History of the Ararat Center

In January of 2004, after a groundswell of support and years of work by a committee of laity and clergy, the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) purchased the Ararat Center.

Formerly known as Balsam Shade, this retreat facility is nestled on the edge of the scenic Catskill Mountains just 30 miles south of Albany, NY. With its beautiful mountainous view in mind, and to embrace the historic symbolism of Armenia, the facility was named the Ararat Center… a place where the spirit soars.

The site now serves as the permanent home for the Diocese's St. Vartan Summer Camp program. This long-standing, faith and cultural-filled program is attended by hundreds of youth throughout the Eastern Diocese.

The Ararat Center is available for rental to church auxiliaries, local area associations and organizations, sports camps and various other groups large or small. Families may also rent the facility for reunions, vacation getaways, picnics, weddings and more.

Mission Statement

The intent of the Ararat Center is to provide and promote an environment in which Armenian culture and heritage can be celebrated in a variety of ways while also spiritually nourishing generations of Armenian faithful.

The Ararat Center will be a place to remember and honor our ancestors while training leaders for tomorrow and creating memories through Armenian Church-related programs and events.

Additionally, the Ararat Center will be a facility available to other interested groups that wish to utilize its many benefits and services.

Board of Directors

Archbishop Daniel Findikyan, President
Aram Hintlian, Chairman
Nicklas Terkanian, Vice Chairman 
Robert Parsekian, Treasurer 
Andrea Karanian, Recording Secretary
Berdjouhi Paresghian, Corresponding Secretary   
Stephan Hovnanian, Director 
Fr. Mesrob Hovsepian, Director 
Jeri Humphries, Director  
Zaven Tachdjian, Director
Rose Najarian – Kedeshian, Director 
Donna Sirounian, Director 
Chuck Tutunjian, Director 
Nicklas Terkanian, Director

Jay Kapur, Projects Coordinator


Len Degiovine, Facility Manager
Paul Ventura, Client Relations/Executive Chef


Contact Karen Durgarian for more information on how to volunteer your time to assist the Ararat Center.

If you cannot volunteer your time, but are interested in contributing towards the improvements at the Ararat Center, please see our Wish List.

Thank you to our dedicated volunteers who have logged in thousands of hours and have saved the Ararat Center nearly $250,000 in labor and donated materials to maintain and improve upon the facility.