Armenian Church Youth Organization of America
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|Founders:||Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan|
|Religious Affiliation:||Armenian Apostolic Church|
|Head:||Archbishop Khajag Barsamian|
|Colours:||Purple and Yellow|
|Website:||Organization's Official Web Site|
The Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA) is the official youth group of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. Its name in Armenian is "Hayastanyats Yegeghetsvo Yeridasartats Gazmagerboutiun Amerigayi." It was founded in 1946 by Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of America, 1944-1954. There have been many formulations of the purposes and aims of ACYOA, but the ACYOA Constitution lays out four aims: to propagate the Armenian Orthodox Christian faith among the youth of the Church, to promote the appreciation of Armenian culture, to strengthen the Armenian community, and to promote among its members loyalty to the United States Constitution. Another formulation of the ACYOA's purpose is the "Five Circles of the Cross" : Worship, Education, Service, Fellowship, and Witness.
The Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA), the national youth program of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, was created on January 12, 1946 in Providence, Rhode Island. The Diocesan-wide national organization, created for the youth of the Armenian Church, emerged from the foundation of the then many local Junior Leagues and clubs that were formed for the young people of the parishes of the Armenian Church.
World War II interrupted the activities of these local groups, many of which were simply inactive during those difficult years. With the termination of the war, a renewed necessity took place of reorganizing the local parish youth groups. Bishop Tiran Nersoyan, the newly elected Diocesan Primate, wholeheartedly took on the challenge of a problem which was causing the elders of the communities to question the future of the Armenian Church in America. This challenge was carried by Bishop Tiran to the American-Armenian youth. To all communities, he passed on the informing spark, so important to the creation and continuation of activities for this new organization. The culmination of all this activity and work took place at the "Constitutive Assembly" of Armenian Church youth, held in Providence, Rhode Island, on January 12, 1946.
The ACYOA today is an organization with thousands of members from ages 18 and up, from all classes of individuals spanning a wide variety of backgrounds and vocations. A sub group for Armenian-American youth under the age of 18 called “ACYOA Jrs.,” complements the ACYOA, and prepares these youth for their membership and active roles in the ACYOA. Any Armenian youth living in America can join the ACYOA as a member through a simple but meaningful initiation process and membership application. Your membership in the ACYOA provides a complex and fascinating assortment of rewards including religious development, exposure to Armenian culture, history and language, and a variety of national and local programming. Our organization also hosts a series of sporting activities, and exciting social events.
2006 was the 60th Anniversary of the ACYOA, and it came at a time when the organization spent 2005 by successfully strengthening its foundations. The organization has become strong administratively with a full-time Executive Secretary, well established national programming, some new chapters in new and mission parishes, some reformed chapters in older established parishes, and a newly found dynamic collaboration with the Diocesan Council, St. Nersess Seminary, ACYO and ACYOC of the Western and Canadian Diocese, Armenian Student Association, and collaboration with various other organizations along with various other successes.
The ACYOA today, is currently in an expansionary phase. This phase is focused on increasing membership, as well as the development and impact on the lives of its members. The central council is making an increased number of grass roots efforts, through increased visitations, creative new programming, meeting the needs of college students and professionals, and maintaining a dynamic involvement in the local goals of its chapters and the parishes they serve.
As of 2007, the ACYOA has achieved a heightened level of performance and results in being the largest and most effective Armenian youth organization in America to create active awareness among its members to their religion, history, and culture. As part of its current expansionary efforts, the ACYOA is looking forward to an opportunity to formalize its Alumni’s involvement in supporting the ACYOA, by creating an association for its Alumni. This is meant to keep the Alumni in contact with each other, and better informed of ways they can help support the needs of the ACYOA. This is just another aspect of how ACYOA is gaining strength and effectiveness in successfully meeting its objectives along with those of the parishes it serves.