Thirteen-year-old Mkhitar Iskandaryan suffers from nerve pain in his leg. With the recommendation of his doctors, and with the help of FAR, Mkhitar was sent to Aparan Summer Resort Camp over the summer to get some more physical activity.

“It’s very lovely here,” said the teenager. “We dance and play various games. We are free to forgo our afternoon naps, which is cool, and when it’s too sunny outside we try to play indoor games in the afternoon.”

Mkhitar likes to play intellectual and word games with his peers. His parents run their own farm in the Tavush Province. The third child, he is the youngest in the family. “I would also love to come here next year, if possible,” he said, noting that without FAR’s help his family couldn’t afford summer camp.

This year, FAR started supporting the Aparan Summer Resort Camp with the help of the SJS Foundation, and as a result the summer camp was able to expand its capacity by hosting 10 additional children, and 130 in total. FAR also provided additional resources to the camp’s game store and library. Children are now provided with an opportunity to play multiple games aimed to boost their cognitive skills, logic and physical activities. FAR supplied the camp with a new projector, a sewing machine, three bicycles and two more beds.

Camp Manager Armine Episkoposyan said that toys and games were the most highly demanded items at camp. “We needed them most because we used to have only one sample before. By the time the kids were finished using it, it was either half broken or destroyed. Now, we even have a backup and can replace the broken toys with new ones.”

According to Episkoposyan, the camp aims to provide children with different health and developmental problems with the opportunity to play in a clean and calm environment. Most importantly, the camp also helps children with autism to integrate. “Children get rest here. The children with autism who usually do not communicate start playing with other campers just a few days after their arrival,” she said.

This year, the Aparan Camp ran from July 22nd until August 23rd. Each session was broken down into groups of about 32 children.

The camp manager explained that supervisors take an individual approach to everyone and play with every child one-on-one for 40 minutes a day; the kids also play group games: “We highlight the importance of both group and individual games in our agenda,” said Episkoposyan.

“The games and toys purchased by FAR are a huge support to us and the children,” added Camp Leader Varduhi Aghayan.