As the countdown came close to months of prior planning, AYF Day in Orange County was a huge success. Upon driving through the agoump gates, worrying about having enough water, enough food and music, worrying about if the kids will have fun, I am happy to report that we had over two hundred members present in one community center. I do not remember the last time an event like this took place.
AYF Day was open to all AYF Juniors and Seniors, and all proceeds are to be donated to Orange County AYF Ashod Yergat chapter’s Gyumri Campaign. The day was filled with activities, discussions, competitions, an oath ceremony, a dinner party, and of course, the singing of our revolutionary songs. Unger Vaché Thomassian was the gnkahaiyr to over ninety Juniors who gave their oath.
The Juniors and Seniors were split up into four teams: Red, Blue, Orange and White-white symbolizing Artsakh. All the games were organized by the Orange County Aghpiur Serop Junior executive members. Everyone’s favorite game seemed to be the big water balloon toss which consisted of over 160 people.
This event allowed for an opportunity to build a bridge between the AYF Juniors and Seniors. All the educationals were given by our AYF Seniors. Dikran Khodanian, Puzant Berberian, Christina Bastagian, Kareen Shatikian, and Marissa Bazikian, who participated in Youth Corps this year, gave the Juniors insight on what Youth Corps is, why the program exists, and how their experience was. The Juniors saw the vision that they are a part of a family that is greater than themselves, and that anything they set their minds to is possible.
Berj Parseghian spoke about current events in Artsakh, followed by Razmig Sarkissian who led a discussion and activity on social identity. While the older Juniors participated in this discussion, our younger Juniors received a dance lesson and learned Armenian dances led by Ani Garibyan.
This event was possible because it started out as a chapter resolution in our Orange County Aghpiur Serop Junior chapter. Their director, Nairy Cherchian, was the backbone to making this resolution into reality.
Everyone who participated and had fun all had separate tasks. Both Juniors and Seniors worked together in unison. Whether one was in charge of music, leading the teams’ calls, giving an educational, leading the revolutionary songs, DJ-ing the dinner party (special thanks to DJ Move On (Vahn Apardian)), serving food, picking up trash, or simply playing cards and bonding with the Juniors, everyone’s presence shed light into making the event bigger and better than any AYF Day that I have ever been to.
The smiles on the faces of the Juniors were priceless. By 10:30 p.m., it seemed as though no one wanted to leave. We look forward to more events like this in our future.
The Armenian Youth Federation has once again illustrated time and time again to lead our youth through its pillars: educational, political, social, cultural and athletics.
“If you want to predict and see the future of a people, then look at its youth”-Karekin Njteh