I don’t think people always fully appreciate and understand the greatness of Armenian youth organizations. It’s been almost a full year since I participated in the Homenetmen scouts jamboree where I met new people and formed friendships that would have otherwise never have been formed. The bonds made would last a lifetime, but I sadly left Armenia believing that I would probably never see most of these people again.
And now, a year later, I’m in Armenia once again, this time with the AYF Youth Corps program. While walking up Tumanyan street, I ran into one of the scouts from Armenia that I became friends with last year at the jamboree camp, Karen. It’s difficult and a little cheesy to explain, but I felt such joy in seeing my “yeghbair” once again. After a year of thinking I would only see my friend over facebook, I feel a little ecstatic about this reunification. And none of this wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for the AYF.
Most people can’t relate to bonds and friendships formed as a result of organizations like the Armenian Youth Federation or Homenetmen, but those who can I think really understand how I feel. Most of the time, it seems these organizations have selfless goals and are based on hard working individuals volunteering their time and resources while expecting little in return other than the satisfaction of contributing to the greater good of their community. I think I now understand that it’s much more than that satisfaction of helping others. It’s relationships formed and new experiences made that are the real rewards for the individual working within these organizations. If it wasn’t for either of these organizations, I would never had these experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.