This showcase event organized by Homenetmen Western USA are the Navasartian Games. Launched in East Los Angeles in 1975, now it boasts the participation of 300 teams, 3,200 athletes, 1,100 scouts and attracts over 35,000 spectators over a period of eight weeks each year. The games culminate on the weekend of the Fourth of July, with a festival and an elaborate closing ceremony featuring the collective family of Homenetmen athletes, scouts, parents and volunteers from the 18 chapters in the Western US. With the participation of over fifty local businesses and organizations in the food and games booths of the festival, the Navasartian Games are more than just a Homenetmen event. These games have a special place in the heart of the community and feature all that is right with the community. After all, these activities are geared towards keeping the youth away from negative influences. By participating, they become involved in family and community oriented activities.
The Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts, referred to as Homenetmen, is a 501 (C)3 non-profit organization with 30,000 members in five continents. Homenetmen was founded in 1918, and currently has 18 chapters with over 7,000 members and growing in the Western Region.
It is Homenetmen’s mission to prepare exemplary and law abiding citizens by providing physical and health education, endowing the mind and soul with the finest spirit of sportsmanship, and developing and understanding of responsibility and honor as they strive for individual and collective excellence.
The first chapter in the US was established in Los Angeles in 1968. Since then it has provided the Armenian American youth with moral, physical and social education and exposed the youth to the Armenian culture and heritage. The Homenetmen experience is one of lasting association, altruism and benevolence. Homenetmen’s motto, Elevate Yourself and Others With You, is a constant reminder of the fundamental objective of this organization.
Homenetmen in the Western USA has over 3,200 athletic members. These athletes compete in local league competitions, as well as major regional athletic programs. Once again, these programs are organized and implemented with the help of many selfless parent volunteers, who help put programs together for basketball, volleyball, soccer, track and field, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, chess, karate and table tennis.
The Homenetmen athletic program eschews the spirit of competition, sportsmanship and teamwork, while it instills a strong sense of individual identity.
As a believer in the strong mind in a strong body concept, the Homenetmen scouting program provides the Armenian American youth with moral, physical and social education. In addition, it exposes scouts to the wealth and treasure of the Armenian culture and heritage and strives to prepare outstanding law abiding Armenian American citizens.
In its service to the youth of the community, Homenetmen develops leaderships skills, life skills and scouting fun; through weekly activities, camping trips, merit badges and community service, so that the energy and enthusiasm of youth is spent in a positive way in a healthy atmosphere.
Among the most prestigious medals that any Homenetmen scout is able to earn is the St. Mesrob emblem. Introduced in conjunction with the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Boy Scouts of America, this emblem honors the fifth century inventor of the Armenian alphabet, Mesrob Mashdots.
Homenetmen Hrashq division was established in 2018 while Homenetmen celebrated its centennial anniversary. Homenetmen recognized that the special needs community didn’t have a place where their children with special needs can be a part of recreational sports in a fun, safe, and inclusive atmosphere. The Hrashq division provides this inclusive environment and serves families that have children with special needs. The division is led by a core of volunteers who are experts in the fields that provide services and support to this community. Additionally, a trained and certified professional sets a weekly curriculum, conducts practices, monitors outcomes and trains the one on one aides that work with this group. These young athletes have come to thrive in the Hrashq environment which has help promote and stimulate their therapy. Hrashq always provides a network to the families who would otherwise be left on their own. More importantly, Hrashq is an avenue for long-time members to enjoy the community they grew up in, with their child with special needs. Finally, Hrashq division, 100 years after the organization’s establishment stays true to Homenetmen’s fundamental purpose and mission, uniting the Armenian Community through scouting and athletics.
The Youth division was established in an effort to retain the organization’s younger members and keep them active in the organization. Through project based activities and social functions, the division is kept together and active. As the region’s 17 chapters and 2 units experience change over in the leadership, the Youth Division is there to fill in those key positions to continue the organization’s mission and engage the younger generation of members.