Chapter Workshop 2010
ACYOA HOLDS SECOND ANNUAL “CHAPTER WORKSHOP” IN BOCA RATON, FLORIDA
Amid palm trees, sunshine, and crisp ocean air, the Eastern Diocese’s Armenian Church Youth Organization of America held its second annual Chapter Workshop, in Boca Raton, Fla., January 15-17.
The ACYOA Central Council co-sponsored the workshop with the Diocese’s Department of Youth and Education. It was hosted by the local St. David Armenian Church. Its aim was to support local-parish ACYOA chapters in their efforts, and 39 young adults, representing 18 Diocesan parishes, participated in the weekend.
“It was great to see such intelligent people come together to exchange ideas,” said participant Alyne Corrigan, who chairs the ACYOA group of St. Stepanos Church in Elberon, N.J. “It strengthens the ACYOA to bring people together.”
To kick off the workshop, participants were able to learn a little about each other, and about their home communities, during a Friday evening “ice breaker.”
On Saturday, the group received some basic-training in “ACYOA 101”: an overview of the way the Diocese-wide youth organization operates, through its annual General Assembly, Central Council, and local chapters. Central Council members Danny Mantis and Lydia Kurkjian made the presentation.
A presentation on the “best practices” of an award-winning ACYOA Seniors chapter—the youth group from St. John Armenian Church of Southfield, Mich.—gave the workshop participants useful insights into running successful events and fundraisers. In his presentation, St. John’s Harry Kezelian credited the organizational skills of the chapter co-chair, Karen Dardarian, as a key to the chapter’s recent success.
An investigation into each chapter’s “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats” was led by ACYOA Central Council member Gevork Vartanian (who also organized much of the leadership workshop). He used the “S.W.O.T. analysis”—a marketing tool—to help each chapter measure its success and failure throughout the year. The 39 participants broke up into small groups to identify successful as well as unsuccessful programs, and determine why certain ones worked and others had not.
Another marketing-management tool figured in the presentation by Central Council members Alex Derderian and Danielle Der Assadourian. They suggested using “S.M.A.R.T. goals”—the acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely—as a way of evaluating objectives for a given ACYOA project. This exercise seemed to be a favorite among the participants, who felt the discussions would be helpful in strengthening local chapters.
For Lisa Zaroogian, of the Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church ACYOA in Providence, R.I., the workshop “was a great opportunity for each ACYOA chapter to share their experiences and give ideas and suggestions to others.”
To conclude Saturday’s sessions, Central Council members gave a rundown of national ACYOA events—such as the Armenia Service Program, the General Assembly and Sports Weekend, and the ACYOA Alumni Ball. The evening closed at a local restaurant, where Harry Kezelian gave a performance on clarinet.
Sunday morning found the participants attending the Divine Liturgy at Boca Raton’s St. David Church. The parish and its pastor, the Very Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian, graciously hosted a luncheon for the ACYOA members after services.
Afterwards, Mariam Mirzoyan, from the mission parish of Atlanta, Ga., applauded the leadership workshop for delineating “tons of ideas and helpful hints to continue this wonderful work of God.” It was, she added, “a very inspirational event.”