After resting from traveling aTeam Challengend the excitement of the first day of camp, we started day two- our first full day of camp.

We started off the day with “Morning Words,” a tradition where campers get to share their favorite aspects and memories from previous or current camp  and reflect on their relationship with this space. Kamran Partovi, a returning counselor, and Nadia Maher, one of our fourteen graduating campers, discussed the theme of the day which was “Who Am I?” and set us off on a positive tone.

Team Activity

Campers participated in a team building challenge.  Various stations were set up around the quad and at each station, campers attempted the activity with a few people giving directions while the others stayed silent. These games consisted of various materials and the objectives were to work together to find a solution. It was great to see campers begin to come out of their shells and show their leadership strengths and energetic personalities. Leaders emerged during the activity and they showed their different leadership styles. During this activity, campers saw the power that everyone’s collective opinion can bring to a space. The challenge tested the campers critical thinking and observation skills and demonstrated that finding solutions was a group effort. It also was a fun way to work together with the other teams of facilitators and rotations.  

In the afternoon, we had a camp wide meditation session which helped reset the camper’s energy after a morning of high heat and an intense morning activity.

Group chant

After a long day of organizing, planning, and anticipation from the rest of community, the campers finally unveiled their group names and skits for the camp. The group names and skits are a long time camp tradition that fosters a sense of team spirit. The team names are always something the campers enjoy coming up with. This year our various team names are Amoo Khabaloo, DJ Kabob,Yakh Breakers, The Headspacers, Barg Be Ostokhoon, Bitarbiat & Boujee, Bad & Jujeh, and the Hameeshehs.

Group Bonding

Finally, we ended our first full day with another camp tradition where some campers performed music, sang songs, and raps during our first jam session of the 2017 camp. What a talented bunch of youth! Can’t wait for the next one.

Follow IAAB on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with the action throughout the week!

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Welcome campers!It’s that time of year again!  For days the IAAB counselors and staff have been at the Whittier College campus preparing for the arrival of the campers. Finally yesterday our campers arrived and we could not be more excited to welcome and get to know them!

Our counselors and staff, known as “Red Shirts” because of the red shirts they wear throughout the week, went to LAX airport and picked up our Javan and Ayandeh campers who traveled from near and far. This year, we had campers travelling from as close as Los Angeles and San Francisco, to Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Orlando, and even as far as Italy which shows the diversity of our community.

Campers and Red Shirts began the day withIce breakers some ice breaker activities to get to know one another. The campers checked into their dorms and had the chance to meet their roommate. The camp is evenly divided between new and returning campers, with many of our many of our Javan graduates joining Ayandeh for the first time this summer. After settling in, campers were welcomed by the counselors performing a short dance. The red shirts, many of whom are alumni of Camp Ayandeh, unveiled their counselor groups and introduced their campers who will be spending the week sharing discussions and meaningful memories. The welcome became a spontaneous dance party.

Group bondingMana Kharrazi, the Executive Director of IAAB, gave the camp community a welcome introduction and went over camp culture and the mission of camp. She explained how this camp is such a unique space because it is an important opportunity for “Iranian American youth to come together at such a critical time.”

Lastly, the campers went to their respective theme halls divided by gender in their dorms and got some rest for the event-filled next day.

We can’t wait to get to know all of the leaders in this space!

Follow IAAB on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with the action throughout the week!

Posted in Ayandeh, Community, Education, General, Javan | Leave a comment

Joint Statement of Iranian-American Organizations on Detentions of Iranians

(New York, NY) – A coalition  of Iranian-American organizations issued the following joint statement regarding the recent detention of Iranians with valid Visas:

“As organizations that represent the Iranian-American community, we are deeply concerned by recent arrests of Iranians visiting and studying in the United States.

At least two Iranians are currently being held in custody by U.S. immigration authorities: Alia Ghandi and Mohammad Salar Fard-Hajian. We implore authorities to ensure these individuals have ready access to legal counsel and insist they be promptly released from custody.

Ghandi, who traveled to Oregon on a valid tourist visa to visit her sister (a U.S. citizen), was refused entry by customs officers and instead arrested and sent to the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center in Washington. Ghandi has subsequently claimed asylum but remains in custody despite an obligation by US authorities to allow her the opportunity to present her case and remain in the US until she is heard.

Mohammad Salar Fard-Hajian, an Iranian student living in Dearborn, Michigan, was arrested at home and is being held in Calhoun County Jail in Battle Creek, Michigan. Fard-Hajian’s roommate believes he was arrested due to administrative errors regarding his college enrollment status.

It is impossible for us to simply write-off all of these events as mere coincidence or misunderstanding in the current climate. The recent spate of official policies and actions – beginning with President Trump’s first executive order to bar entry for Iranians and nationals of six other countries – are deeply troubling. Coupled with recent incidents of hate directed at Iranians and persons of Middle Eastern descent, including recent reports of graffiti targeting Iranians in Portland and San Francisco, a disturbing trend is emerging.

As members of the Iranian-American community, we are active contributors to society who – like all other Americans – are entitled to live in peace and without fear of discrimination. As members of the Iranian diaspora, we are proud of our heritage and have deep connections to our ancestral homeland. We are committed to proactively engaging to protect the interests of our community and the values of this country. We encourage community leaders, lawmakers, as well as the President to take these concerns seriously so that everyone’s rights are protected.”

Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB)
Iranian American Bar Association (IABA)
National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
Pars Equality Center
Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA)

Posted in Community, General, Immigration, News, US Ban | Leave a comment

For anyone stranded as a result of the #MuslimBan: 

Earlier today, IRAP was in touch with Airbnb’s Global Disaster Response & Relief team. They have offered to help provide temporary housing to individuals affected by the President’s executive order.

For those individuals who are currently at an airport in the United States or en route to the United States and are in need of temporary housing assistance (up to two weeks), please proceed by following the instructions below:

Please have the team, volunteer, or client email with the nature of the request (situation, ideally info on individual and family, location needing temporary accommodation and how long, along with the contact info for person/family OR case manager/lawyer handling).

In your email, reference speaking with Kellie Bentz and Disaster Team and your email will be filtered to the top of the list.

Once they receive and make connection with the case manager or family needing assistance, Airbnb will work to make a match between the need and their hosts offering support OR provide a coupon code to identify necessary accommodations in the location of need.

Please share this information with your networks. Let us know if there is anything else we can share. We are with you during this difficult time.

In solidarity,

The IAAB staff | #BannedLives #RejectHate #NoBanNoWall

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Most of our incredible camp counselors were campers themselves. Four-time camper and three-time counselor Arian reflects on his time as camper and what makes Camp Ayandeh and Camp Javan so special. Before heading off to pursue his PhD in physics, Arian is serving as our resident Iranian poetry and literature expert. Listen to the clip above to hear Arian describe his poetry workshop and his thoughts on camp!

Posted in Ayandeh, Javan | Leave a comment