After the camps wrapped up and after the long, sad flight back home from Armenia, the most common theme among the 2011 AYF Youth Corps participants was having the ability and confidence to say, I made a difference. Whether it be one child or twenty, I know I had some type of influence on them and felt I made an impact.
This is what the AYF Youth Corps program is all about: making a difference. Not only on the campers but also, unknowingly, on yourself. Its about discovering a life outside of the comfort of your bubble; finding out how independent and strong-willed you really are; and, by learning something new every day, to empower the people around you.
By the time six weeks pass, the program leaves you with an improved version of yourself, constantly seeking new ways to continue improving. Your bubble will burst; youll see life in a new way and realize theres more to the world than your surroundings.
To be able to live in Armenia is an experience all on its own. Six weeks may be short, but in reality its just enough time to plant roots in the country, yearning to do more once you come back. Dont be surprised if you find yourself planning your return trip while youre still in the program. It becomes an addiction thats worth being dependent upon.
Today, eight months later, I still remember the ecstatic looks on our campers faces every morning, the words of gratitude for our time spent with them, and the gripping hugs the day our session was over. These children become a part of you, the people you see on a daily basis become your friends and family, and the country becomes your home. I smile just thinking about it, and whenever I speak to someone about my experience, I end up trying to convince them to apply as well.
So I leave you with this: if youre seeking a change from your ordinary ritualistic life, drop what youre doing and apply to the Youth Corps program. You get so much more out of it than you put in, while making a difference that will echo for years to come.
So believe in yourself and apply today. Believe that you can be the change that is so desperately needed, and constantly tell yourself, I can make a difference.
Applications for the Karekin Njdeh Future Leaders Program are now available online. The comprehensive internship program is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in the fields of public administration and public relations, while learning about strategic planning, human resource management, program development, social media advertising, and political activism.
Through the Karekin Njdeh internship program, the AYF is paving the way for young Armenians to advance themselves and their nation, says AYF member and former internship coordinator Niree Kodaverdian.
Ideal candidates are outstanding high school or college students with a strong interest in social issues, excellent research skills, and possess the ability to complete assignments in a timely manner. During the 6-week long internship, participants are given an inside look at the AYF, gaining experience in working for a non-profit organization, leading projects, and compiling research. Interns also partake in a lecture series, unique outings, and various career building workshops.
Interns will also be assigned a personally-tailored final project which they will present at a closing ceremony at the conclusion of their internship. The final project is designed around the interns career goals, with the intent of helping advance the Armenian Cause.
Participants in the Karekin Njdeh Future Leaders Program not only gain leadership skills, but expand their network, boost their resume, and receive a certificate of completion.
Interested students should email their completed application form, resume, and brief personal statement to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15th.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian-American youth organization in the United States working to advance the social, political, educational, and cultural awareness of Armenian-American youth..
“One thing that comes to mind, which puts the entire trip into context for me is this; we were almost at the end of our trip, on our way to the last housing we would stay at together (a hostel in Yerevan). My pants were torn from the hike up to the peak of Arakadz, half my face sunburned from taking a nap next to some rocks on the hike down, and generally exhausted from the long journey that was this summer, and suddenly, I started singing to myself. “Verkerov lii, jan fedayi enk, taparagaan dooon choonenk…”
Thats when I stopped, and thought to myself, “that line describes us.” We had a rare opportunity, to go from Yerevan to Artsakh, to Gyumri, to Javakhk, to Broshian and now back to Yerevan again, meet comrades from all over this country and from all over the world, develop friendships with all of them, have deep meaningful conversations, drink to heartfelt toasts, and sing songs of our ancestors together. We had the opportunity to share messages of justice and hope with the children at our day camps, through the stories we told and the songs we taught, to leave lasting (and hopefully exemplary) impressions upon them, and to learn so much from the process and from our interactions with every person we met.To record our work through media interviews, blog writing, video recording and to share it with the local and international community in the hopes of inspiring further action. Always in constant motion, moving from one place to the next, in the brief flash that was that summer.
And that line of Verkerov Li is just that. The legacy of our fedayis, the Tashnagtsagans of the 1890s who traveled from city to city, village to village, spreading the same message, through the same ways, that we were also lucky enough to be a part of.” If you want to experience what Khachig did, make sure to fill out your application now! www.ayfyouthcorps.org/apply …applications are due March 31st!
On the evening of February 12, the AYF and People for People Foundation hosted a special cultural celebration featuring Armenias award-winning Karin Folk Song & Dance Ensemble. Hundreds of community members, both young and old, turned out for the free event and danced the steps of their forefathers.
Fittingly, the Karin Ensemble made their entrance by dancing into the St. Marys Armenian Church lotwhere the event was heldwith full traditional garb and their own three-member musical team. The electrifying entrance captivated the audience and touched the soul of the participants early on.
Attendees then joined the groups dances throughout the evening, not only learning about the meaning of these traditional Armenian movements but taking part directly in them.
Several members of the ensemble currently remain in Southern California where they are teaching these traditional dances to help preserve them within the Diaspora. Free practice lessons are available to those who wish to carry on the groups work here locally.
Dance practices will be held on the evenings of March 4th and 9th at the Glendale Hamazkayin Center (407 E. Colorado Blvd, Glendale) and at the Orange County Armenian Center (5305 W. McFadden Ave, Santa Ana) on March 5th and 6th.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the heroic liberation of Shushi, the AYF is raising money to aid veterans of the Artsakh war still dealing with combat injuries. A special, limited edition tee has just been released as part of the campaign.
The With Our Soldiers crewneck features the campaigns graphic on the front (courtesy of Roger Kupelian) and the slogan Honoring the Heroes Who Served Our Nation beneath the back collar. The price is $15, with all proceeds going to the medical needs of veterans of the Artsakh war in Armenia.
By purchasing a shirt today, you will be standing by the side of our valiant freedom fighters and giving back to them for all they have given us.
This years annual ARF Badanegan Seminar dedicated its four-day gathering at AYF Camp to the victorious liberation of Artsakh and the freedom fighters who made it possible. Over 120 young participants from throughout California came together for the weekend to learn about the history, geography, people, government, and struggle of Artsakh.
The energy level throughout the weekend was inspiring, explains Berj Parseghian, a member of the Pasadena Nigol Touman AYF and one of the three directors for the weekend. The badanees taught me a lot about the meaning of identity and contributing to not only our Cause, but all of humanity.
The seminar agenda was packed with activities including lectures, a quizbowl, talent show, film screening, song recitals, and scavenger hunt. The topics discussed ranged from an Artsakhs history and geography to a comparison of the 1988 liberation movement with the recent Arab Spring uprisings.
Unique to this years seminar was the involvement of two veterans of the Artsakh war, who shared their stories and experiences with the captivated badanees. They spoke about their involvement in ARF battalions that went to the front in Artsakh and succeeded in liberating areas such as Shushi against all odds. They also stressed the importance of youth in the movement and about the role of the Diaspora in sending assistance to the struggle.
Both veterans and other speakers during the weekend mentioned the importance of the AYFs With Our Soldiers campaign, an initiative launched this year to create awareness about Artsakhs liberation and to honor the heroes who fought for it. Funds raised through the campaign will go toward assisting veterans of the Artsakh war still suffering from combat injuries.
This seminar was incredibly inspiring for me, says Vache Thomassian, another of the co-directors at the Seminar and Chair of the ARF Shant Student Association. It was a chance to meet the next generation of AYF members and have in-depth discussions with them about our history and our future, all while having a great time.”