Cabin Fever: Notes From Camp, Part II

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This is part two of a two part series featuring notes from Camp Haiastan campers in the summer of 2018 (Part 1). 

Feels Like Home

“My very first day of camp was when I was twelve years old. I was very nervous and excited especially after hearing how much fun my brother had. Although, one of my family had to leave so that excitement went away. But that was before I met my cabin. They were all so nice to me and made me feel like I was still at home. The first few days at camp were slow and I got home sick a few times. Then a few more days went by and I then realized camp would always be a big part of my life and being Armenian would be even bigger.”



Being Armenian is Unique

“Since I was 4 years old, every summer I have visited Camp Haiastan. As I watched my three siblings each get their opportunity to attend camp, I grew more and more excited about spending my summer surrounded by my fellow Armenian friends and family. At age 10 it was finally my turn. Coming from a small Armenian community in Wisconsin, camp truly expanded my view of what it means to be Armenian. It is not only about the culture, language, and history but also the people who surround you and inspire you to embrace your Armenian background. Camp Haiastan is truly one of the main reasons that I love being Armenian. It continuously reminds me every year that my Armenian roots are unique and make me the person I am today.”

—Alidz Khaligian


Priceless Memories

“I have grown up hearing stories about Camp Haiastan and had even attended day camp when I was too young to go to normal sessions. In total I have attended 9 years of camp. I have so many amazing friends and priceless memories that I will never forget. Though I am very sad that this is my final session as a camp, I look forward to hopefully being a counselor in the near future. I hope to inspire the next generation the way my counselors and friends have inspired me. I know that I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for Camp Haiastan.”

—Araz Dulgarian


Camp Adventures

“Camp Haiastan is a special treat. Camp Haiastan is more than a day camp. It’s two parent free, overnight weeks. I go to session two every single year. Camp is a place to make friends, share stories, and make new memories. This is my third year at camp. Every year my mom signs me up and never even has to ask if I want to go because she knows I would always go back. You don’t have to be Armenian to come, but you should get to know our history and learn about our schedule and read our reviews. If you can’t find any, then listen to mine. Camp is a great experience that I think everyone should enjoy! I give it five stars. Some camps may give you a “daring” starburst or two but at Camp Haiastan we have something called camp store. Camp store offers all campers candy, ice cream, and treats. Camp has nuke’em, volleyball, basketball, foursquare, soccer, hockey, badmitten, tetherball and more. Camp is a trip of a lifetime!”

—Jessica Ciaffi


Keeping Armenian Heritage Alive

“Camp Haiastan all started when I was nine years old now I am eleven. I like to call camp my second home because I have made so many memories, good and bad. I have met so many people that have quickly become my best friends. I have so much family that comes here too. And most importantly, I learn something new everyday like Armenian government, how to identify and fight back to Armenian Genocide denials, and how to fold an Armenian flag. You feel proud to be Armenian at Camp Haiastan because everybody is Armenian too. You also feel proud because you know what our culture is capable of, where we come from and what the youth can do to keep the Armenian heritage alive. Without Camp Haiastan, I wouldn’t be the person I have become today.”

—Karine Kevorkian


AKA The Best Place on Earth

“Camp Haiastan, known as the best place in the world has lived up to my expectations. As said on the front steps of the path leading into the cabin circle “Three Generations of Campers”, that is true because my parents both came to this camp.That’s what makes it special to me. Though I was a little homesick my first year, now that is it my fourth year I am more than glad to be here.”

—Armen Korkounian


Three Generations of Campers

“Two years ago I came to Camp Haiastan for the first time. I was really nervous I knew that I was going to have fun. The camp has been a part of my life for so long. My dad went when he was little as well as my grandfather. When my grandfather was in college, he would go to the camp after school and work on the cabins and fix up other things around the camp. One reason why kids should come to Camp Haiastan is because you can meet other Armenians and make friends as well as memories. You can also learn about Armenian history and language. You and your friends will be sad to leave each other but you know that you’ll see each other next year. Your daily schedule at camp is you wake up and have flag raising, next is breakfast, then cabin clean up, then three activities (one of which will be Armenian school everyday). Then you have lunch, free time, and two more activities, then dinner, flag lowering, and night activity. Any person that comes to Camp Haiastan, Armenian or not, is guaranteed to have fun.”

—Grace Asbedian


The Friendships that Last

“When I first started camp, I was inflating with so many emotions, excitement, fear, happiness, and proud to be Armenian. My friends told me about camp and happily we were in the same cabin. I was nervous that people wouldn’t like me, but ever since my first few days at camp I knew I’d return. That was two years ago at session one. But this year I came to session two, and I only know two people who are my cousins. When I came to my cabin to my cabin I was a little nervous, but i made friendships that I know will last forever. Camp has been helping me come out of my bubble and meet more people, life wont always give you good people, that’s why the friends you make are special. Camp is my second home. When I am old, I will always remember that camp is what made me prepared for my adult years. In my heart, in every drop of blood in my body, I love Camp Haiastan. In all the years to come, I will thank Camp for all its given me. When I have children, as soon as they turn eight, I will send them here and in hopes that their children will come as well and learn what I have learned. Thanks to this camp, I will make tight bonds with other people, no matter how old I am, it’s the friendships that last.”

—Siran Toufayan


The New Youth

“I first started coming to camp when I was nine years old, and every year I come back for many reasons. One of the most important reasons to me is making new friends and reconnecting with old friends. You get to meet friends from all around the world. Camp Haiastan is a place where I take advantage of being Armenian and learn more about my culture and where I came from. Every day of camp teaches me something new about my culture. Camp holds a very special place in my heart. Without Camp Haiastan, I wouldn’t have been the person that I am today. It helps me remember that I am the new ‘youth’ generation of Armenians and that if I don’t know my heritage, the Armenian culture and nation will die out.”

—Nora Tarbinian

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Founded in 1933, The Armenian Youth Federation is an international, non-profit, youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). The AYF-YOARF Eastern United States stands on five pillars that guide its central activities and initiatives: Educational, Hai Tahd, Social, Athletic and Cultural. The AYF also promotes a fraternal attitude of respect for ideas and individuals amongst its membership. Unity and cooperation are essential traits that allow members of the organization to work together to realize the AYF’s objectives.

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Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Cabin Fever: Notes From Camp, Part II