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More than athletics offered at Sports Weekend

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MORE THAN SPORTS ON OFFER AT ACYOA SPORTS WEEKEND

More than 250 participants arrived at the IBM Dolce Palisades Center in Palisades, N.Y. on the evening of Friday, May 22 for the launch of this year’s ACYOA Sports Weekend.

In addition to athletic competitions, which were held at the nearby St. Lawrence Community Center and at the newly-built Education and Recreation Center at St. Leon Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, N.J., the program featured a film festival, guest speakers, dance workshops conducted by the Antranig Dance Ensemble, and a virtual athletics tournament using the Wii video-game technology.

On Saturday, May 23, Eric Hachikian spoke to participants about his documentary, “Voyage to Amasia,” which was inspired by the life of his late grandmother, Helen Shushan. The film tells the story of Hachikian’s family during the Armenian Genocide and incorporates a piano trio composition Hachikian performed at Carnegie Hall in 2005.

Linda Yepoyan, executive director of Birthright Armenia, encouraged young people to volunteer in Armenia, describing the opportunities available at various business, government, and cultural centers throughout the country.

On Saturday evening, ACYOA members traveled to Manhattan to enjoy the music of Robert Chilingirian at the Hudson Terrace. A nighttime New York City scene served as a sparkling backdrop for the reception and dance.

On Sunday, May 24, the Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian celebrated the Divine Liturgy, with Archbishop Khajag Barsamian presiding.

The Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, dean of St. Nersess Seminary, delivered the day’s sermon, reminding participants of Christ’s love and forgiveness and asking them to help share the Good News with other Armenians.

“Too many people just have not heard the word of God,” Fr. Findikyan said, stressing that it’s all the more critical to ensure the preservation of the Armenian Church by training a new generation of young men to serve as priests in the Armenian-American community.

“We need to be working together to find those people who are going to serve the church full-time, and especially those young men who are going to take the courageous step to come forward and do the best job there is in this world,” he said.

As sports competition drew to a close on Sunday, ACYOA members gathered for a banquet to honor the weekend’s champions and to applaud the many people who worked hard to organize this year’s events.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome of this weekend,” Archbishop Barsamian told participants.

Following a farewell brunch on Monday, May 25, ACYOA members departed for their home parishes.

Participant Taleen Kachigyan, of St. Leon Church, said she enjoyed taking part in the varied activities offered throughout the weekend.

“The ACYOA is really great,” she said, “Because it brings all your Armenian friends closer together.”

The weekend was organized by a regional committee, co-chaired by Alex Derderian and Lydia Kurkjian. Other committee members include Deanna Cachoian-Schanz, Talar Camcikyan, Michael Givelekian, Jim Ishkhanian, Anita Jayawant, Alex Lerian, Jon Pelaez, Vrej Pilavdjian, Christine Royland, and Aleen Tovmasian. The Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin served as the spiritual advisor, and Maria Derderian as the advisor-at-large.