By kouyr Ani Chobanian,
Homenetmen Boston chapter
Special to the Armenian Weekly
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—The Homenetmen Eastern United States Scouts held the first of three seminars in preparation for the 11th Pan-Homenetmen Jamboree at the Homenetmen campsite in Pyurakan, Armenia. The Jamboree will be taking place on July 19-29, with more than 1,000 Homenetmen Scouts from over 20 countries and 109 chapters expected to participate.
The Jamboree, which typically take place every four years, will provide the opportunity for our generation of Homenetmen members to celebrate the organization’s centennial in the motherland.
The preparatory seminar, which was held on Feb. 3-4, was organized by Homenetmen Eastern U.S. Regional Scouting Council, hosted by the Homenetmen Providence chapter, and led by regional scouting Khmpabeds (troupe leaders) kouyr Tamar Samuelian and yeghpayr Alex Ourfalian and the help of 18 leaders from various chapters. Held at the Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church of Providence, represented chapters included Boston, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Detroit, Chicago, New York, Albany, and Providence, with around 130 scouts in total.
The seminar kicked-off with an opening ceremony Saturday morning, followed by a day filled with activities and stations. The scouts were separated into groups of 12, and spent the day going from station to station together.
Every hour we moved onto a new station, learning about and preparing for our exciting trip. Some stations included learning heghapokhakan (patriotic) songs such as “Kini Lits,” “Lerner Hayreni,” and “Artyok Ovker En.” We then learned how to tie knots, build tents, work on sharkayin ashkhadank (line discipline), and test our puzzle and problem solving skills. We also participated in debates and discussions about the current situation in Armenia, and how we in the Diaspora can help our homeland. By moving from station to station, we got a chance to meet and work with all 20 leaders, as well as build bonds with the scouts in our group.
After rotating through all the stations, we gathered together for a big game of Armenian-style Jeopardy, during which each team fought for the winning prize—a Homenetmen snapback hat!
To conclude the day, we held a kharouykahantess (show around a bonfire). Each group prepared songs, skits, kanches (chants), dances, and presented them. With each group putting forth their best efforts, it turned out to be a huge success! The night ended with all of us, hand in hand, singing heghapokhagan songs and dancing.
Although the seminar lasted two days, all the members were able to reconnect with old friends, build new friendships and relationships, and expand their knowledge of Homenetmen Scouting.
Personally, every time I attend these types of seminars, I feel more dedicated to the Armenian Cause. These events help us learn Armenian songs, gain knowledge about our country and people, help us better connect to the Armenian culture.
I am so inspired and can’t wait to see what July’s Jamboree has in store for us all!