Articles

SECOND YEAR OF AGBU “ANTRANIK” SCOUT CAMP

For the second consecutive year Armenian General Benevolent Union’s “Antranik” Scout Camp opened its doors in Armenia. “Antranik” scout camp is one of the several youth projects implemented by the Union in the Republic of Armenia. The opening ceremony took place on July 15 on AGBU’s private campsite in Lermontovo village of Lori region, Armenia. Over 200 scouts from AGBU branches in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and California, plus the AGBU scouts of Armenia, participated in this year’s camping. “Antranik” Scout Camp is supervised by Kevork Santourian, Executive Secretary of the AGBU Armenian Youth Association (AYA) Lebanon. AGBU scout team of Armenia and AGBU Armenian Representation staff actively participated in the preparatory works at the campsite. The July 15 opening ceremony started with the prayer of the Father Sassoun Zumrookhdian, Vicar-General of Daoush region, who also delivered a short requiem ceremony for the victims of the Caspian Airlines flight between Tehran and Yerevan which crashed that same day, killing 169 passengers and crew members. Among the plane crash victims were two sisters, Shogher and Nairi Stepanian, who were scouts in the AGBU Tehran chapter. The ceremony, which included the scout oath and a flag-raising ceremony, was attended by a number of Lori regional authorities, clergymen from the local Gugarats Diocese, AGBU Armenian Representation members, and other guests from Yerevan. The fire ceremony of the first round of the “Antranik” scout camp took place on July 25 attended by AGBU Central Board member Vasken Yacoubian, AGBU Armenian Representation Director Ashot Ghazarian, parents, guests and officials from Lori region. An opening speech was made by Hovig Eordekian, AGBU Armenian Representation Deputy Director. The scouts demonstrated their skills. The atmosphere was filled with singing, dancing, recitation and different scout games. Mr. Santourian spoke about the importance of this program, which brings hundreds of Diasporan youths to Armenia and gives them a wonderful opportunity to get acquainted with their homeland and communicate with their peers in Armenia. Besides the ordinary camp activities and educational talks the AGBU scouts also went sightseeing visiting the Holy See of St. Etchmiadzin, the Tsitsernakabert memorial, watching the ruins of Ani from across the border as well as getting acquainted with the historical-cultural monuments of Armenia. During their stay in Armenia the AGBU scouts met with the children of “Tsitsernak” camp in Gougarats region and the students of the Arabkir Childrens’ Center of Yerevan, who had organized two performances especially for the scouts. The participants of the scout camp also visited one of the military units of the Armenian national army, got acquainted with the everyday activities of the soldiers and participated jointly in certain exercises. In the end the Scouts said goodbye to the campsite and to each other and returned to their hometowns with a distinct goal to return to Armenia next year. AGBU intends to improve the conditions and substructures at camp “Antranik” to attract more scouts from abroad.