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AGBU ANTRANIK SCOUT CAMP OPENS ITS DOORS TO THE UNION’S WORLDWIDE SCOUTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nestled in the picturesque hills of Lori, the AGBU Antranik Scout Camp opened its doors for the 7th consecutive year to 220 scouts from Lebanon, Syria, Georgia, United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria and Armenia. Archbishop Sepouh Chuljyan, Primate of the Gugark Diocese, addressed the Scouts during the opening ceremony, “We should reflect and refresh our memories. In order to have a safe and secure present we must always look to the past. The scouts’ accomplishments, thanks to AGBU’s support, are what our forefathers wished but were tragically unable to realize. Our generation owes a debt of gratitude to the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide. They longed to see this country, live and work here, but, unfortunately, they could not. Today, you, their grandchildren and great-grand-children are standing here instead of them.” A typical day for the scouts started with morning exercises and a flag-raising ceremony, followed by breakfast, cleaning of the tent and the surrounding area, hikes, lectures and games. In the evenings the scouts enjoyed their supper, singing and dancing around to the campfire and concluded the day with the flag-lowering ceremony. In addition to their regular, daily activities, the scouts also went sightseeing and visited various AGBU programs carried out in Armenia. “The AGBU Scout Camp, as well as the rest of AGBU’s youth programs, are not isolated projects. They, as a group, serve to enhance the experience of Armenia. The participants learn the principles of scouting and the overall atmosphere of the camp and their activities strengthens their ties to the Homeland”, mentioned AGBU Interim Director Hovig Eordekian. The annual gathering is a unique opportunity for Diaspora-Armenian youth to see their Homeland, its historical museums and places of interest, as well as connect with their peers from around the world. Unforgettable days spent under the open skies and the everyday challenges they face and overcome together serves to strengthen them as individuals and Scouts. They also put these experiences, strength and discipline toward volunteer community projects. During the program, scouts also visited Etchmiadzin, Geghard, Sevan, Haghpat, Goshavank and Lake Gosh, Tsitsernakabert and Matenadaran. Visits to AGBU Yerevan Office and AGBU Armenian Virtual College, as well as AGBU and Mother Holy See of Etchmiadzin Children’s Center were also organized. RA Minister of Diaspora Hranoush Hakobyan hosted the scouts at the RA Ministry of Diaspora. “We applaud the Armenian General Benevolent Union for coordinating this activity, as the youth living in the Diaspora should not only hear about the Homeland from abroad, they should visit and feel it for themselves. These projects are of great importance for establishing ties between the Diaspora youth and the Homeland. This is the most important thing for preserving their identity, keeping them closer to their roots and Homeland”,said the minister. Despite the similarities of the program, every year Antranik makes changes to their activities to ensure an interesting and unforgettable camp experience. Such an experience was offered to scouts this year in Gyumri, where they had the unique opportunity to be present at the ‘Kohar’ Ensemble rehearsals. An impressive day was spent at the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, where the scouts met students and staff and saw the many innovative activities that the center carries out. At TUMO all volunteers have the unique opportunity to find something that they are interested in ranging from computer games, animation and computer graphics, music, robotics to web design. On July 15th, keeping his promise, the Mayor of Lori Artur Nalbandyan, visited the AGBU Antranik Scout Camp and spent several wonderful hours with the scouts. On July 20th, the camp was full to the brim, for the Scout Camp’s first session fire ceremony. As well as the scouts, the ceremony was attended by the AGBU Yerevan Summer Internship Program (YSIP) and Musical Armenia Program (MAP) participants, AGBU members and friends, Interim Director Hovig Eordekian, many parents and guests. The AGBU Yerevan Scouts brass band once again performed brilliantly during the ceremony. This was a great opportunity for Diaspora-Armenian youth from various countries and backgrounds to get to know each other and spend another memorable day in the Homeland. Arsen Antonyan, a member of the scout movement, now serving in the army in Artsakh was recently awarded the “Most Valued Soldier” award in his unit and received five-days off, which he, without hesitation, decided to spend at his favourite AGBU Antranik Scout Camp. 100 scouts from AGBU Armenia scout group participated in the second session of the scout camp. The fire-ceremony of the second session took place on July 27, during which a traditional Armenian harisa was served to the guests, marking the end of the 7th “Antranik” scout camp. From July 9 to August 1, about 220 scouts enjoyed Armenia, got to see its historical monuments and enhanced their knowledge of the Homeland and in general, lived and breathed Armenia. Over the past seven years 2,300 AGBU scouts from all over the world have participated in “Antranik” Scout Camp.