Armenian Youth Federation of Canada
"Simon Zavarian" Chapter
The Armenian Youth Federation of Canada (AYF Canada) is a youth organization composed of enthusiastic and energetic young people between the ages of 16 to 26 who are bound by a passion to foster the future of their community. The organization’s primary objective is to prepare respectable, courteous, and exemplary members of society, those with a social conscience. The AYF also brings together Armenian youth of the diaspora in an attempt to preserve and nurture Armenian culture throughout the generations.
The Armenian Youth Federation was founded on January 14, 1933 when the ARF Central Committee of America decided to create a national youth organization by combining already existing ones and forming new chapters where such groups did not exist. A national convention was held in June 1934, at which time the election of the first AYF Central Executive took place. ARF Tseghagron Oukhdyalner was renamed Armenian Youth Federation in 1941. As the years progressed and the AYF’s ranks swelled with new members, an administrative reform took place in 1974. The result of this restructuring was the division of the AYF – which had up to this point encompassed all of North America – into three separate regions: the Eastern and Western United States, and Canada. The AYF Canada “Simon Zavarian” Chapter was founded in 1964.
While the activities of AYF are oriented around the preservation of Armenian culture, our identity as a Canadian-Armenian organization is recognized and appreciated amongst our surrounding community. Cultural and social events are complemented with altruistic ventures and political activism within the Canadian government. We work hard to make a difference both abroad and at home in Canada.
Committees & Programs
AYF Canada works closely with the Armenian National Committee to raise political awareness in the community at large. By promoting political activism among its members, the organization prepares Armenian-Canadian youth to become the future advocates of the Armenian cause. Throughout the past year, the Toronto “Simon Zavarian” chapter primarily focused its political efforts on issues pertaining to the remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, including organizing the protest at the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa and other displays around the city, displaying banners over major Toronto highways, and organizing events aimed at raising awareness about the Armenian Genocide in Toronto.
AYF Canada works hard to unite the Canadian-Armenian youth in an Armenian atmosphere. By organizing social gatherings throughout the year, the organization attracts thousands of Armenian youth around the Armenian community through Armenian music, dance, and food. Throughout the past year, the Toronto “Simon Zavarian” chapter organized its yearly Christmas Disco, its annual dinner dance, and a summer party, which specially targeted the community’s youth.
AYF Canada organizes several events and initiatives geared specially towards its members. Through intimate gatherings and events, AYF members create bonds and friendships that last a lifetime. Over the past year, the “Simon Zavarian” chapter organized its annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners, the annual Ski Weekend, and Foosball tournament, all geared towards AYF members.
AYF Canada works hard to educate its members and the Canadian-Armenian youth at large. Through seminars, meetings and educational events, members acquire a vast knowledge about Armenian history, human rights, Armenian politics and others issues pertaining to Armenia and the Armenian people. Through the organization, they are also able to exchange ideas and come up with innovative solutions to problems today’s Armenian youth faces in the diaspora and in the homeland.
AYF Canada also continuously engages the Armenian youth at large in issues pertaining to Armenia and the Armenian people, through lectures, round-table discussions, social media and other educational events and initiatives. Over the past year, the “Simon Zavarian” chapter organized a lecture about identity and Western Armenian, regular meetings and educational seminars, as well as printed new chapter sweaters.
Ardziv magazine is AYF Canada’s official publication. The magazine is distributed free of charge within the community with 1000 copies dispersed between the Armenian community centres of Toronto, Montreal, Laval, Cambridge, Hamilton and St. Catherines. The magazine is also spread digitally to online subscribers via our website (www.ardziv.org), and advertised through various social media platforms.
Since 2011, AYF Canada has established AYF Youth Corps Camp Vanadzor program to encourage our members to strengthen their ties to the homeland and to help improve the lives of those living there. The camp is a special experience for the children, who receive lessons in English, history, computers, health, democracy and human rights. The participants are provided with a daily lunch and a gift such as a backpack. Now in its sixth year, the annual program is a free two-week day camp for the local children of Vanadzor, the third largest city in Armenia. Our members organize the program and volunteer as counselors at the camp. This year, the number of registrations is expected to exceed 400 children.