By Leyla Serway
IAAB Staff Member
Games of vasati under blue skies, evening celebrations of Iranian holidays, and music of the Daf and Tombak – these activities only begin to describe the week at Camp Ayandeh 2009.
The fourth installment of Camp Ayandeh, Iranian Alliances Across Borders’ annual summer leadership camp for high school students, was held June 28- July 5, 2009 in Hinsdale, Massachusetts at Duquette Sports Academy. In alignment with the mission of Camp Ayandeh, students spent the week engaged in a number of different activities that encouraged them to explore their Iranian-American culture and identity, as they discovered the importance of the Iranian-American youth as our community’s future leaders, all while having fun along the way. Activities for each day of the week were structured around five main themes including: Building Trust, Understanding Self, Understanding Others, Teambuilding, and Aspects of a Leader.
The energy was high from day one when campers arrived at Duquette Academy, over half of which were new to Camp Ayandeh this summer. Campers, new and old alike, happily greeted one another and participated in various “ice breakers” and games of the “Human Knot”. As the week began, fun team-names were eagerly created among counselor groups, including Team Faloodeh, Team Lavashak (Take a bite out of that!), Shiraneh Iran, Pesteh Divooneh (Crazy Nuts!), Team Tahdig, Pishee Pishee Meow Meow (We’re Persian, like the cat!), Too Gooze for You (a play on “Too Good for You”!) and T-Raghs. Each team crafted their own team chant, which were performed at any given opportunity and often brought all the groups together in unison! With high morale and an excited group of campers, counselors, and staff, the week was off to a great start.
The week progressed with a number of diverse activities. Throughout the week, three Iranian holidays were celebrated including Shabe Yalda, Chahar-shanbe Soori and Norouz. During the day, campers participated in various cultural booths, including Iranian cinema, literature, games, music, life in Iran and public speaking. College workshops focusing on high school academics, SATs, the college application process, college life and majors, and daily culture discussions among counselor groups were also a part of the program. The annual Ta’arof Tournament was an exciting event for all, as well as the much- anticipated Talent Show on the last evening. Once again, a memorable Camp Ayandeh proved to be the “highlight of the summer” for everyone.
For more detailed footage from throughout the week at Camp Ayandeh, including daily blogs, podcasts, video and pictures, please visit our interactive camp website at www.campayandeh.org. For information regarding Camp Ayandeh 2010, we encourage you to check back to the IAAB website later this year. See you next summer!