A Lock-in Weekend with my Fellow Homenetmen Scouts

Scouts at their morning Araroghutiun (ceremony)

With our scouting season over for the year and Panagoum (camp) right around the corner, we reflect on our most recent seminar and remember the impact our organization can have for our youth. After two years of not being in our agoump, K. Victoria Penenian, one of our Ardzevig scouts tells us her story of how the lock-in weekends were spent and how she felt making new memories finally being back in-person experiencing true Homenetmenagan Scouting. 

Scouts receiving wisdom from Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian on the grounds of Soorp Khatch Church

“Seminar takes place every year during the scouting season and provides the opportunity to get together with other scouts for fun and educational activities. This was my first seminar in many years, so I was really excited for it! The lock-in started Friday night after a church service and Lenten dinner. The scouts were sorted into tents, and we were set up like a real panagoum except indoors! While the Kayligs and Ardzevigs headed to sleep, the Aris and Arinooshes stayed up to do bahag (guard) shifts outside. In the morning, seminar kicked off with a competitive tent inspection! The winner would get to eat breakfast first! The tent members were to perform a ‘ganch (call)’ for the tent inspectors and present their tent after it was cleaned. Afterwards, we were served a wonderful breakfast by the members of the Khorourt (parents and volunteers of Homenetmen Scouts). Then we listened to an educational lecture from Der Sarkis about the meaning of ‘Medz Bahk (Great Lent)’ and how we must keep ourselves from being tempted by evil offerings. Then, we split into groups and walked to a nearby park where we played fun and competitive games. We returned to the church where we had an inspirational and moving lecture by Yekhpayr Hovsep Avakian, who talked about how we can contribute to the Armenian Diaspora. Y. Hovsep gave honest and good advice, and it was wonderful to hear from someone with so much experience. Later, we split into groups to prepare for our kharouygahantes (a performance usually done at night around a fire). The groups were split into three, ‘ganch,’ ‘dance’ and ‘skits.’ The ganch group prepared two funny and original ‘ganches.’ The dance group prepared the traditional Armenian dance Tamzara and invited everyone to join in on the fun! The skit group prepared two original and funny skits showcasing the scouts’ talents. Later on, scout leaders spontaneously put together a hilarious and classic skit which left everyone laughing and astonished at their talent. That night a ‘hartzagoom’ (attack on the flags) took place, and one of our flags was stolen. The brave bahags managed to get it back and preserve our flags. The next morning, we were all sad that the fun had ended but excited with anticipation for the real panagoum to take place later in the summer! After singing a heartfelt goodbye song, we all headed back home. I personally loved this experience, and I can’t wait to see all my fellow scouts in June for our annual local panagoum!” 

Ardzevigs in their tents

Reading these remarks is what drives our leaders to continue dedicating their time and energy to the organization in order to ensure they are instilling the Homenetmenagan Scouting spirit for generations to come!

Scouts taking part in races
Homenetmen Eastern U.S.

Homenetmen Eastern U.S.

The Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts, known as "Homenetmen," is a non-profit organization founded over 100 years ago. Believing in the idea that strong bodies lead to strong minds, Homenetmen has provided Armenian youth across the globe with a moral, physical and psychological education outside the school environment, while also demonstrating richness of the Armenian culture and heritage. Today, Homenetmen is a worldwide organization with over 25,000 members on five continents. On the East Coast U.S., Homenetmen is a thriving organization with 12 chapters and over 900 members, governed by the Homenetmen Eastern Regional Executive.

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