The last day at Aragats Summer Camp was a sad day indeed for the kids who had to bid farewell to twenty carefree days spent surrounded by mountains and green forests in one of the most beautiful areas of Armenia.

For the third year in a row, FAR, with help from the SJS Foundation , has made it possible for many socially vulnerable children, orphans, kids from single-parent families, and Syrian-Armenian refugees, to get the true summer camp experience at Aragats. This year, the camp hosted 138 children from Shirak, Syunik, Tavush, and Ararat provinces, as well as from Yerevan. All of these kids already had FAR’s support through either the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP), the Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP), the FAR Children’s Center, or any of the various programs aimed at helping Syrian-Armenians.

Ani Chalian, supervisor of the Syrian group, vigorously described the jam-packed activities and entertainment in which all 16 children took part. “I feel fortunate to have led the Syrian-Armenian group for the second time and to have engaged them in theater shows, painting, and dances, as many of them were initially shy to interact. Together with the kids, we learned plenty of morning group exercises, exposed new talents, and celebrated birthdays, among other things,” remarked Ani, who pointed out 12-year-old Sevak from Aleppo who spent his birthday at camp.
Erik Mkrtchyan, 14, was among the new talents from Goris who transformed white poster board into a piece of art demonstrating his idea of a “Peace Planet,” for nations and folks throughout the world. A CASP beneficiary himself, Erik said that he used his CASP support to buy his school supplies and drawing materials.

“The camp provided the children with a hands-on curriculum that integrated social interaction, literacy, music and arts, self-confidence, and community building, along with the practice of public speech, recitation, and self-representation,” said Gohar Khachatryan, 21, another group leader and former FAR Gulamerian Scholarship student.

The Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP) is a FAR project sponsored by the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP) is a multidimensional FAR project addressing child poverty in the region of Tavush, sponsored by the Edward and Helen Mardigian Foundation.

The FAR Children’s Center is sponsored by the Edward and Helen Mardigian Foundation, the Friends of the FAR Children’s Center (U.S.), and the Children’s Center Circle of Friends (Armenia).