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News Releases for 2011: Show all years

The ACYOA Central Council wishes the best of luck to all students during finals. We also wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
The ACYOA Central Council is sponsoring the 4th annual Chapter Workshop at St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, Florida from January 13-15, 2012. The workshop will focus on the basics of being an ACYOA leader and working together to build a vibrant and successful organization.
More than 70 young adults representing 23 parishes attended the 2011 Leadership Conference held at the Don Bosco Retreat Center in Stony Point, New York from November 4-6. Themed “Let Love In,” participants examined how Christ calls his followers to serve through love and discussed their roles in answering the call as leaders in the ACYOA and the church. Also joining the ACYOA members were representatives from the Coptic and Indian Orthodox Churches.
By: Karen Dardarian, Central Council Vice Chair St. John’s Church, Detroit, MI A couple of weeks ago during a job interview, I mentioned that I would need one weekend off every month because I was involved on a national level with my church youth organization. The interviewer looked at me like I was crazy. At the end of the interview she asked me how important my involvement in the organization was and if it meant a lot to me. I gave her that same look she gave me—I thought she was crazy for asking me the question. I looked at her and in three words I said, "It's my life." On the way home I reflected on my involvement in the ACYOA and its impact on my life. Since I was a young teenager I have been active in the organization. Throughout the years I have gained memories, achieved many goals, and built long lasting friendships. Being part of the ACYOA has shaped me into the person I AM. In my family, the ACYOA goes back three generations, and I want to carry on that worthy tradition. My grandparents were actively involved in the ACYOA when it was organized in 1946. My great aunt and uncle both served on early Central Councils, helping build the structure of the organization. My parents, aunts and uncles followed suit and were active as young adults. My own mother was honored with the Sam Nersesian Award, which is given to an individual who has displayed the Christian values of love, patience, and understanding. Just last year, I was also privileged to receive that same award. Following in my family's footsteps is an amazing feeling and gives me a sense of pride. My strong connection with the Church is because of the ACYOA. It has shaped me into the person I AM. It has brought me closer to God, to my Church and my Armenian community. I also believe it is very important to connect with the older generation. One special individual in my life was Araxie Andonian, who passed away last year. I called her my grandma, my Foxy Roxy. It all started during our ACYOA Juniors Fish Dinners where we would have short meaningful conversations; these turned into a grandmother-granddaughter-like bond. From then on, every Sunday after church, we would sit together and talk, thus building a friendship in which her wise words spoke to me. ACYOA has been a huge part of my life for many years. The experiences I have encountered have and will continue to be very rewarding. I have learned so much about myself and about my relationship with God. I always look forward to the next program or event, not only to see my friends, but to build new relationships. Serving on Central Council has blessed me with the opportunity to spread God's love to the youth; helping bring Armenian young people together in conjunction with the life of the Church. There are so many factors in the outside world that pull our youth away, but the ACYOA brings the youth back to the Church. Being on Central Council and setting an example for the youth is very important to me. It is a big responsibility, making decisions and trying our best to improve the organization. Thanksgiving is a time to remember and give thanks for the blessings in our lives. I truly do not know what my life would be like without ACYOA. One of my favorite quotes is from Archbishop Sion Manoogian who, in 1950, said: "Remember your fore-fathers suffered many persecutions to make possible the Christian privileges and opportunities you now enjoy. Let them not have suffered in vain. Take the torch of your ancestors and strive onward with it. It is a precious heritage." Let's give thanks for our ancestors for they have set an example that has been passed down for many years, they have been an influence in my life decisions. This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for what the ACYOA has done for my life; It has shaped me into the person I AM. I AM ARMENIAN. I AM CHRISTIAN. I AM THANKFUL.
In mid-June, the Kurkjian family very graciously opened their home to the ACYOA Juniors and Seniors for a movie night. As the group gathered to watch a movie, we also outlined and had a discussion on key points in the movie that tied to religious lessons. The chapter met again at the Kurkjian home in September for a "Young Members of St. Gregory BBQ" in an effort to encourage ACYOA members to become voting members of the parish. Our chapter has heartily started planning for a January “Knjook Night.” Using last year’s well-received Alumni Ball as a starting point, the members of the ACYOA have already created groups for the many areas of preparation; namely, decorating, public relations, entertainment, and arguably the most important element of all: food. In the weeks forgoing the event, our chapter will join together in a family cooking night to prepare small dishes for the event and hopefully pick up a few hints to creating successful Armenian meals. Armenian Language Classes commenced on Thursday, September 29. An outstanding majority of our members saw the benefit of focusing on conversational Armenian, and we look forward to improving our verbal skills with Der Karekin. This class takes place every other Thursday evening. Written by: Nadia Basil, Corresponding Secretary, St. Gregory ACYOA Srs.
On Saturday, September 24, the ACYOA Central Council met at St. Gregory Armenian Church in Chicago, IL.
 Council members presented strategic plans for 2011-12, including ideas for chapter development initiatives, faith-based programs, and service project and discussed how they will proceed with these plans in the coming months.


"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:17 We all know the undoubted value of social gatherings and events: networking, enforcing a sense of community, promoting our culture and fun are among the motives. The Holy Trinity ACYOA Seniors of Cheltenham, PA have found another way to connect with each other—a monthly young adult Bible Study. Hosted by our pastor, the Rev. Fr. Hakob Gevorgyan, each month a group of young adults gather at church for a few hours to read, talk and ask questions about the Bible. “As pastor of Holy Trinity, I am blessed to have such nice ACYOA members with whom I started Bible Study. All of them are very spiritual, intelligent and active adults. Bible Study is a unique way for me to interact with them, to teach them and to learn from them. I believe that in this way we can come to know each other, to share our spiritual experiences and to serve our God and Church in a better way,” says Der Hakob. Even though parishioners hear weekly sermons at Badarak and may read Scripture on their own, Bible Study allows individuals to openly discuss and understand relevant passages, bringing meaning and context to what we believe and practice as Armenian Orthodox Christians. The small setting also allows the young adults to relate lessons to their daily lives and truly bond with one another on a different level. Participant Diana Lulejian says, “Coming together once a month with my contemporaries to discuss God’s Word has been more rewarding with Der Hakob than with any previous studies in my past. There’s a connection because we all seem to match each other equally; we’re close in age, have the same ethnicity and we all grew up in the same church. We come from different families but we all relate as one new family.” Submitted by Nadia Silk, Chapter Chair
To My Fellow ACYOA Members, As I’m sure many of you have heard that Gevork Vartanian of the Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church in Providence, RI has resigned his position from the ACYOA Central Council due to career obligations. Our Primate, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian has, with regret accepted his resignation. Gevork joined the Central Council in April of 2009 when he stepped in to complete the term of another Central Council member who had resigned. He was then elected to a two-year term in May of 2010, and has served diligently both as Programming Coordinator and Secretary. Gev was also instrumental in preparing the newly revised bylaws for the ACYOA. Gevork has been a member of the ACYOA for many years, and I’m confident that he will continue to actively be involved in the organization. I speak for all of my fellow Central Council members in telling you that we have enjoyed working with him and we are sad to see him go. Gev, thank you for your years of service to the ACYOA and best of luck with all of your future endeavors. Filling his place will be Armen Terjimanian of St. Mary Church in Washington, DC. Armen was the duly elected alternate and will finish Gevork's term, which ends at the 2012 ACYOA General Assembly. Armen, we look forward to working with you and welcome to Central Council. Respectfully, Danny Mantis, Chair, ACYOA Central Council
The ACYOA Central Council is sponsoring a Leadership Conference from November 4-6 at the Don Bosco Retreat Center in Stony Point, New York. The Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Dean of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, will serve as conference chaplain. The conference is open to all young adults 18 and older. For more information, or for registration forms go to: http://www.acyoa.org/programs/lc.php
The ACYOA Central Council had its first meeting of the year on June 25, where they reviewed the 2011 General Assembly and Sports Weekend (held in May in Philadelphia), and focused on new programming initiatives.
In discussions with Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian; Diocesan Vicar, the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian; the Rev. Fr. Vasken Kouzouian; the Diocese’s executive director Michael Guglielmo; and ACYOA Executive Secretary Nancy Basmajian, Central Council members explored ways to engage more young people in the life of the Armenian Church. The Central Council will meet next on Saturday, September 24 in Chicago, IL.
At the 2010 ACYOA General Assembly, the delegation passed a motion to assist the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR). Since then, the ACYOA Central Council and the FAR Hand in Hand committee have created several programs to assist FAR, including an eight week summer internship at the FAR Children's Center in Yerevan, Armenia. This summer, three members of the Eastern Diocese participated in the internship; Crystal Densmore, Tatevik Khoja-Eynatyan and Krista Tyner.
St. Nersess Armenian Seminary is an essential institution not only for the clergy and lay leadership that graduate and serve the Diocese, but also for the youth summer conferences. The conferences have attracted thousands of teenagers and college-age students over the past fifty years to explore their faith and the heritage of the Armenian Church in a unique environment. Clergy and lay church leaders instruct the participants in the fundamentals of the Armenian Church’s faith and traditions, and encourage discussion about issues important to young people. St. Nersess makes daily worship, Bible Study, and Armenian language instruction appealing and fun. In addition, sports, day-trips, home-cooked meals, and indescribable St. Nersess traditions make for a well-rounded and innovative experience where young people make deep and long lasting friendships.
On Saturday, September 10, about a dozen youth "descended on" one of our older parishioners homes. Usually, we go with a smaller group to make visits and take choreg and cheer. This time, we were on a "mission." The insurance company of this elder was going to cancel his home insurance unless certain things were taken care of. The garage had to be fixed, trees and vines had to come away from the home and a few other repairs were needed. Six of our ACYOA seniors transformed the garage into the way it had looked decades ago. The ACYOA juniors with their adult advisors worked on the greenery and hauled away truck loads of branches and vines. Other small repairs were also done. But the real beauty of the day was that the youth took turns going into the home, sitting and talking with our elderly parishioner. He is still glowing about what happened that day. He said, "Der Hayr, I wake up in the middle of the night and just stare at it. Thank the kids for me again."
Karen Dardarian, Vice Chairperson of the ACYOA Central Council reflects on the "Leadership in the Light of Our Lord" pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Wishing everyone a productive fall!
ATTENTION ALL MEMBERS - Read the complete article for the update!
The Hand-in-Hand committee is putting together a documentary about the supply drive efforts of ACYOA chapters across the Diocese, and we want YOU to be included!
Holy Martyrs ACYOA digs into a Hot topics session with Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Dean of St. Nersess Seminary.
Join us as we search for answers to these and other questions about prayer at a weekend retreat sponsored by the ACYOA Central Council for young adults.
The Central Council teamed up with the St. Gregory ACYOA to host the second annual ball on February 12, 2011, in White Plains, NY.
The ACYOA Central Council is pleased to welcome the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, the newly-appointed Diocesan Vicar, as the Primate’s liaison to the Council. He will be presiding over Central Council meetings, serving as their pastoral advisor and will work with Executive Secretary Nancy Basmajian on many aspects of the day-to-day management of the ACYOA.
The Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America is pleased to announce VEMKAR — a new mobile application for the IPhone and IPod touch.
How many times have you been asked why Armenians celebrate Christmas on the 6th of January or, "If Jesus was born on December 25th, then why do you celebrate on January 6th?", or "why do the Greek Orthodox observe January 7th?" For the very sophisticated, another question worth pondering would be why the Armenians in Jerusalem observe January 19th as the day of Theophany. So, are there 4 dates for the celebration of Christmas? What gives?
Old City, Philly Food Tour and more.
Members of the ACYOA gathered in the warm, palm-dotted environs of southeast Florida for the third annual Chapter Workshop, held at the St. David Church of Boca Raton, January 14-16. More than 30 young adults, representing 13 Diocesan parishes, participated in the weekend-long program.
The past holiday season was an active one for the St. Mesrob Church, Racine ACYOA. Its members were busy with their ministry in many aspects - everything from serving to leading, and of course, helping others.
We wish all of our college students a productive and fruitful second semester. Study hard, be responsible and do your best! If you ever need guidance, want to attend Holy Badarak or get a hankering to be with other Armenians, remember ACYOA Central Council can direct you to the nearest Armenian Church and ACYOA Chapter.