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Mission

AYF Camp was established to provide an opportunity for Armenian youth living in the Diaspora to learn their history, reconnect with their heritage and foster life-long friendships. Today, the unique program includes social, cultural and educational activities that promote healthy development and strengthen Armenian identity within our youth.

 
 
 The YMCA Big Pines Lodge during 1977-1978 prior to renovations for AYF Camp Big Pines

The YMCA Big Pines Lodge during 1977-1978 prior to renovations for AYF Camp Big Pines

About AYF Camp

Located in the Angeles National Forest near the city of Wrightwood, AYF Camp is 11.5 acres of beautiful forestland with facilities to accommodate up to 150 campers and staff each week.

In 1969, the AYF Camp program was founded on the West Coast with an inaugural one week session with 35 campers. AYF members found and purchased the Camp Big Pines campground in 1977 where the AYF Camp program has been running ever since.

The Armenian Youth Federation Summer Camp of California provides a great atmosphere for young Armenians between the ages of seven and seventeen to make new friends, become better acquainted with Armenian history and culture, and participate in a wide array of activities. Each year, Armenian youth from all over the United States, Canada, and other countries make AYF Summer Camp an integral part of their summer agenda. The Armenian Youth Federation would like to make AYF Summer Camp a part of every child’s summer, and invites any interested youth to join our fun.

Over the years, the AYF Camp program has grown from one week to eight and from 35 campers to over 900, but a few trademark traditions haven’t changed. Wacky Olympics, Educationals, Butt Volleyball, Quiz Bowl, Egg Toss, Steal the Bacon and more are still staple activities every summer. The staff has always been purely volunteer and remains that way. AYF Camp continues to be a place for Armenian youth to learn about Armenian history, heritage, Hai Tad, and make friendships that last a lifetime.


AYF Camp 1969-Present

1969 - AYF National Convention Fresno, California - Implementation of West Coast Camp approved

1970 - Camp De Benniville Pines - held one week with 35 campers

1971 - Camp Colby - camp expanded to two weeks

1972 - Camp Kessab / AYF Convention Cleveland, Ohio - approved seed money for purchase of campground on West Coast

1973 - Camp Saint Nicholas

1974 - Camp Cachuma

1975 - Camp Saint Nicholas

1976 - Camp Saint NIcholas

1977 - Camp Arbolado / AYF Central Executive approved purchase of Camp Big Pines

1977-1978 - Volunteers from local ARF chapters did renovations for first session of camp at Camp Big Pines

1978 - First session at Camp Big Pines

1978-2018 - AYF Camp Big Pines has grown to become the largest and oldest Armenian Youth Summer Camp in the Western United States.

 Founders Khachig Khachigian, Vahe Injeyan, and Khajag Sheetelian

Founders Khachig Khachigian, Vahe Injeyan, and Khajag Sheetelian


 The first group at AYF Camp Big Pines in 1978

The first group at AYF Camp Big Pines in 1978

AYF Camp Today

Since 1977, AYF Camp has become a home to hundreds of campers, who spend time participating in activities, learning about Armenian culture and history, and making friendships that last a lifetime. For over three decades, campers and counselors alike have grown to love AYF Camp, and return to their home away from home. AYF Camp is 11.5 acres of beautiful forestland located in the Angeles National Forest near the city of Wrightwood. The newly renovated cabins, restrooms and swimming pool create a cozy atmosphere for the youth who attend AYF Camp every summer!

We should probably add another paragraph here talking about more present things.