John Mangassarian, July 23 (Photo: Arev Kaligian)
Camper's Corner

My Heartfelt Thanks to Camp Haiastan

Today there was an eerie quiet in our home. The music and laughter from last Saturday’s Camp Haiastan 70th anniversary gala have faded. Our guests have all gone home. It’s a little reminiscent of those days following our summers at camp. When you arrived home after a long fun-filled summer at camp, I remember there was a sad empty feeling. As I replay the gala weekend in my mind, there is plenty to think about as old friendships were rekindled and old stories got further exaggerated.

I was so deeply humbled as I stood at the podium Saturday in front of so many people who have done so much for the place we all love. To stand there with two lifelong friends, friends that I first met at camp over 50 years ago, made it even more special. There were so many people to thank that I know I came up short, so I would like to use this open letter of thanks to right that wrong.

John Mangassarian, July 23 (Photo: Arev Kaligian)
John Mangassarian, July 23 (Photo: Arev Kaligian)

My heartfelt thanks go out to the gala committee for their hard work putting on such a great event. Making sure 500 Armenians are happy at the same time is an impossible task, but they pulled it off.

Thank you to the camp board, first and foremost, for working tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that our camp is of the highest caliber and to continue the wonderful tradition of a wholesome camp experience for everyone under their care. Through their efforts, it remains the greatest place on earth. I know your job seems as if it is thankless at times. You only need to go visit camp when it is in session and open your eyes, and you will get all the thanks you will ever need.

Then there are the obvious thanks for recognizing three friends, as well as myself, for our contributions. I know I speak for Baron Pete Jelalian, Unger Richie Krikorian and Ungerouhi Muriel “Mimi” Parseghian when I say that none of us needs the kind words or recognition. Our reward is to be able to be around the countless friends and acquaintances that camp has graced us with. Even more so, our reward is simply when camp opens its doors each season. There is no value that you can put on those things.

Finally, thank you to executive director Kenar Charchaflian and caretaker John Miller for allowing me to continue to be part of Camp Haiastan’s 70-year dynasty.

This article was original published on The Armenian Weekly.


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