MAHWAH, N.J. (A.W.)—The Homenetmen Eastern Region of the United States held its 41st Convention and the 40th Anniversary Banquet the weekend of Nov. 3-5 at the Sheraton Hotel in Mahwah, N.J.
Hosted by the region’s New Jersey chapter, the weekend served as an opportunity to review the undertakings of the organization from the past two years and to plan and discuss its future goals. The weekend also provided an opportunity to recognize and honor the service of its exemplary senior members, as well as a chance for family and friends to elevate their spirits with the lively performance of Armenchik and his band.
The weekend kicked off on Nov. 3 with the opening of the convention. Introductory remarks were given by Eastern Regional Executive representative yeghpayr (brother) Vahe Tanashian. The meeting, which included the participation of elected representatives from the 10 participating Eastern U.S. regional chapters (Albany, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, and Washington D.C.) and two miavors (units) of the Eastern Region (Charlotte and Merrimack Valley); Homenetmen Central Executive representative yeghpayr Hratch Mesrobian; members from the previous Eastern Regional Executive; representatives from the Eastern U.S. Regional Scouting and Athletic Committees; Homenetmen’s Canada Regional Executive chairperson kouyr (sister) Leoni Sarmazian; Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern U.S. Central Committee representative unger Jano Avedissian; Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Eastern U.S. Regional Executive representative ungerouhi Mary-Ann Bonjouklian; as well as honored guests of the meeting yeghpayr Ohan Ohanian and yeghpayr Vartkes Vartanian.
Following the introductory remarks, the pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church of N.J., Hovnan Bozoyan, blessed the meeting and gave a brief fatherly message. Yeghpayr Tanashian then provided remarks on behalf of the outgoing Eastern U.S. Regional Executive. Following the message, the representatives from the ARF, Homenetmen of Canada, ARS, and Homenetmen Central Executive each provided remarks to meeting participants, praising the role of the Homenetmen as a guiding beacon in the lives of Armenian youth, stressing the importance of cooperation and determination to becoming valued supporters of the Armenian nation and Cause.
Yeghpayrs Hagop Khatchadourian and Bedig Dervartanian were elected to serve as the co-chairs of the convention’s tivan (executive). The recording secretaries for tivan elected consisted of kouyr Maral Khatchadourian, kouyr Manoushak Krikorian, and yeghpayr Shant Jamgotchian.
Committees were selected to keep track of the motions and resolutions brought to the meeting, to audit the financials from the previous two years, and to conduct the nominations processes and vote tallying. Once the committees were elected and designated to their respective roles, each of the Eastern Region chapters and miavors gave a full report of their activities of the previous two years, after which proper time was allotted to answer any questions that were brought up.
The meeting continued with the financial report of the Eastern Region, after which proper time was given to answer any questions. The agenda of the day then continued with a report of membership figures, accomplishments, and plans pertaining to scouting and athletics activities in the coming years.
It was announced that there are currently more than 1,000 members in the Eastern U.S. Region—close to 400 scouts, over 500 athletes competing in 75 male and female athletics teams ranging in age from five to adult veteran teams.
The work of the Eastern U.S. Region in the previous two years included two regional tivan meetings held in March of 2016 and 2017; the creation of Web-based platforms to distribute forms and streamline event registrations for the regional activities and/or events; the successful execution of the 26th Annual Eastern Regional Navasartian Games held in Chicago in July 2016, which hosted 250 athletes; the successful execution of the 27th Annual Eastern Regional Navasartian Games held in Providence in July of 2017, which hosted 450 athletes; the successful execution of the 29th Annual Regional panagoum (campout) held in Boston on Aug. 10-14, 2016, which hosted 100 scouts; the successful execution of the 30th Annual Regional panagoum, held in Washington D.C. on Aug. 18-23, 2017, which hosted 145 scouts; and the participation in the 10th Pan Homenetmen Athletic Games in Armenia, in July 2017, of 77 athletes, coaches, and chaperones from the Homenetmen Eastern U.S. Region.
The Eastern U.S. Region also inaugurated the Merrimack Valley miavor on May 7, 2017, at the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of North Andover, Mass.
Future plans reported to the organizational body included plans for the 28th Annual Navasartian Games to be held in Washington D.C. in July 2018. The annual Eastern U.S. Regional Panagoum will be delayed until Aug. 2019, because of the Pan-Homenetmen Scout Jamboree taking place in Armenia the summer of 2018.
With the 100-year anniversary of the Homenetmen approaching, the need of increased involvement from the younger members of the organization, who occupied more seats during this regional meeting the previous meeting. That was seen as evidence of an increase in the participation of youth in the organization.
Near the end of the 41st Eastern U.S. Regional meeting, nominations took place for the new regional Executive for the coming two years. The following is a list of members elected to the Homenetmen Eastern Regional Executive: yeghpayrs Aram Kayserian from Boston, Harout Khatchadourian from New York, Shant Jamgotchian from Detroit, Simon Bardizbanian from New York, Paul Kokuzian from Chicago, Vicken Khatchadourian from Boston, and Garo Tashian from Providence.
Upon the completion of the election, the chairpersons of the meeting expressed their gratitude to all participants for the successful outcome of the weekend’s meeting. Before the closing statements, kouyr Leoni Sarmazian presented the newly elected Eastern Regional Executive with a gift to commemorate the new term. Closing remarks were then given by ARF Eastern U.S. Central Committee representative unger Jano Avedissian and Homenetmen Central Executive representative yeghpayr Hratch Mesrobian, bringing the meeting to a close with the singing of Harach Nahadag.
Fortieth Anniversary Dinner Banquet
The welcoming remarks to the honored guests and audience of the 40th Anniversary Dinner Banquet was conducted by the Eastern Regional Scouting leader kouyr Tamar Samuelian. She began by thanking all of the 900 attending attendees, then proceeded to signal the entrance of the New Jersey Scouting body to conduct the flag ceremony, officiating the commencement of the program for the evening. Kouyr Meghri Dervartanian of Boston then proceeded to sing the U.S., Armenian, and Homenetmen anthems, respectively.
The program of the evening continued with the recognition of the valiant efforts of the Eastern U.S. Regional body over the course of the past 40 years, expressed by the following speakers: elected Central Executive member yeghpayr Ohan Ohanian, Eastern Regional Executive Chairperson yeghpayr Vahe Tanashian, te ARF Central Committee representative unger Jano Avedissian, and Homenetmen Central Executive representative yeghpayr Hratch Mesrobian.
His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan spoke of the accomplishments of the Homenetmen Eastern Region over the past 40 years, emphasizing the responsibility of all its members to continue in the forthcoming decades fighting tenaciously against indifference, and to stand guard and aid the endeavors of the Homenetmen any way they can. Most importantly, he stressed the need to keep our youth’s focus so that they may develop into valuable defenders of our faith, culture, and nation.
Following the speeches, the program of the evening then proceeded to recognize the service of key organizational members who helped bring the Eastern Region to its 40 years of existence through their selfless service. The members recognized included kouyrs and yeghpayrs Rita Ohanian from Albany, Sarkis Gyuleserian from Albany, Razmig Banossian from Boston, Levon Shamlian from New York, Garo Anasdasian from New York, Hovhannes Mahshevejian from New York, Vahram Minassian from New York, Garbis Mouradian from Washington D.C., and John Jerikian from Washington D.C. In memory of those who had given countless hours of their lives in service to the organization but have passed on, the following yeghpayrs were recognized posthumously for their service: Jirair Hovagimian from Philadelphia, Garo Tarbinian from Providence, and Mark Alashaian from New Jersey.
After the conclusion of the formal program of the evening, the audience enjoyed the lively entertainment of Armenchik and his band. The festivities lasted until the early hours of the morning, leaving all attendees in elevated spirits.
The outstanding success of the weekend was a testament to the organization’s willingness and ability to continue on in its path in line with the core tenet of Homenetmen: To elevate others while working to elevate one’s self.