Wrightwood, CA – Over 100 Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Juniors gathered at AYF Camp over the weekend for an important educational experience. The theme of this year’s Winter Seminar was “Artsakh: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” providing an opportunity for participants to receive a comprehensive understanding of Artsakh’s history and current challenges.
On Friday evening, participants arrived and kicked off the weekend with dinner and games, paving the way for an exciting and productive seminar. 25 AYF members served as counselors throughout the weekend.
Seminar Co-Director Unger Arick Gevorkian presented a detailed history of Artsakh and why it is critical to continue to fight for its independence.
“The success of the AYF Juniors Winter Seminar is due to the ARF Juniors Central Council’s leadership, dedication, and meticulous preparation,” he said. “I thank them for allowing me to be an integral part of the magical winter getaway and on the enrichment journey of our youth who will continue our mission and vision of having a thriving community and homeland through volunteerism, patriotism, and activism.”
“In these difficult and trying times for the Armenian nation, nothing makes me more hopeful than seeing a young generation of AYF Juniors who are so connected to their homeland, their history, and their cause. If this weekend and these youth are a snapshot of our future, I think the Armenian nation is in good hands,” stated Gev Iskajyan, Co-Director of the Winter Seminar.
Iskajyan provided a first-hand account of the current situation in Artsakh and the tragic events that unfolded during the last few years while he lived there. He stressed that the very existence of the Armenian nation is at stake and inspired participants to renew their commitment to their nation.
A dynamic discussion about the future of Artsakh was led by Raffi Hamparian, Chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America. He focused on the power of grassroots activism and how AYF Juniors can become effective advocates for the Armenian cause.
The weekend ended with a revolutionary song night with guest singer Tro Krikorian. Participants went home inspired, determined, and ready to take on the challenges facing the Armenian nation today.
“AYF Winter Seminar was a blast! I had so much fun participating in exciting activities and making new friends. Our knowledgeable directors and guest speakers taught us about current happenings in our homeland and talked about their firsthand experiences, which was also very interesting,” said Allen Aslanyan, an 11-year-old participant from the Orange County Aghpuir Serop Chapter.
“My first year of seminar and the trip from San Francisco was well worth it. I enjoyed the staff and the time I spent with old and new friends,” said Karekin Andonian, 14-year-old member of the San Francisco AYF Rosdom Chapter.
“It’s with the AYF Juniors at Winter Seminar where my daughters feel most at home. They return inspired and more connected to their roots,” stated Patil DerHovagimian, a parent from the La Crescenta Karekin Njdeh chapter.
The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Juniors strives to nourish its members with experiences, information, and resources to become ambitious and successful in their pursuit of civic, academic and career excellence, so they are best equipped to serve our communities, nation, and cause. We serve our mission through active participation in our communities and during weekly gatherings held at all ten of our chapters in the Western United States. For more information or to join, visit AYFJuniors.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.