California State Assemblymember Chris Holden has secured a $2 million budget allocation for the renovation of two Armenian Youth Federation Camps in the 41st District.
The camps, Big Pines and Twin Valleys, have been operating since 1977 and are located in the Inyo National Forest near the Big Pine Canyon.
The funds will be used to improve safety and efficiency at the camp sites, as well as to address damage from previous storms and natural disasters. The goal is to create a better space for children and volunteers.
Holden, who represents Pasadena and the 41st District, announced the budget award as a significant victory for the camps. Both campgrounds are located less than a mile from each other and are also close to the Wrightwood Ski Resort.
“I have long stood beside the Armenian community here in our district and abroad, and it is my honor to be able to assist the youth in this community,” Holden said in a statement. ”These camps serve as a space for mentorship and comradery. It will be a pleasure to see this funding aid in important renovations and to witness these camps continue to thrive.”
Plans for renovating the Big Pines camp include updates to bathrooms and bedrooms, installation of energy-efficient doors and windows, rebuilding of the fireplace, replacement of septic tanks, and upgrading the kitchen to meet county building codes.
At Twin Valleys, the renovation work will involve conducting wild fire mitigation, rebuilding the lodge and kitchen, replacing three septic tanks, rehabilitating the water system, and rebuilding the bathrooms.
“We are incredibly thankful for the partnership with Assemblyman Holden, and his monumental efforts to secure this level of funding for our Camp,” Serop Chalian, who chairs Armenian Youth Federation Camp Management Board, said. “Not only will this allow us to make renovations to our camps, but it also reinforces the value that our camp brings to the Armenian Community in California.”
Holden had an opportunity to visit the camps in July and heard stories about camp experiences that have led to lifelong friendships, marriages, families, and generations of attendees.
“I watched the kids sing Armenian songs with pride and jubilance,” Holden said. “That is something special. That should be preserved and I’m just glad to help.”