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The Eastern Prelacy’s St. Gregory of Datev Institute completed its weeklong Summer Program for youth ages 13-18 at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, July 9, with the participation of 38 students from 8 parishes and 12 clergy and lay instructors and counselors.
Here are impressions from some of the students who participated in the Datev Summer Program:
Datev was great. I really enjoyed it. I met a lot of new people. Classes and activities were great too.
—Naira Kechisian, Level 1
Datev is truly an immersive experience since you have a combination of religion, camp, and Armenian culture. I would like to say thank you to all the Priests, Deacons, and everyone that helped make the 37th Datev Institute.
— Michael Bederjikian, Level 2
This year in 8th grade I went through a full year course on ancient history, on civilizations like Mesopotamia, Greece, the Roman empire, and other eras as well. In the Armenian history class at Datev, we talked about Armenia during the exact same time period as the aforementioned empires. I also learned a lot about the history of religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Island in my school. I was able to put together knowledge from there into my Armenian History class, which clarified things and deepened my understanding of the class.
— Michael Ambartsumyan, Level 2
I had a great time at Datev this year. I really enjoyed meeting new people and learning about our Christian faith. I will be coming back next year.
— Greg Varjabedian, Level 3
The weeklong program of Datev is something you cannot find anywhere else. The courses are very informative and help us Armenian Christians gain knowledge about our church and faith. The social life is just as fun allowing you to relax with friends and make new ones and spend time with other Armenian Christians you wouldn’t otherwise know.
— Hagop Ketchedjian, Level 4
I love going to Datev and look forward to it all year. Going to Datev helps me strengthen my faith as a Christian and makes me want to be a better person. I also love being with everyone at Datev. They have become like family.
— Sarineh Cunningham, Level 5
I have learned so much at Datev—ranging from the 10 commandments to learning about the Badarak and Liturgical Calendar. We don’t only learn at Datev but we play different games and make new friends. I love it and would recommend it to anyone who has never come.
— Levon Chapanian, Level 1
For me, Datev is a life-changing experience that I am blessed to be and continue to be part of. I learned a lot of new things about our beautiful church and rich history. I loved hearing new points of view and learned to get along with people who don’t know me. I can’t wait to come here next year.
—Michael Bulbulian, Level 2
Every year I look forward to coming to Datev, to reunite with my Datevastsis, further develop as a Christian, and keep my Armenian culture.
— Daniel Karamanougian, Level 4
Datev has left a great impression upon me in how much I have grown spiritually. Not only do I have greater knowledge of our Christian Armenian traditions such as the sacraments and Badarak but the Bible as well. This is one of the best investments of time I could possibly make!
— Jane Gordner, Level 2
Datev was so much fun. I made lots of new memories with new friends and loved learning about my Armenian Church and culture. I look forward to coming back next year.
— Lori Tekeyan, Level 3
I had so much fun at Datev this year! We participated in activities and sports, and have fun along the way! Most of all my faith in God was strengthened to new levels!
— Nishan Baljian, Level 1
I like Camp Datev because I get to learn, go to church, and have so much fun with old friends and make new friends.
— Harout Tashchyan, Level 1
When I first got to Datev, I didn’t know how this year would be. But throughout the days, it was so fun and I don’t want to leave!
— Tiffany Arvestian, Level 2
Datev was generally very fun this year. The food quality has slightly improved and I greatly enjoyed the canoeing trip. I also learned many things about the Bible and Christianity. My classes on Badarak and the New Testament were especially interesting. Overall, I had a fun time here. There were sufficient opportunities to enjoy the presence of my friends and community.
— Alex Varjabedian, Level 4
Datev is overall one of the best places. Some of my favorite things about Datev is how the youth are very close and connected. You learn a lot of new things about the Armenian Church and how Badarak is done. I made a lot of new friends from other states. I think everyone should go to Datev once in their life.
— Meghri Kassardjian, Level 2
Datev was the best week I’ve had this summer. I’ve learned so many things about the Bible. Now I can share my knowledge about the Bible with my friends.
— Paul Tatarian, Level 3
This was my second year at Datev. It was an amazing experience and I recommend it for the newcomers. You will make a lot of friends. The classes are very fun and interactive and they teach you a lot about our church, our history, and our faith.
— William Chapanian, Level 2
Datev is something I look forward to all year round, to hang out with friends and family for a week. Now that I am here though, I realized that it is much more. All the priests and teachers are doing all that they can to teach us sharagans and about our church and, of course, the Bible. Datev is an institute of fun, yes, but also it is a place where we are put on the correct track to have eternal life.
— Taniel Arakelian, Level 3
This year I came to Datev mainly for friends, but I came to learn it was a lot more than just that. I learned a lot more about my religion, culture, and history. We read several interesting Bible stories. Most importantly, I really felt Armenian and spoke a lot of it too. I got to meet new Armenians from around the country and now consider them as close friends.
— Ararat Yakoubian, Level 2