Camp Reflections: Krikor Javardian spent seven weeks at Saint Vartan Camp serving as the Athletic Director. Talin Hitik, who served four years on ACYOA Central Council (2006-2009), held the position of Programming Director at Hye Camp. Below they share their experiences.
Krikor Javardian, Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Cheltenham, PA.
For the past two summers, I have worked as the Athletic Director at Saint Vartan Camp in Greenville, New York, which is located in the Catskills region of New York. I intended on only working last summer and then moving on and leaving camp behind me, but I realized that Saint Vartan Camp is too meaningful and fundamental to me to not return. Logically, I returned and I embraced every second of my seven weeks spent at Saint Vartan Camp.
The main reason I come to work at Saint Vartan Camp is the satisfaction I receive knowing that I am positively impacting the lives of Armenian youth from across the Diocese. Campers hail from all over the country to gather and take part in something truly special at Saint Vartan Camp. Sure, camp can be fun for children with all of the sports and activities provided for them, but it also provides much more than that for its campers. Camp gives them an opportunity to learn about their culture, heritage and religion in our daily classes. Most importantly, camp allows each child the chance to build a special bond with fellow Armenians. Campers learn about the importance of the Church and how imperative it is for them to serve in the Church now and into the future as they grow. Without this exposure, our Armenian youth may be deprived of understanding how vital they can be to the Church.
Overall, I had an outstanding time this past summer working with the campers. Running the sports program was an absolute joy, and I enjoyed teaching the campers new things every day. The campers also taught me something. I learned how special our Armenian youth at Saint Vartan Camp are and how eager these children are to further develop and become a part of our church community. Hopefully, more and more Armenian youth can come and become a part of this unique experience at Saint Vartan Camp. Who knows? Maybe I will be a part of it again next summer as well.
Talin Hitik, St. Gregory Armenian Church, Chicago, IL.
Hye Camp was held from Saturday, August 7 to Saturday, August 14. This year was particularly enjoyable because a slight change in scheduling allowed us to start the camp season off worshipping together, as we celebrated Badarak first thing Sunday morning. Hye Camp was at full capacity this year, with almost 140 campers, as well as 55 CITs and staff members. During the day, the campers enjoyed classes such as Religion, Heritage and Armenian language, and also had an opportunity to play sports and cool off in the swimming pool. After dinner, our evenings were packed with fun-filled activities such as a campfire, a talent show, a camp-wide game of capture the flag, and a dance complete with a live Armenian band. We also held Olympic events throughout the week, which allowed the campers to bond with their Olympic teams, which were comprised of kids and staff members of all age groups. Hye Camp is a special way to not only offer children some great summer fun, but to help them find their Armenian Christian identity. Many campers and staff members live in a geographic area that is void of an Armenian Church or even any substantial Armenian community. Hye Camp offers them a unique opportunity to make life-long friendships with other Armenian Christians, and to learn about their culture and their faith. What inspires me to continue to serve at Hye Camp is the notion that I am helping to ensure that the next generation will know what it is to be Armenian, and more importantly, will have Christ in their lives.