Community Gathers for Closing of Homenetmen’s 44th Navasartian Games

Scenes from the closing ceremony of Homenetmen’s 44th Navasartian Games

VAN NUYS—After months of athletic tournaments, Homenetmen’s 44th Navasartian Games came to an end with Garo and Sosse Eshgian as its Honorary Presidents. The final games and festival weekend once again coincided with American Independence Day, with this year as its 243rd anniversary. This year’s Navasartian Games, which embody countless sacrifices, were undoubtedly unique, impressive, and exemplified collective spirit.

The Navasartian Games’ festival weekend allowed community members gathered at Birmingham High School to enjoy the Armenian culture, and witness the many victories of Armenian youth participating in this year’s games.

The 44th Navasartian Games’ closing ceremony was held on the field of Birmingham High School on Saturday, July 6, with the presence of numerous Homenetmen members, parents, supporters, and representatives from various organizations.

The event’s Masters of Ceremonies were Taline Apanian, who spoke in Armenian, and Marita Medzachian-Harboyan, who delivered her message in English. At 6:30 p.m., Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Honorary Presidents Garo and Sosse Eshgian, Exemplary Homenetmen Member Vartkes Shekherdimian, and Homenetmen Regional Executive Chairperson Hagop Tufenkjian entered the stadium. They were led to their seats by Homenetmen Western United States chapters scouting leaders. It was an impressive site to see the Honorary President, Garo Eshgian, dressed in his scouting attire with great pride as he exemplified the true character of a Homenetmen member—who has grown up in the ranks of the organization and achieved countless successes in his career.

Official guests in attendance also included Vicar General Bishop Torkom Donoyan; Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian; Homenetmen Central Executive members Vicken Tavitian and Armando Torkomian; Central Executive Council Vice-Chairperson Mher Der Ohanessian; ARF Central Committee members Avedik Izmirlian and Koko Topalian; Congressman Brad Sherman; California State Senator Anthony Portantino; and 43rd Navasartian Games’ Honorary Presidents Hamlet and Greta Chraghchian. Also present were representatives of the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, Hamazkayin, ANCA Western Region, local organizations, exemplary Homenetmen members, supporters, sponsors, donors, parents, and members.

After gifting the Honorary President with a scouting neckerchief, Homenetmen Regional Scoutmaster Sharlene Ghozalian received the approval of Regional Executive Chairperson Hagop Tufenkjian to begin the procession with a flag ceremony. Homenetmen’s marching band entered the field, creating a lively atmosphere among attendees. The marching band was followed by scouts presenting the American, Armenian, Artsakh, South American, Canadian, California, Homenetmen, and Navasartian flags. Thereafter, the American, Armenian, and Homenetmen anthems followed, and the flags were placed next to the decorated stage.

The official program began with remarks delivered by Congressman Brad Sherman, who paid special mention to the pride he feels through his close friendship and ties with the Armenian people. He referred to the aid and assistance provided to Armenia, Artsakh, Syrian Armenians, and Javakhk Armenians, as well as his efforts to help boost and promote Armenia’s economy. The Congressman enthusiastically informed attendees that he would be visiting Armenia in the coming weeks.

The Homenetmen Regional Executive’s message was conveyed to attendees through remarks delivered by Vice-Chairperson Sevag Garabedian. “After many months of dedicated work, Homenetmen’s 44th Navasartian Games conclude on this day. You are all witness to its many accomplishments and victories, and we welcome you all,” he stated.

After extending appreciation to Homenetmen South America and Canada for participating in this year’s Navasartian Games, Garabedian explained that the Navasartian Games far exceed athletic tournaments. He stressed that they aim to unite Armenian youth in a healthy atmosphere, enriching the history of the organization, inspiring new memories, and strengthening faith toward the organization. “These activities and programs are what best demonstrate the mission and objectives of Homenetmen,” Garabedian concluded.

Special appreciation was extended to Honorary Presidents Garo and Sosse Eshgian, to this year’s Exemplary Homenetmen Member Vartkes Shekherdimian, as well as to the organization’s volunteer members, who continue to work hard to ensure the success of the Navasartian Games and stay true to the organization’s “Elevate Yourselves and Others with You” motto.

Homenetmen Central Executive member Vicken Tavitian also delivered remarks and gave mention to Homenetmen as the most active and impactful youth organization in the region. He asserted, “Each of you have played an instrumental role in the organization’s successes, similar to our Honorary Presidents Garo and Sosse Eshgian and Exemplary Homenetmen Member Vartkes Shekherdimian.”

Highlighting the important role of youth in strengthening the organization, Tavitian explained that he believes the key to Homenetmen’s future lies with its youth. He explained that, in following the organization’s strategic plan, in May, 40 young delegates from 17 regions in Athens, Greece laid the foundation for the creation of a youth entity for Homenetmen. He concluded by expressing his pride that he has served as the Central Executive representative to the Homenetmen Western United States for the past eight years and affirmed his continued service to the organization.

Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian delivered his blessings, and gave praise to the Lord for allowing yet another opportunity to gather and unite at the Homenetmen Western United States’ 44th Navasartian Games’ closing ceremony and parade. He explained that the gathering undoubtedly pursues the goal of unity. He gave special thanks to Homenetmen as an organization, and extended appreciation to all past and present members, who continue to help create a promising future for Armenian youth.

Following the inspirational messages, the much-anticipated parade of scouts and athletes ensued. As the Homenetmen marching band played, the numerous teams and scouting groups began entering the field, starting with Homenetmen South America, Homenetmen Canada, “Hrashq” athletes, Homenetmen Youth Division members, and athletes and scouts from the region’s various chapters led by their executives and coaches.

After taking their places on the field, the trophies were announced and presented to chapters by Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Honorary Presidents Garo and Sosse Eshgian, Exemplary Homenetmen Member Vartkes Shekherdimian, California State Senator Anthony Portantino, and Homenetmen Regional Executive Chairperson Hagop Tufenkjian. Receiving trophies after months of participation greatly encouraged attendees, as well as the chapters involved.

Lastly, Regional Scoutmaster Sharlene Ghozalian handed the Navasartian flag to Chairperson Tufenkjian, who gifted it to the Honorary President.

The closing ceremony concluded with entertainment by well-known Homenetmen member and singer Varand, who sang a number of songs dedicated to the organization. The last day of the festival continued on the grounds of Birmingham High School with lively entertainment, fireworks, and an enjoyable atmosphere.

The rankings of the various athletic competitions for the 44th Navasartian Games are as follows:

1st Place – Homenetmen Ararat Chapter
2nd Place – Homenetmen Shant Chapter
3rd Place – Homenetmen Sassoon Chapter

Track and Field:
1st Place – Homenetmen San Francisco Chapter
2nd Place – Homenetmen Massis Chapter
2nd Place – Homenetmen Gars Chapter
2nd Place – Homenetmen Shant Chapter

1st Place – Homenetmen Sipan Chapter
2nd Place – Homenetmen Shant Chapter
3rd Place – Homenetmen Ararat Chapter

1st Place – Homenetmen Massis Chapter
2nd Place – Homenetmen San Francisco Chapter
3rd Place – Homenetmen Sipan Chapter

1st Place – Homenetmen Ararat Chapter
2nd Place – Homenetmen South America
3rd Place – Homenetmen Montebello Chapter

1st Place – Homenetmen Ararat Chapter
2nd Place – Homenetmen Ani Chapter
2nd Place – Homenetmen Azadamard Chapter

1st Place – Homenetmen Ararat Chapter
2nd Place – Homenetmen Massis Chapter
3rd Place – Homenetmen Shant Chapter


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