Armenian Youth Foundation supports first-time Junior Seminar attendees

First-time attendees at the 52nd annual AYF-YOARF Junior Seminar in Ligonier, Pennsylvania over Memorial Day Weekend

The Armenian Youth Federation – Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF-YOARF) Central Executive would like to thank the Armenian Youth Foundation for once again sponsoring first-time Junior Seminar attendees. The Junior Seminar is the largest Junior event of the Eastern Region, where more than 400 Juniors and Seniors gather and are educated on important historical events, cultural traditions and contemporary challenges faced by the Armenian community. 

Lectures and activities were centered around the theme of “Limitless Future,” encouraging participants to utilize their skills and talents to honor Armenia regardless of the physical borders they live within. 

The Armenian Youth Foundation awarded a $12,000 grant to the AYF-YOARF, creating the opportunity to fully fund 58 first-time attendees of the 2024 Junior Seminar. The mission of the Armenian Youth Foundation is to preserve Armenian heritage by proudly supporting a variety of youth programs centered on culture, education, athletics and camping programs. Since 1973, it has awarded more than $782,000 in grants to over 20 organizations and Armenian schools. 

Below are reflections from first-time Junior participants: 

“Seminar was a wonderful experience! I met many new and amazing people and felt really connected to the Armenian community. I loved learning about Armenian culture, history and the current events in Armenia. It was a fun weekend, and I look forward to going next year.” Nver Bakalian, New Jersey “Arsen” chapter, older group

“If you are a first year Seminar goer or even first year AYFer, this is the greatest and most fun chance to meet other people in other chapters. So if you’re thinking about going to Junior Seminar, start now and make friends that can stick with you for years and years to come.” Artin Tarpinian, Washington D.C. “Sevan” chapter, middle group

“It was really great meeting new people, and being able to bond with my ungers. The lectures were interesting while some also being entertaining. I look forward to being an LIT next year.” AnnMarie Hazarian, New York “Hyortik” chapter, older group

“The lectures were interesting, and the speakers were entertaining. It was my first year going to AYF Junior Seminar, and I made many new friends from different chapters. I had a great time and cannot wait to go again next year!” Vartan Karapetian, Detroit “Kopernik Tandourjian” chapter, younger group

“My first AYF Junior Seminar was an amazing experience. I enjoyed learning about the current situation in Artsakh and Armenia from the lectures, especially the one given by Gev Iskajyan sharing his experiences living in Artsakh at one of the most difficult times last year. I made many new friends from other states, and we enjoyed playing sports together. The evening activities were equally fun, as everyone got to be together and get to know each other. I will look forward to attending next year. I just wish it was longer than a weekend.” Shant Tatarian, Washington D.C. “Sevan” chapter, younger group

“Seminar was so much fun! It was my first time away from my parents, but I still felt like I was part of a family. I learned a lot about Armenia and really liked the activities we did.” Chloe Bakalian, New Jersey “Arsen” chapter, younger group“As a first timer at seminar, I really enjoyed listening to lectures and engaging in my culture. It was a great time that I was able to spend with my friends, and I’d definitely come back next year!” Ashley Garzilli, New York “Hyortik” chapter, older group

Founded in 1933, The Armenian Youth Federation is an international, non-profit, youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). The AYF-YOARF Eastern United States stands on five pillars that guide its central activities and initiatives: Educational, Hai Tahd, Social, Athletic and Cultural. The AYF also promotes a fraternal attitude of respect for ideas and individuals amongst its membership. Unity and cooperation are essential traits that allow members of the organization to work together to realize the AYF’s objectives.

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