About my life in Armenia, about being a mom and an activist, working for women's rights.
The challenges and benefits of raising a family in a post-soviet republic.
Finding a place, my place and calling it HOME.

21.8.16

Ayrudzi

Summer is really hot in Yerevan!


It is quite challenging to find good summer camps for teenagers and older kids in Armenia. There is a good number of summer schools, camps for 6-11 year-olds, even play groups for 4-6 year-olds but if you are looking for summer activities for 11+ year-old kids and teenagers, your options are limited.
Ayrudzi is one of those few places where older kids have the opportunity to be away from the city heat and rest in the serenity of nature surrounded by amazing horses and friendly dogs.
The camp is situated in Ashtarak and is founded by a phenomenal person, known as "Keri Gagik". He is a passionate of anything related to nature, animals and more specifically horses. He has been teaching kids for the past several decades how to understand, care for and love horses. Kids respect him and listen carefully to his valuable lessons about nature and life. He is also a great storyteller and knows how to help children to face their fears of animals. A couple of years ago, he helped my second daughter to get over her fear of dogs. It took him a day and she was already happily integrated in the camp life and playing with the dogs.


You can watch this small documentary made by CivilnetTV a year ago, about Ayrudzi's history and its founder.

The Ayrudzi Club is open throughout the year on specific days and offers horseback-riding lessons to kids and adults. Keri Gagik teaches also children with disabilities, and more specifically with cerebral palsy to ride and appreciate being close with horses (hippo-therapy)
In the summer, the Club is open as a camp. Kids can stay in small cabins/tohmiks that can accommodate up to 4 at a time. There is a central toilet and bathroom operated where water is heated with solar system. Healthy food is provided during the day, but kids can also bring their own snacks if they want. During the day, they organize games, hiking trips, workshops, cleaning, free time and swimming. But the most fun parts are being together among friends, listening to Keri Gagik's legendary stories and singing and gathering around the camp fires.
My kids have being going there over 4 years, they have a special relationship with the owners, the horses and the other kids who regularly attend the camp. It has become an important part of their childhood and life adventures. Every time i pick them up after a long stay, i see how much they are re-energized, happy and full of stories to tell.
Keri Gagik and his family were able to create a peaceful haven for kids among the horses, away from the hectic life of the city, away from TV and electronics, closer to nature and simple pleasures of life.


video

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