One of the important projects that AMAA has supported for many years is the Summer Camp Programs worldwide – in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. These programs are designed to share the love of Jesus with children and youth in practical ways — learning, enhancing their talents, socializing, meeting new friends and being nourished in a Christian atmosphere of tender loving care.
The Summer Camp Program in Armenia started in 1989, at the end of the Communism era. A team of Armenian Evangelicals from France participated in a government run camp in Dzaghgatzor. This was the first Christian Camp Program held in a former Communist Armenia camp.
During the summer of 1991, volunteers from Canada and other countries were sent to Armenia by the AMAA to organize Day Camps in different locations in cooperation with local Evangelical churches.
The following year, in 1992, the AMAA organized its own camps in Armenia and Artsakh in rented facilities for hundreds of children, youth and young adults. Volunteers from France, Canada and the Middle East helped plan, organize and execute these camps.
In 2003 the AMAA acquired two camp sites (Camp Sheen-Shoghig in Hankavan, Armenia and Camp Bedrosian in Shushi, Artsakh). With the collaboration of the Evangelical Church of Armenia, in addition to these two camps, the AMAA also operates over 35 Day Camps in regions throughout the Homeland. These camps are pivotal for the strengthening of the Evangelical Church of Armenia. Scores of lives are changed, and many Evangelical Christian workers track their spiritual roots to those camps.
Liana, a current Camp Counselor at Camp Sheen-Shoghig in Hankavan, was a camper as a teenager. “When I first came to the Camp, I was still a teenager,” says Liana. “Looking at my Camp counselors, in my heart I had a great desire to be a leader like them in the camp and bring my small contribution with my service.” Not many years passed, and Liana’s dream has come true. Today she serves in a children’s camp. “This service is very important to me because I can help children with my knowledge and personal example,” says Liana.
Arsen comes from a large family of 3 children, father, mother, grandfather and grandmother. He attends the Gyumri “Shogh” Center and receives support for his special needs. This is the third year that Arsen is attending the Sheen-Shoghig Camp in Hankavan. “Despite being a hyperactive child, Arsen listens attentively to all the Biblical teachings” said his Camp group leader. “I witnessed Arsen’s change day-by-day. He doesn’t argue with friends anymore and shares what he has with them.” Arsen loves his Camp leaders very much. “They are very caring and are ready to help us all in all matters,” says Arsen. “When I go home, I’ll miss my Camp and all the Camp leaders. I will look forward to next summer when I will be able to see my friends, leaders, and most importantly, learn more about Jesus.”
Christine is in the AMAA’s Sponsorship Program in Gyumri, Armenia which has been supporting Christine and her family for several years. Christine participates in most of the AMAA’s Children’s Programs. It has been two years since she began attending the Summer Camp Program in Sheen-Shoghig Camp in Hankavan. Christine is an active, energetic and friendly child who participates in the Camp programs with great enthusiasm. “I like participating in the games a lot and I also like the programs and performances that are presented in the Assembly Hall,” says Christine. “The performances are funny, but also educational. One can learn a lot from them. I wish the camp days were longer. I will definitely be back to Sheen-Shoghig Camp next year.”
Through the kindness and generosity of our donors, the AMAA will continue this most important ministry for Armenia’s new generation.