Camp Nubar gets $175,000 in new donations

Camp Nubar gets $175,000 in new donations

Published: Sunday August 04, 2013

A group photo at Camp Nubar.

NEW YORK – AGBU Camp Nubar continues to receive generous contributions
in honor of its 50th anniversary from families who understand
firsthand that anyone who spends a summer there will come home with
renewed pride in his or her Armenian heritage, and new friends from
all corners of the world.

Most recently, Nishan (Pete) and Elizabeth Apelian of New York donated
$30,000 to purchase new lakefront docks, and Jack and Carol Margossian
of New Jersey donated $20,000 toward overall camp improvement.

Nishan Apelian dedicated a full decade to Camp Nubar as a committee
member beginning in the early 1970’s because he believed that
supporting Armenian youth was the best way to preserve and perpetuate
his heritage, and that the camp was the ideal venue for young Armenian
Americans to interact, relate with one another and share their
cultural values in a fun environment. As a result, his three children
– Chuck, Denise and Pat – all attended camp.

Their memorable summers began in 1968 (Chuck and Pat) and 1970
(Denise), when the program had just moved to its present site. Chuck
was a senior counselor for two years and taught camp craft, during
which time his team built a large lookout tower. Denise started at the
age of eight and went on to become a CIT (counselor in training) and a
junior counselor; she taught ceramics and karate.

Pat, however, was the most involved – after attending as a camper for
some years, she was a staff member for five years and became the
girls’ head counselor in 1976. She ran the camp’s newspaper (Fall
Clove Journal) and printed copies with a mimeograph machine donated by
her father. In addition, she was among a group of four girls who
started the music and drama program – the campers would stage
productions of The King and I, The Sound of Music and other musicals.

Her college application essay was about Camp Nubar, and after
graduating with her degree, she joined the camp committee for the next
ten years; for a few of those years, she also served as the treasurer.
By this point, the camp had grown exponentially, and at least half the
committee comprised former campers who loved their alma mater so much
they dedicated their spare time to ensuring its longevity. Two of
Pat’s children – Kate and Jenny Aitken – have also attended camp.

“For me, Camp Nubar was a wonderful opportunity for young people to
develop, with our Armenian identity as a backdrop. In fact, it was the
only opportunity for many Armenian children and young adults to
connect with their heritage. During those two months of summer, we
grew up more than we did the other ten months of the year. There were
no preconceived notions of what you could or couldn’t do; everyone
participated, whether it was Talent Night or swimming,” recalled Pat.

She, like thousands of other campers, met fellow Armenians whom they
would call friends for life. One of her closest camp friends also has
a daughter, and Pat said, “Our children have grown up like cousins
over the years. Camp Nubar has that certain element to create ties
that bind our youth together.”

Nishan knew that he wanted to make a donation that would last through
the years, and the replacement of the lakefront docks seemed just
right. They have not been changed since camp was bought decades ago,
and campers will benefit directly through this gift.

Speaking on behalf of his wife and himself, he said, “Our four parents
came to the United States from Turkey with a dream to freely and
safely live their lives, raise a family and practice their Armenian
faith. Over the past 50 years, AGBU’s Camp Nubar has played a
significant role in providing opportunities for our youth, and in
keeping alive their Armenian cultural identity and heritage. Liz and I
are grateful for the close friendships and fond memories that our
children and grandchildren have from their summers at camp, and
sincerely hope that our donation ensures that Camp Nubar will continue
to thrive for many future generations of Armenian Americans.”

The rededication of the lakefront will take place during the special
50th Anniversary Open House on Sunday, July 28, 2013, in the presence
of hundreds of alumni, supporters and campers.

For Jack and Carol Margossian, Camp Nubar has been a part of their
lives for decades. Both attended between 1969 and 1976 as counselors.
Jack continued his involvement over the years as a committee member,
and the couple is proud to count many of their relatives and closest
friends as fellow alumni.

Their children, Sarah and Ted Partin, surely felt that magical bond
from an early age – they, too, went to camp for a decade each,
beginning in 1983 (Sarah) and 1984 (Ted). Sarah continues to remain
very involved as the camp committee chair. Today, her children, Armen
and Jamie – who are fourth generation Armenians – attend Camp Nubar.

Mrs. Margossian notes, “We feel Camp Nubar encourages a sense of
Armenian identity better than any other Armenian youth program, and we
want that experience for our grandchildren.

All of us met lifelong friends there. It is our pleasure to support
Camp Nubar as an investment toward its future. The camp has lovingly
nurtured in us and our children the seed of Armenian pride planted by
our parents, James (an Armenian Genocide survivor) and Queenie Melcon;
and Krikor and Vivian Margossian.”

Toufayan family donates $75,000
“Camp Nubar is a place that helped us grow and mature in our Armenian
identity. As a result, it gives us great pleasure to build a pavilion
in honor of our parents, since they encouraged us to go to camp. We
are also happy that our children will have the opportunity to enjoy it
and be proud to have their grandparents’ names on it.” Kristine

The children of Hratch (Harry) and Suzanne Toufayan – Greg, Karen and
Kristine – are all alumni of AGBU Camp Nubar, and share several
cherished memories of their time spent at camp. Greg (86-87) learned
to canoe on the Delaware River, which, along with other outdoor camp
activities, helped shape his love for the outdoors. Karen (85- 86)
recalled that Camp Nubar allowed her to experience the uniqueness of
her Armenian heritage and learn the value of friendship. Kristine
(85-86) felt simply that her two years there were some of her best
summers ever.

When Camp Nubar announced plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the
three Toufayan siblings understood the value of paying tribute to both
the camp and their parents, who have been longtime benefactors of
AGBU, the Armenian Church and community-at-large. Each has donated
$25,000 for a combined gift of $75,000 to fund the building of the
Hratch & Suzanne Toufayan Pavilion. The completely new structure will
serve as an all-purpose unit where campers can participate in classes
and activities “rain or shine.”

Naming the facility in honor of their parents was a natural choice.
“Over the years, my dad and mom spent a lot of their time, energy, and
resources to ensure that my brother, sister and I have always been
immersed in Armenian schools, churches, and camps, and felt enriched
by our Armenian culture,” said Karen.

They all had such positive experiences at Camp Nubar that Karen’s and
Kristine’s children attend today. “Greg’s children are not yet old
enough,” Kristine noted. “The friendships that I made there are some
of my closest and dearest friends. Now, with those same friends, we
are sending our kids to Camp Nubar and they are in the same cabins
making memories that will last a lifetime.”

For the past five decades, the camp has earned a renowned reputation
among Armenian families all over the world as a safe haven for their
children to enjoy the leisurely summer months in a fun, structured and
interactive environment. Karen reinforced that fact by saying, “That’s
why our family is especially grateful to Camp Nubar. It has personally
helped us – and now our kids – fully embrace our rich Armenian culture
on our own terms. And when campers reflect on their own perspectives
and experiences over time, the tradition continues to thrive and grow
as it is transmitted to the next generation.”

Campers have diverse activities available to them. They play
basketball, soccer, tennis and volleyball; make pottery, ceramics and
other crafts; take horseback riding and photography lessons; and go
canoeing, fishing, hiking, rowing and swimming. Additionally, all
campers take Armenian language and history lessons.

“Going to Camp Nubar definitely strengthened my Armenian identity,”
said Kristine. “Living for two to four weeks at a time with just
Armenians has that special connection you wouldn’t be able to get
anywhere else: Divine Liturgy every Sunday in the woods, Armenian
meals, Armenian language and dance. These are just a few of the
activities that are unique to camp. Some of the important things I
learned were how to live with others, respect each other, and be
independent and responsible for myself.”

Greg remarked, “The hard work and dedication of our parents to their
children, the family business, and the Armenian nation have all
brought forth the blessings we have. Above all, they set the example
for us to give back.”

“Perhaps this is why we felt that one of the best ways to honor and
give thanks to our parents is by giving a donation to Camp Nubar for
its 50th anniversary – so that this wonderful institution can continue
to encourage Armenian children to be proud of their heritage,” added

Setrakians establish $50,000 endowment
Ahead of the AGBU Camp Nubar’s 50th Anniversary events in both New
York City and the Catskills during the weekend of July 27, 2013. To
honor this important milestone, AGBU President Berge and Mrs. Vera
Setrakian have donated $50,000 to establish an endowment benefitting
the camp.

The facility and its hundreds of acres of natural beauty has always
been a haven of joy and self-growth for Armenian youth; but, most
importantly, it has also strengthened and solidified the Armenian
identity of the thousands of campers who proudly call Camp Nubartheir
second home.

Over the years, many benefactors and donors have believed in the
camp’s vision of preserving and promoting the Armenian heritage, which
is also one of the foundations of AGBU’s mission. The Setrakians share
this vital belief and in 1999 made a substantial gift to construct the
new Director’s Cabin.

AGBU President Berge Setrakian noted, “We believe strongly that
establishing endowments are crucial for sustaining our AGBU programs,
and in particular, during this occasion, for preserving the grounds
and structures at Camp Nubar. By doing so, we are ensuring the camp
maintains itself for future campers to enjoy.”

The $50,000 endowment by Mr. and Mrs. Setrakian will ensure the
maintenance of the Director’s Cabin for generations to come. Mr.
Setrakian added, “We would also like to recognize the excellent
leadership of the Camp Nubar Committee and their plentiful volunteers
through the years for their dedication, spirit and hard work that is
exemplified in every camp endeavor. We encourage alumni, parents and
friends to continue supporting their efforts with financial
contributions of all sizes so that Armenian youth can continue to take
advantage of this oasis and establish ties to the community and pride
in their Armenian heritage.”

The Setrakian’s two children – Ani and Lara – are both enthusiastic
Camp Nubar alumni and spent a combined 18 summers there. Vera
Setrakian commented, “We are longstanding supporters of Camp Nubar,
and stand by its mission to provide a safe environment for Armenian
children throughout the diaspora to enjoy the outdoors and all of the
activities to which they would otherwise never be exposed. Our own
children benefitted from their experiences and maintain wonderful
friendships thanks to Camp Nubar. We look forward to our grandchildren
following in the same footsteps.”

Donations to AGBU Camp Nubar’s 50th Anniversary campaign can be made

Established in 1906, AGBU () is the world’s largest
non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU
preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through
educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the
lives of some 400,000 Armenians around the world.–175000-in-new-donations

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