WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Homenetmen Boston Chapter welcomed current, former and future scouts and their families to its second annual fall picnic over the weekend.
The smell of freshly grilled burgers prepared by the Homenetmen Executive Board and returning alumni filled the gymnasium of the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC) on Saturday as kids as young as three years old danced to Armenian music and played games. Leaders of the six different age groups organized activity stations which included cookie decorating, tug of war, musical chairs and team-building games. Ten-year-old Vanessa Atakian from Watertown said her favorite part of the day was the whipped cream pie eating contest. She says she enjoys participating in scouting activities with her friends and added how she admires her leaders, hoping to be like them one day.
The picnic united over 60 former, current and new generations of Armenian scouts. Anita Manougian from North Andover, a former scout and leader in the Boston Chapter, brought her five year-old daughter Layla to begin her scouting journey. “I want her involved in the Armenian community and to make lifelong friends like I did,” said Manougian.
Recalling his former scouting experience, Sevag Khatchadourian, Chairman of the Homenetmen Greater Boston Chapter, described his growth throughout the years. “When you first come at age four or five, you’d be really nervous because you’d be away from your parents for the first time…but once you meet people, wear the uniform and start participating in scouting activities, you really enjoy it…” he said. “It was always fun because we’d see our friends, but our parents weren’t there so we’d feel more independent even at seven years old.”
The chapter meets every Saturday from 1 to 3 pm at the ACEC. Not only do scout leaders promote Armenian culture, song, dance and history, but they conduct scouting activities that range from learning how to pitch a tent and make a bonfire or stove. More than ten new members joined the chapter after Saturday’s picnic, adding to the Boston chapter’s current 75 members. The first official meeting is Saturday, October 19.
“I hope we light a fire and instill passion in the scouts’ hearts,” said Boston Homenetmen Chapter head leader (khmpabedouhi) Nina Vosbigian, “pushing them to become strong leaders not only within our organization, but in the entire Armenian community.”