By Taylor Manookian Gregory
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
Mid-June through early August is the favorite time of year for many Armenian children who attend any of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America summer camps. One of these popular sleepaway camps is St. Vartan Camp, at the Diocese Ararat Center, in Greenville, NY, and the 2023 summer session just finished on August 5.
This year marks the second time that the camp is back in person after the COVID lockdown of 2020. St. Vartan Camp has welcomed a new director: Arpi Kouzouian, known as Yeretzgin by all the campers since she is the wife of Rev. Vasken Kouzouian. However, Kouzouian technically isn’t a new director since she is only returning to the role after an 18-year absence.
“My first year at St. Vartan Camp in 1995 was the camp’s last year at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Conn.,” Kouzouian said. “I started off as a counselor that first year, and then quickly expanded my role to eventually become Director of Programming by our second year at the Marvelwood School in Kent, Conn.”
By 1999, she and Rev. Vasken were working for the Diocese as Directors of the Department of Youth Ministry and ran St. Vartan in the summers. In 2000, they were able to get the camp program expanded in order to accommodate double the number of campers by offering a second session. Finally, in 2004, they were able to move St. Vartan to its permanent base in Greenville and expand the camp to three sessions by 2005. This three-session structure is still in place to this day.