History of Homenetmen
Armenian General Athletic Union & Scouts
The Founders of Ho-Men-Et-Men
The Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts, referred to as Homenetmen, is a non-profit organization founded in 1918. As a strong believer in the strong mind in a strong body concept, Homenetmen provides the Armenian American Youth with moral, physical and social education. In essence, it exposes the youth to the wealth of the Armenian culture and heritage and at the same time prepares outstanding and law abiding Armenian American citizens. Homenetmen is a worldwide organization with ninety Chapters and over 25,000 members on five continents.
A. THE ORIGIN AND EARLY YEARS OF HOMENETMEN
Homenetmen originated in Constantinople on November 16 1918 , after the end of the First World War and the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide. The idea of starting such an Organization was first developed by Shavarsh Krissian who unfortunately became one of the victims of April 24 1915 atrocities. Hovhanes Hintlian had a significant influence in shaping the mission of Homenetmen. It was however Krikor Hagopian who finally became the driving force and made the concept a reality in 1918. The above three individuals are considered as the historic Founders of Homenetmen.
1. Homenetmen in Historic Armenia : 1918-1922
The challenge of Homenetmen as an Organization during the early years was twofold:
First, it had to help the Youth living in Constantinople who where lucky enough to have escaped the Genocide but lacked everything else. The best way to help was by offering them Athletic and Scouting education and activities. For about four years, Homenetmen successfully achieved that goal.
Secondly however, after the birth of the first Republic of Armenia on May 28 1918 , there was a huge need to help the thousands of orphans within the newly independent Armenia (in Eastern Armenia ), especially in the Yerevan Region. Homenetmen was also able to extend its support to the Homeland. Vahan Cheraz and Dikran Khoyan were two Homenetmen leaders who did respond to that calling.
2. Homenetmen in the Diaspora
The last official activity of Homenetmen within the confines of Historic Armenia was on Sept 16, 1922 . By that time the remnant of Armenians were deported from Cilicia , this time by the new Turkish leader, Ataturk. The Republic of Armenia had already become part of the Soviet Empire. A new phase of Armenian History began that of Diaspora. Most of the Armenian immigrants were welcomed in neighboring countries. Hence was the beginning of Homenetmen in the Middle East . The first Chapter of modern era Homenetmen history was founded in Beirut , Lebanon in 1924.
B. THE EVOLUTION INTO A MULTI-CHAPTER/ MULTI-REGION ORGANIZATION
From 1924 and thereafter the attraction of the Youth into Homenetmen’s activities ,especially in soccer and scouts, created dozens of local Chapters in many cities across the Middle East ( Lebanon , Syria , Jordan , Palestine/Israel, Iraq and Egypt ), Greece , Bulgaria , Rumania and France . The Middle East Region was so populous and became so well organized that over the next several decades it became the organization’s engine.
By the early 1970’s the Organization felt the need of a Central structure. By then, Homenetmen was also growing in the Americas and Australia . On December 13 1974 , a Central Committee was created to organize all Homenetmen Chapters in different Regions and Continents. This was how Homenetmen USA became officially part of the larger family.
In the United States , the first Homenetmen Chapter was initiated in New York and the first Homenetmen Athletic “Olympic” Games took place in Brooklyn , New York in 1922. Shortly thereafter, new Chapters were established in New Jersey , Philadelphia , and Boston . From that point on, Homenetmen USA began to grow, founding chapters throughout the United States.
Homenetmen Western USA Region
The first Chapter in Western USA was established in Los Angeles , in 1968. Over the years, Homenetmen Western USA has prospered. Today, it is a thriving organization with nineteen Chapters and over 7,000 members throughout the Western United States . Although California is the state with most Chapters, Western USA Region includes also Chapters from Utah , Nevada , Arizona and Colorado .
Through the years of growth and expansion, Homenetmen's mission has remained constant, and the standards and expectations of the young people have remained high. Here is a snapshot of its activities:
1. The Scouting Programof Homenetmen in the Western USA Region is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. For its more than 2,000 scouts, Homenetmen Western USA provides the opportunity to instill in each and every one of them a sense of social and moral responsibility.
Homenetmen Scouting offers its scouts the opportunity to earn badges and medals in their areas of interest. The most prestigious of these medals is the St. Mesrob emblem. Introduced by Homenetmen Western USA to the Boys Scouts of America, in conjunction with the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church , the St. Mesrob Emblem is among the official badges of the Boy Scouts of America which a scout can earn after fulfilling the program requirements. The badge is named after Sahag Mesrob, who as the inventor of the Armenian Alphabet in the 5th century is one of the most prominent figures in Armenian History.
The scouting program also features troop activities such as field trips and outdoor scouting expeditions. Moreover, each troop hosts an annual camping trip, inviting other local chapters to participate.
In addition to regional activities, scouts from the Homenetmen Western USA have participated in numerous jamborees. A shared feeling of enthusiasm and patriotism has marked the overwhelming successes of the jamborees. The Homenetmen Western Region also hosts its jamboree every four years in which 500 to 800 scouts from local chapters participate in a 1 week camp.
2. The Athletic Division of the Homenetmen in the Western USA Region has a membership of almost 5,000 young Armenian Americans. It sponsors local league competitions as well as major regional athletic programs and activities. There are hundred of teams in different age divisions in the following athletic activities: Basketball, soccer, volleyball, swimming, Track & Field, Tennis, Table Tennis and Chess.
In addition to each Chapter’s activities, most Homenetmen Chapters participate in the following:
Fall Invitational: In 1987, Homenetmen Western USA hosted the first annual Fall Invitational. The games featured competitions in indoor sports such as volleyball, basketball, and table tennis. Over a Three-month period, athletes representing numerous amateur athletic organizations participate in this tournament. The Fall Invitational has most recently attracted 250 teams and 2,500 athletes from different parts of California .
KAHAM (Inter-School) Games: held annually since 1982, it brings together students throughout the Southern CA Armenian schools to compete in basketball, volleyball, soccer, and track and field competitions.
Annual Navasartian Games : This is the jewel of all Homenetmen athletic activities.
In 1975, the first annual Navasartian Games were held at East Los Angeles College before only a few hundred spectators. Today, over 300 teams and 5,000 athletes from Homenetmen Western Region chapters, as well as guest teams from around the country and the world, participate in several weekends of sports competition. Each year the organization symbolically dedicates the Navasartian Games to a special event significant to the community.
As it steps into its third decade of existence, the Navasartian Games have grown into being the community's most attractive event, drawing over 30,000 spectators. The athletic competition is held over an eight-week period starting in May. The Games culminate on the Fourth of July Weekend with a festival and the closing ceremonies. Over fifty businesses and organizations participate in the festival with food and game booths.
The Navasartian Games have now become more than just Homenetmen's event. The Games have a special place in the heart of the community.
3. Other Activities of Homenetmen Western USA Region , besides Scouts and Athleticsinclude, Social activities for the entire family, special Youth oriented Social activities, Cultural activities and Educational seminars and publications. Many of the Chapters have their own Gymnasiums and the rest are striving to achieve that goal.
C. HOMENETMEN RETURNS TO THE HOMELAND
After more than a seventy year absence, Homenetmen begins again its activities in the homeland, after the newly independent Republic of Armenia emerges.
The first of the Chapters become operational in 1990-1991.
On May29, 1995 the Scouts of Homenetmen Armenia officially register with the Justice Ministry of Armenia as H.A .S.K.
On April 17, 1997 H.A.S.K becomes an official member of the World Scouts Organization.
Presently Homenetmen thru H.A.S.K has more then a dozen Chapters in Armenia .
Homenetmen's mission is to prepare patriotic Armenians and exemplary citizens who strive for individual and collective excellence:
- By teaching endurance and courage through physical education.
- By developing an understanding of responsibility and honor.
- By endowing the mind and soul with the finest spirit of sportsmanship.
HOMENETMEN Western USA Region/Santa Clara ANI Chapter Some of the Strategic Objectives
Since its establishment in 1918, Homenetmen has played a fundamental role in helping to shape thecharacter and leadership capabilities of the generations of Armenian youth, particularly ages 6 to 30.
For Homenetmen Western USA Region/Santa Clara ANI Chapter, the above objective remains the same. The focus is primarily the Armenian American youth but has also evolved to secondarily supporting the youth in present day Armenia .
Through its scouting and athletic programs, Homenetmen intends to preserve the Armenian spirit and addresses the needs of Armenian American communities through the Western United Sates. Historically the Organizations’ success has been made possible because of the dedication of volunteer Executives and the generous moral and financial contributions of parents, concerned citizens/supporters and many charitable organizations throughout the world. More and more however, Homenetmen Western USA Region is evolving into a professionally run Organization.
Through the years, Homenetmen has strived to develop the moral character of young Armenian Americans with the intent that each becomes a model citizen in their respective communities. The terrific success of scouting and athletic activities is largely due to continual support of dedicated parents, who have been instrumental in organizing and raising funds for existing and new programs. Yet, the ever-increasing challenges of contemporary society indicate that, now more than ever, each and every one of us must share Homenetmen’s commitment to excellence. Today, Homenetmen continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, and for this reason, there is a need to develop more abundant financial resources, not just from fundraisings and donations but also from wise investments and business management.
The Homenetmen experience whether in the USA or elsewhere is one of lasting association. The organization promotes a sense of fraternity and humanitarianism, which extends far beyond mere camaraderie and benevolence. Homenetmen's motto Elevate Yourself and Others with You is a poignant reminder of its fundamental objective - striving for individual and collective excellence. The Western USA Region and the Santa Clara ANI Chapter of Homenetmen strongly endorse and embrace this Motto.
Homenetmen’s objectives are achieved by:
- General Physical Education and Sports.
- Public Service activities
- Lectures and seminars
- Clubs, gymnasiums and sports facilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does the name HOMENETMEN stand for?
It’s the Armenian acronym of HAY MARMNAGRTAGAN ENTHANOOR MIYOUTYOUN which translates to Armenian General Athletic Union & Scouts.
DID YOU KNOW that the official translation of HOMENETMEN is Armenian General Athletic Union & Scouts.
2 .When was HOMENETMEN Established?
HOMENETMEN was established in 1918 in Istanbul , Turkey . Since then it has spread throughout the world, and at the present time we have chapters in 5 continents.
DID YOU KNOW the 1st HOMENETMEN chapter in the Western US was the LA chapter, established in 1968.
3 Who are the founding members of HOMENETMEN?
Homenetmen’s founding members are Shavarsh Krissian, Hovhanes Hintlian and Scoutmaster Krikor Hagopian.
DID YOU KNOW that Yeghpayr Krissian was the publisher of a sporting newspaper and Hovhanes Hintlian was an Armenian school principal.
4. How many HOMENETMEN Chapters are there?
HOMENETMEN has more than 90 Chapters with (10) Regional Executive Boards.
DID YOU KNOW that the Western US Region has the highest number of chapters in the world with 19 Chapters.
5. Where are the HOMENETMEN Regions?
HOMENETMEN'S 10 Regions or "Sherchans" without counting Armenia are - Western USA (19 Chapters), Eastern USA (10 Chapters), Lebanon (9 Chapters), Armenia (8 Chapters), Australia (5 Chapters), Canada (5 Chapters), Syria (5 Chapters), Greece (4 Chapters), South America (3 Chapters) and Bulgaria (6 Chapters)
DID YOU KNOW that Bulgaria was the last REGION that was created?
6. What is a HOMENETMEN Region?
A Region is created with 3 or more chapters from the same vicinity with a higher body to oversee the activities of the Region.
DID YOU KNOW that a regional Executive board is elected for a two year term?
7. How many members does HOMENETMEN have?
Over 25,000 members belong to the HOMENETMEN FAMILY.
DID YOU KNOW that the Western USA Region has the most membership; with over 7000 and it is still growing?
8. What are the chapters of HOMENETMEN Western USA ?
They are in order of establishment - Los Angeles (1968), San Francisco (1970), Fresno "Sassoon" (1972), Montebello (1974), Pasadena "Azadamard" (1977), Glendale "Ararat" (1978), Orange County "Sardarabad"(1979), San Fernando Valley "Massis" (1979), San Diego "Sevan" (1983). Salt Lake City "Spitak" (1991), Inland Empire "Araz" (1991), Santa Clara "Ani" (1991), South Bay "Arakatz" (1992), Crescenta Valley "Shant" (1993), Burbank "Sipan" (1995), Las Vegas "Artsakh" (1996), Phoenix (1998), Walnut Creek "Gars" (2000) & Colorado (2002).
DID YOU KNOW that Santa Clara Ani is the 11 th Chapter of the Homenetmen Western USA Region and that you can get more info on each chapter, such as date established, member count, address & phone numbers, by pointing your browser to: www.Homenetmen.org and click on the Chapters tab.
9. How is HOMENETMEN structured?
Chapter: Each chapter has a chapter Executive Committee elected by its own general membership meeting for a term of one year.
Region: Each region as a regional Executive Committee elected by chapter representatives for a two year term.
Central: The highest body of HOMENETMEN is the CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE; delegates from all over the world elect the central executive committee at its general assembly for a four year term.
DO YOU KNOW who your Chapter Executives or Regional Executives representatives are??
10. What is "MARZIG" Magazine?
"MARZIG" (meaning Athlete) Magazine is the official monthly publication of the HOMENETMEN Central Committee, which is published in Lebanon .
DO YOU KNOW that you can subscribe to "MARZIG"! <firstname.lastname@example.org>
11. What is the HOMENETMEN LOGO?
The official HONENETMEN logo is the “Vahan”, the shield.
The official HOMENETMEN Scouts logo is the Iris flower called "SHOUSHANADZAGHIG".
DO YOU KNOW what this logo stand for?
12. What is HOMENETMEN'S Motto?
HOMENETMEN'S Motto is "PARTSRATSIR, PARTSRATSUR" which translates to "ELEVATE YOURSELF AND OTHERS WITH YOU".
DO YOU KNOW who came up with this logo? Bedros Adrouni.
13. What is HOMENETMEN'S Scouts motto?
Did you know that it is also the motto for all scouts throughout the world?
14. What are the "NAVASARTIAN" Games?
The NAVASARTIAN games are the annual HOMENETMEN games. It is held every year from Memorial Day weekend (May) till July, and ends with the parade of Western USA regions athletes & scouts on Independence Day (July 4 th).
DID YOU KNOW that over 4000 athletes & scouts participate in the closing ceremonies & parade every year?
15. How many "NAVASARTIAN" games have we had?
The first NAVASARTIAN GAMES in California was held in 1976, with 1500 athletes & scouts, and has been growing every year.
DID YOU KNOW that we have celebrated our 30th NAVASARTIAN GAMES in 2005?
16. What are the "PAN HOMENETMEN" games?
The PAN HOMENETMEN games are held once every four years, and organized by the HOMENETMEN CENTRAL COMMITTEE, which invites all HOMENETMEN regions and chapters to participate in various athletic tournaments.
DID YOU KNOW that HOMENETMEN U.S Western region teams have swept all trophies in PAN HOMENETMEN GAMES except in 1989, 2001 &2005?
1981 Canada Men's Basketball - Western USA
1985 Los Angeles Soccer - Western USA
1989 Valance France Basketball- Aleppo Syria
1993 Canada Soccer - Western USA
1997 New Jersey Men & Women's Basketball & Volleyball - Western USA
2001 Beirut Lebanon Soccer - Aleppo Syria
2005 Athens Greece Women’s Basketball-Western USA
DO YOU KNOW when the next PAN HOMENETMEN games will be held, where and what sports will be included. (Answer) Not decided yet.
17. What is a regional jamboree?
A REGIONAL JAMBOREE is a scout's Jamboree organized by a Region. The third HOMENETMEN US Western Regional Jamboree was held in Sad Diego's "Mataguay" scout reservation in the summer of 2000.
DID YOU KNOW that over 500 Scouts representing all the Western Region chapters camped for over a week, and had to endure a flash flood? The last and 4 th Regional Jamboree was at the Tahquitz Scout Reservation near Los Angeles , from August15-21, 2004.
18. What is a PAN HOMENETMEN jamboree?
A PAN HOMENETMEN JAMBOREE is a scout Jamboree organized by the HOMENETMEN CENTRAL COMMITTEE, where all HOMENETMEN Regions and individual Chapters from all over the world can participate.
DID YOU KNOW that over 800 Scouts participated in the 6th PAN HOMENETMEN JAMBOREE that was last held in Armenia in 2001.Also, 552 scouts from all Homenetmen Regions participated in the 7 th PAN HOMENETMEN JAMBOREE, fromJuly 26 to August 6, 2002 , in Pyuragan Armenia .
DO YOU KNOW when is the next PAN HOMENETMEN JAMBOREE and where? Again in Armenia , end of July/early August 2006.
19. What is HOMENETMEN'S mission?
HOMENETMEN is a strong believer in the strong mind in a strong body concept. HOMENETMEN provides the Armenian youth with moral, physical and social education; through it's scouting and athletic programs. It exposes the youth to the wealth of Armenian culture and heritage, preparing outstanding and law abiding Armenian American citizens.
DID YOU KNOW that HOMENETMEN has been a school to Armenian-Americans, where they learned the Armenian language.
20. What are the obligations of a HOMENETMEN member?
HOMENETMEN expects all its members to abide by its bylaws, act as outstanding citizens, uphold its high principles, lead a prosperous life and strive to elevate oneself and others.
DID YOU KNOW that HOMENETMEN U.S. Western region started with 40 members in Los Angeles , and now has over 7000 members.
20. Where can I find the latest news about HOMENETMEN and its activities?
- Watch HTV (HOMENETMEN TV)
- Read the HOMENETMEN page in Azbarez Daily every Saturday.
- Subscribe to MARZIG monthly magazine
- Check the Regional website www.homenetmen.org
- check the ANI Chapter website www.santaclaraani.org
- Read The Ani Newsletter.
DID YOU KNOW that you can join the HOMENETMEN U.S. Western regions website update list, whereby you will receive an e-mail every time the web site is updated.
21. How can I join HOMENETMEN?
You can join HOMENETMEN by contacting your local chapter, or just simply e-mail us a note with your address and phone number, and someone will contact you with details.
In Northern California Silicon Valley area:
Email address: Info@santaclaraani.org or HMEMVarchoutyun@aol.com.