Camp Javakhk 2015: Reflecting on a Successful Jampar
By U. Garo Sarajian
After talking to a friend who had just finished volunteering at Camp Javakhk last summer, I knew I wanted to participate in this four-year-old program. Now, as we prepare the campers of Akhaltsikha for their hantes, I wish that I could rewind time to the beginning of the jampar and do it all over again.
During my summers at AYF Camp Haiastan, I learned that I love working with kids. This summer, I learned that even though I didn’t have the year-to-year relationship with these campers like I did with those at Camp Haiastan, the bonds would be just as strong and the goodbyes just as difficult. These campers brought me to a level of exhaustion that I haven’t felt in years, but the smiles on their faces made it all worth it.
The first day of camp caught us off guard because we underestimated how much the campers knew in our first town. Their knowledge of our history, songs, dances, and English was much stronger than we anticipated. We revamped our program to challenge them more, but I learned a ton from them along the way. They taught me a Georgian dance for every “Pompuri” we taught them, and after introducing “Crazy Toes,” they showed me what “Dopkotski” is. I even picked up some new English words while here!
I know I’ll never forget the fun times I’ve had in Javakhk. I hope that all of the campers continue to be good friends after camp and keep on learning and growing, and I hope we’ve made a difference in each of their lives.