Young Life's New Camp in Armenia

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Holy and historic are the words that best describe the August 7, 2017, dedication of Pioneer, Young Life’s camp in Armenia. And how fitting, when considering the Armenian leaders and faithful friends who’ve supported this project. This property, perfectly located in Artavaz along the Marmarik River, was once a premier communist camp. With the fall of the Soviet Union and Armenia’s independence in 1991, the camp was abandoned. Our Armenian Young Life pioneers believed a place once used to teach kids about communism and atheism could be reclaimed and turned into a place to learn about the love of Christ.

The dream of having a camp in this strategic part of the world became a reality when Young Life purchased the property in 2011, and within a year, members of the local village were helping build and staff the camp. By providing local jobs, Young Life is winning the right to be heard and building trust within country that’s seen too much fear and suspicion.

Camp Pioneer is built for every kid. U.S. and Armenian architects have collaborated to build a camp accessible for kids with disabilities — a new concept in Armenia as kids with disabilities are often hidden from the public. There will also be a medical clinic on this property available to the villagers. Young Life is intentional about constructing a year-round facility to serve the people in the community.

 The thousands of kids who came to Pioneer this summer slept in beautiful dorms constructed with the culturally appropriate excellence we expect in all our camps. There’s an outdoor club room we’ll continue to use until 2019, when the permanent one is completed. We hope to complete the kitchen and dining hall as funding allows.