How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The immigrant diaspora summer camp, in photos

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Earlier this week, contributor Lory Tatoulian wrote about a very special kind of cultural immersion summer camp.

She and other Armenian American kids grew up attending summer camps that catered to the Armenian immigrant community, places where young people caught in between cultures were able to nurture both sides of their split identity.

In the days since, readers who attended a camp near Fresno, Calif., known as Hye Camp, have written in with memories of camp and what it meant to them.

Tamar wrote:

My whole childhood basically revolved around camp. Now that I am in my thirties, it's amazing to realize that camp is what allowed me to have an Armenian life despite the fact that I grew up in Sacramento surrounded by very few Armenians. What a gift!

Marald remembered the camp cooks, who dished out life advice as well as tasty pilaf:
I remember Grandmas Maritz and Zarouhie!!! I loved Maritz's little bombs of grandmotherly wisdom. And Zarouhie, too - I was her favorite - she gave me private lavash baking lessons once when I was eleven. I also distinctly remember the writer's mother giving us Armenian lessons back in my younger days.

Others have contributed photos from the late 1980s and the late 1970s, when Armenian Americans sent their kids to another camp in the Sierras known as Camp Sugar Pine:

As Tatoulian wrote the other day: "Armenian summer camps are pretty much like other sleepover camps - arts and crafts, horseback riding - only that most activities have a proclivity toward everything Armenian. And this can be a good thing."

Photos courtesy of Megan Jendian.
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