Let us begin by introducing ourselves! We’re three AYF Youth Corps participants from Houston, Texas. Our names are Vahe, Nicole, and Nyrie, or as our fellow Youth Corps members call us, TEXAS. Many people think we come from a land of horses and cows, but little do they know that there is actually a small Armenian community there. Right now we’re in Martuni, Artsakh. We just completed our first day of AYF Camp…and we are so exhausted, both physically and mentally. Most people have the impression that working at a summer camp with kids will be a very fun and uplifting experience. Not that it wasn’t fun, but reality set hard the moment we said our first words to the kids, and almost instantly they mocked us because of our different dialect.
I (Nyrie) have worked with kids for three years, and I was still shocked by the way the kids here reacted to us. I don’t say this to make what we’re doing sound bad. It was definitely a great experience and I look forward to seeing how these kids grow in these upcoming two weeks that we have with them.
I (Nicole) was very worried coming into today considering my minimal language knowledge. I was happy to see
that I was still able to bond with the kids even though we did not pass more than a few sentences back and forth. They showed appreciation, excitement and affection after the intial giggles at my lack of proper vocabulary. While it may seem like these kids have tough skin, it was very obvious that they also have good hearts.
I (Vahe) noticed that while playing steal the bacon, they were so enthusiastic to show us their running skills. It showed us that even though they have been putting on a tough front, they really are excited that we are here with them. A camper even asked a Youth Corps member if we were going to come back next year. We’re excited to continue these next two weeks of camp with these kids and to get to know them better.
— Nicole Sabbagh, Nyrie Kasparian, and Vahe Ouzounian