nurse teaching certificate from the University of Rhode Island. She is currently a school nurse teacher at Woonsocket High School. This summer, she will manage the Health Center alongside two other nurses. 

Craig Roman will be the Food Service Director this coming summer. He will lead a staff of two returning prep cooks. He is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University where he majored in culinary and food service management. He currently works at Brimmer and May School in Newton, MA as their Food Service Director.

“We are quite pleased that we were able to put together our team as quickly as we did. We were able to begin the collaboration and planning process earlier than previous years. Also, the camp leadership was able to attend valuable camping educational and training seminars,” stated Charchaflian.

Kenar Charchaflian and Erik Avagyan

Sarine Adishian, chairperson of the AYF Camp Haiastan Board of Directors, added, “While camp is a year-round business for us, spring is always an exciting time as our seasonal staff is hired and our programs for the upcoming summer start to take shape. We are grateful to have a strong and committed summer leadership team this year and are looking forward to another successful summer in our little Armenia in Franklin, MA.”

AYF Camp Haiastan is excited to embark on another exciting and memorable summer. Enrollment is still open for campers ages 8-16. 

As the first Armenian summer camp established in the United States, AYF Camp Haiastan is a safe, engaging space for Armenian youth to learn about their culture, create lifelong friendships, exercise independence and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. For more information reach out to the camp office (, 508-520-1312).

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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