The AGBU Antranik Scout Camp, carried out within the framework of AGBU Summer Youth Programs, runs two sessions each summer in the Lermontovo Valley, in Armenia’s Lori region. This year, participants of the 6th annual camp included 300 male and female Scouts, ranging in age from 13-18. Under the able and dedicated leadership of Kevork Santourian, Executive Director of AGBU-AYA of Lebanon, the Scouts enjoyed the nature of their homeland, visited historical sites, enriched their knowledge, and became inspired. Life-long friendships were rekindled and new ones were made. Santourian has been the driving force behind the AGBU Antranik Scout Camp in Armenia since its inception in 2007. About 2,000 Scouts have participated and benefited from his guidance and experience. A typical day for the Scouts included morning exercises and a flag-raising ceremony, followed by breakfast, tent and territory cleaning, hikes, lectures, games and supper. In the evenings, Scouts enjoyed their campfire, while singing, dancing and sharing their daily impressions, before lowering the flag. In addition to their regular, daily activities, Scouts traveled around the country to visit beautiful and historic sites such as the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum, Garni Temple, Geghard Monastery, Goshavank Monastery, Haghartsin Monastery, Lake Gosh, Lake Sevan, and St. Etchmiadzin. The Scouts spent an unforgettable day at the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies. They met with staff and students, became acquainted with the center’s activities, and watched videos made by Tumo students. Scouts visited a military unit in Vanadzor, where they met officers and soldiers, and learned weapons-handling skills. Scouts visited AGBU Armenia office, learned about Armenian Virtual College, and attended an impressive performance by the children at AGBU and Holy Etchmiadzin’s Nork Children’s Center. During the first session (July 13-25), around 140 AGBU Scouts from Batumi, Beirut, Tbilisi and Tehran participated. Archbishop Sepouh Chuljyan, Primate of the Gugark Diocese, addressed the Scouts during the opening ceremony. The end of their camp session was marked on July 21 with the traditional Fire Ceremony. AGBU representatives, including AGBU Armenia Director Arpi Vartanian, and many guests from Yerevan attended. Archbishop Chuljyan, Vartanian and AGBU-AYA Lebanon Board member Vatche Melkonyan together lit the traditional bonfire. “Our numbers grow every year. But our greatest strengths lie in our spirit and souls, in our Union's history and its brilliant future. These youth will create the future of our Union while carrying on the legacy left by AGBU's founders, benefactors and members for over a century,” said Kevork Santourian. During the festivities, the newly formed 25-member marching band of AGBU Yerevan’s Scout group performed for the first time, under the leadership of Garen Dirarian, former Head of the AGBU Yerevan Scout Movement. During the second camp session (July 26-August 6), about 150 Scouts from Armenia, Javakh and Syria gathered in northern Armenia. Their closing Fire Ceremony was held on August 4. More than 400 parents and friends attending made the approximately 2-hour drive from Yerevan to join the Scouts. Some dedicated parents and supporters joined the Scouts early in the morning to prepare harisa and serve it to Scouts and guests. At both Fire Ceremonies, participants of other AGBU summer programs - Yerevan Summer Internship Program, Musical Armenia Program and Arménie, Terre de Vie - joined the festivities.


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