Fall Hiking Group, Oct, 2014

For the past few years, I've been attending a fall hiking weekend with some friends at the Ararat Center. It's always a fun weekend. I wanted to say, though, that this past trip, I noticed many improvements at the Center. Most notably, new chef Paul Ventura, is absolutely fantastic. He prepared some of the best food I've ever had. I even brought some home for members of the family. It's clear Paul loves his work, which is unusual in this day. He is a great asset for the Center, and I wanted to write and let you know.

Embroiderers' Guild of America, June, 2014

 I wanted to tell you about the wonderful time I had this past weekend at The Ararat Center with the Embroiderers' Guild.  Our group of embroiderers have been coming to the Center for many years.  I myself have been coming for the past three.  I can tell you that it is a special occasion that we all look forward to.  I don't think we have ever had a bad experience at The Ararat Center.

I knew that we would have a new chef this year and was a little nervous as to how it would affect our overall weekend.  In addition to meals, the chef is usually our "go to" person for everything.  Past employees were always very attentive to our needs and we were all very comfortable with each other.

Well, I want you to know that Paul and his team were absolutely wonderful!  Paul welcomed us very warmly and gave us every assurance that our comfort and enjoyment was his prime concern.  His meals were delicious and served with care and attention to quality and presentation.  He and his team made us all feel very special.  Any minor difficulties that we had were taken care of immediately by Paul.   Any qualms that we had about working with someone new melted away immediately.  Paul is a "natural" with people and I could tell right away when I met him that he not only  loves what he does but takes pride in it as well.  He gave us the impression that he had nothing else to do but wait on us!

Also, the upgrades to the main dining room where we spend most of our time were noticed right away and much appreciated.

We are all looking forward to coming back to The Ararat Center and seeing Paul and his team again.

Christene Thurston, Treasurer
June, 2014

I had the pleasure of staying at the Ararat Center for our EGA retreat on June 6-8. We all had a wonderful time; and I particularly would like to compliment the chef on the quality of the food and his exceptional attitude in making our stay so enjoyable. I would also like to compliment the housekeeping staff in keeping our rooms neat and clean.

Our EGA chapter has scheduled another retreat in September, which I will be attending. Among other things, I will surely be looking forward to the food!
Judy Anderson
St. Nersess Seminarians Sept, 2014

For the St. Nersess seminarians, there is no better place to hold our orientation retreat than the Ararat Center. With some faculty members on hand, we begin each academic year with this 3-day getaway to better acquaint our students with what lays ahead for them spiritually and academically. The comfortable accommodations, the relaxing environment, the good food and the well-kept facilities contribute to the success of that effort. We are blessed to have a place like the Ararat Center to call our own.

Fr. Mardiros Chevian
Armenian Young Professionals Fall Foliage Group

The Ararat Center, located within a few hours from metropolitan New York City, was a great getaway from city life. It easily accommodated our group of 50 plus, some of whom traveled from as far as Washington, DC.  It provided the perfect location for a weekend of outdoor activities, social gatherings and camaraderie. And the facilities were ideal.

The large campfire was great for an evening under the stars. The food was excellent. Our group had a hefty breakfast and a delicious dinner that surpassed our expectations. The staff was fantastic. They were very helpful and accommodating to our needs. Any question or issue they were ready to assist.

Everybody had a terrific time and can’t wait to return. They had nothing but high praises for the Center. Yes, we will definitely come back and we’re already booking for next year. This will be our home away from home.

Ara Jingirian
New York Capital District Chapter, Embroiderers' Guild of America

Our Chapter has greatly enjoyed the fantastic retreats we've had at the Ararat Center for many years. Everything about the Center is perfect for us: the light-filled, roomy facility; the unparalleled food; the casual, friendly atmosphere and terrific staff; the large, comfortable bedrooms; the pool. I could go on and on, but the fact that we return year after year, and even went twice in 2009, is proof of our devotion to this facility.

Helen J. O'Connor, Retreat Coordinator
Namah Group for Vedanta Studies
Our spiritual retreat at the Ararat Center in Greenville, NY, was beyond our expectations. With the awe-inspiring scenery as a backdrop for our philosophical lectures, our minds achieved a tranquility in the surroundings that would not have been possible in other settings. The facility was clean, convenient and conducive to our needs. The staff was friendly and accommodating.
Shamla Shankar, Coordinator
St. Nersess Seminarian

Being at the Ararat Center is a nice way to start the school year off. I enjoy the grounds with the backdrop of the mountains. And the best part is at night to look up and see the sky filled with stars.

Stan Sheridan
Mirijanian Family Reunion

The Ararat Center was the ideal choice for our Mirijanian Family Reunion. We enjoyed the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside, the rooms were clean and comfortable, and the food was delicious!

There were activities for every member of our family to enjoy; from the youngest to the young at heart. We picnicked and played volleyball and basketball; we lounged by the pool and roasted marshmallows by the campfire. We gathered for conversation, enjoyed quality family time, and created wonderful memories.

We would encourage all families to take advantage of the great facilities that the Ararat Center has to offer. We’re looking forward to coming back for our next reunion!

Pam Brinker
St. Nersess Alumni Association
The accommodations were perfect for our needs; the hospitality of the kitchen staff was gracious.
Fr. Yeprem Kelegian, Chairman
St. Vartan Camp staff member & Sacred Music Council Junior Choir Leadership Development Program past participant and instructor

The Ararat Center is a true place for spiritual growth. The site is in a perfect location for getting away from the every day life and focusing on the beauties of God’s creation and His call in all of our lives. The Center provides an excellent facility for conducting Diocesan camps and programs for Armenian-Christians of all ages.

Greg Dalakian
United Armenian Calvary Congregational Church

The Diocese has acquired a gem for the benefit of the Armenian community.

Rev. Vincent Kumjian
Armenian Church Youth Organization of America
The Ararat Center is the perfect setting for a spiritual retreat or even a committee meeting. The facilities are very comfortable and the food is great! What more could we ask for?
Nancy Basmajian, Executive Secretary
St. Vartan Camp Director

Having been involved with St. Vartan Camp in various capacities for well over a decade, I am thankful to God for the Ararat Center.  There is such a huge difference between renting a facility and having a permanent site to call our own. The Ararat Center is truly the home of St. Vartan Camp. Every time I arrive at the Center, I feel such a sense of warmth that only an Armenian home can bring.

Having completed my second year as the St. Vartan Camp Director, I have personally witnessed and experienced the transformation that can only occur by the endless possibilities afforded through owning our own place. St. Vartan Camp has always been a strong and wonderful program from its inception due, in large part, to the many dedicated former directors and staff members.  But, now that we have this site, we are able to enhance and expand upon the program every year. Most recently the addition of the new pavilion with its classrooms, in and of itself, has brought the St. Vartan Camp program to a different level.

Many of the staff members participate in work weekends, designed to improve the facility, because they truly feel a sense of ownership.  However, the facility is not simply the home for St. Vartan Camp, rather it is also the home for all of us in the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church. I encourage everyone to become stewards of the Ararat Center through giving of your time, talent and treasure so that St. Vartan Camp can continue to touch the lives of hundreds of young people every summer.

Rev. Fr. Krikor A. Sabounjian