Our History

Welcome to Camp Nubar

Thousands of young Armenians from all over the world have spent their summers at AGBU Camp Nubar. Over the years, Camp Nubar has certainly undergone many physical changes.  However, its primary mission has always remained constant: to provide youth with opportunities to experience an active, outdoor life full of friends and fun, within a safe environment shaped by Armenian traditions and culture.

The summer of 1963 welcomed Camp Nubar’s first season at its original location in Grahamsville, New York with Nelson Kazandjian Wilde serving as Director.  With only a single boys’ cabin and two girls’ cabins, the site quickly became inadequate as Camp’s popularity spread throughout the Armenian community.  Charged with the impressive task of finding a new, permanent home, Mr. Zaven Halejian led the search which brought us to the glorious setting that campers and counselors enjoy today.  Thanks to the steadfast believers in the importance of Camp Nubar and the experience it provides to young Armenians, Mr. Halejian as the first Chairman of the Camp Committee, along with Mr. Don Donelian, Mr. Jack Antreasian, Ms. Arax Exerjian and Mr. Edward Mardigian as Chairman of the AGBU Central Committee of America, worked tirelessly to lay the initial groundwork for running a successful camp for generations to come.

In 1968, under the stewardship of Lifetime President, the late Alex Manoogian, AGBU purchased a larger site in Andes, New York.  The new location, situated on 365 acres of breathtaking mountainous terrain in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, became the permanent home for Camp Nubar. Purchased from the owners of Camp Bryden Lake, it offered five boys’ cabins, five girls’ cabins, an infirmary building, a spring-fed lake and a huge barn that housed both the dining hall and a large multi-purpose activity room.

In a permanent home off of Fall Clove Road, Camp Nubar traditions took root. The Blue Devils beat the Golden Tide in the first Camp Nubar Color War in 1972.  In the same year, St. Nerses Chapel was built by a group of dedicated CITs and blessed by his Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian. Campfires, canoe trips, counselor hunts, candlelight ceremonies, bunk nights and more became part of the fabric of the Camp Nubar Experience for generations of children.

Campers and counselors from the 1960s through 1990s fondly remember the rustic but comfortable cabins. Due to increasing enrollment and ever-changing needs of campers, starting in 1988 with the construction of the Stephen and Jeanne Manookian Infirmary building, Camp Nubar underwent a series of major physical improvements.   The cabins were all replaced with modern and spacious buildings over the next two decades thanks to the support of generous parents and friends.  Most notable was the construction of a $1.2 million state-of-the-art multipurpose center in 1997, which contains a full-size, indoor basketball court, a stage, modern kitchen, computer center, and an outdoor deck overlooking Lake Arax.  This building, known as the Nazarian Center, was made possible by donations from Mr. Nazar and Mrs. Artemis Nazarian and Mr. Alex and Mrs. Marie Manoogian.  In 1999, Mr. Berge and Mrs. Vera Setrakian donated the funds to replace and expand the Directors Cabin. With the most recent addition of an Alumni House, a winterized home allowing alumni and friends to visit Camp any time of year, Camp Nubar now has fully renovated lodging throughout our grounds. Today, Camp Nubar’s facilities rival those of the best privately owned summer camps in America.

Four decades ago, campers and counselors came from the immediate New York metropolitan area.  Today, Camp Nubar’s enrollment mirrors the global Armenian community, as children from the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Armenia meet each summer. One thing remains clear, whether you attended Camp in the 1960s, or you’re starting your adventure this summer, Camp Nubar continues to offer generations of young Armenians with countless activities and endless memories.  At Camp Nubar, summers last a lifetime.