The 81st annual AYF-YOARF Convention took place Dec. 26-30, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. More than 30 delegates attended this year, and the event was highly productive and efficient. Each district in the AYF Eastern Region was well represented.
The weekend began on Fri., Dec. 26 with the opening of the Convention, the highest legislative body of the AYF Eastern Region. The body elected its committees for the next few days, reviewed the rules of parliamentary procedure, and explained the processes and agenda. Several chapter reports were given on Friday night and were concluded on Saturday. The Convention had a healthy mix of young and old members, ARF ungers and non-ARFers, and those who have been to many Conventions versus those experiencing it for the first time.
Delegates heard the tragic news of the passing of U. Vahan Hovannesian and dedicated the Convention to his memory and other fallen ungers.
Saturday morning began with the presentation of the Central Executive (CE) report. The Convention welcomed presentations from several sister organizations and groups, including the ARF, ARS, Homenetmen, ANCA Eastern Region, Camp Haiastan, the AYF Olympics Governing Body, and the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee. The AYF-YOARF would like to once again thank those guests for taking time out of their busy lives to speak to our delegates.
The Convention body throughout the weekend created and passed many significant resolutions that will be implemented in 2015 and will challenge the AYF. The delegates also challenged each other to think outside the box, especially with 2015 being a paramount year for all Armenians. New and thoughtful exercises were carried out this year by the tivans that were a breath of fresh air and well received by the group.
The delegates enjoyed a warm welcome and hearty meal prepared by the New Jersey ARS “Bergen County” Chapter on Sunday night. After sitting in a sterile conference room for days, the dinner was just what everyone needed. The ARS was gracious in offering the AYF a full meal (the first many had after several meals consisting of Chipotle and Wendy’s) and great company. The delegates even got up on stage at Sts. Vartanantz Church and took a group photo before randomly bursting into song to the tune of the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” (circa 1999). Raffi Rachdouni from the Providence “Varantian” Chapter led the way as our talented pianist. The night will be remembered fondly specific to this New Jersey Convention.
The final task of the Convention was to elect a new Central Executive. The newly elected CE is comrpised of Michelle Hagopian, Raffi Yaboujian, and Nairi Khatchatourian (Greater Boston “Nejdeh”); Garo Tashian and Hrag Arakelian (Providence “Varantian”); Kenar Charchaflian (Worcester “Aram”); and Ara Sarajian (New Jersey “Arsen”).
As we begin 2015, the Central Executive of the AYF Eastern Region is confident in the abilities of the AYF-YOARF membership. It is our hope that the AYF will mark this pivotal year in great fashion, and we look forward to what our members will accomplish now and moving forward.