Homenetmen 35th Navasartian Games Conclude With Inspirational Closing Ceremony and Parade

VAN NUYS, CA–Without a doubt, the Navasartian Games and its accompanying 4-day festival can be considered one of the largest events widely recognized throughout our communities. Organized by the Homenetmen Western Region and just having completed its 35th year over the July 1-4, 2010 weekend, this event proudly draws thousands of Armenians throughout Northern, Central, and Southern California, as well as visitors from afar, in support of the Homenetmen organization and all it represents. With strong focus on a myriad of values, including volunteerism, sportsmanship, discipline, community spirit, and much more, Homenetmen has been nurturing our Armenian youth since its inception.

Eight weeks prior to its final weekend, Navasartian’s athletic games began with the full enthusiasm of Homenetmen members, athletes, parents, and unyielding supporters. This year, the range of athletic tournaments included swimming, track and field, tennis, table tennis, chess, volleyball, soccer, and basketball with Homenetmen teams representing the region’s 17 chapters. The final tournaments and festival, full of continuous entertainment, certainly gave witness to the fact that Homenetmen is an organization that the community holds dear and the Navasartian Games & Festival represent more than a mere annual event but, instead, a multifaceted experience for all age groups.

Culminating the 35th Annual Navasartian Games was the closing ceremony, held on Sunday, July 4, 2010 at Birmingham High School. Supporters filled the stands in anticipation of the official program, which started at 6:00 p.m. after a number of songs performed by Lara Gharibian. Accompanied by Homenetmen’s Regional Scouting Council, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, this year’s Navasartian’s Honorary President George Jamgochian, Exemplary Homenetmen Member Berdj Djamdjian, and Homenetmen Regional Executive Chairperson Steve Artinian started the procession. The ceremony’s presenters included Homenetmen members Nora Chaparian and Nyree Derderian, announcing to the crowd in Armenian and English, respectively.

First and foremost, a moment of silence was observed and attendees paid their respects toward our nation’s brave heroes who have fallen in defense of our homeland, including Mnatsakan Gasparian, Araik Barseghian, Edward Manukian, and Paruir Melkonian, four Armenian soldiers who were martyred on June 18, 2010 in Artsakh. The memory of departed Homenetmen members was also observed, including Levon Habeshian, athletic coach for the Homenetmen “Shant” Chapter, who recently passed away in Armenia.

Thereafter, the impressive flag ceremony commenced with Homenetmen scouts marching with the American, Armenian, Artsakh, California, Homenetmen, and Navasartian flags, which was then followed by the playing of the American and Armenian national anthems. Onlookers subsequently enjoyed Homenetmen’s newly-formed cycling team take to the field led by Missak Terzian, a cycling champion well-known throughout Homenetmen and in Lebanon.

The number of guests and dignitaries present during the ceremony was indeed extensive as Chaparian and Derderian introduced them. These included Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; Haig Avedissian, representative to the Consul General of Armenia; Koko Balian, Vice-Chairperson of Homenetmen’s Central Executive; Vicky Marashlian, Chairperson of the ARS Central Executive; Hagop Tufenkjian, member of the ARF Central Committee; Rima Boghossian, Chairperson of the Western Prelacy Executive Council; Stepan Boyadjian, representative of the Armenian National Committee; Congressman Adam Schiff; Honorary President George Jamgochian; Exemplary Homenetmen Member Berdj Djamdjian and his wife, Norma; Berj Shahbazian, Chairperson of the AGBU Southern California District Committee; Joseph Kanimian, Legal Counsel to the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America;  Greg Krikorian, Member of the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education; Mr. & Mrs. Vahag and Baydzar Thomasian, Honorary Presidents of the 33rd Navasartian Games; representatives from the Boy Scouts of America, Verdugo Hills Council; various Armenian school principals; former honorary presidents and exemplary members; countless guests, parents, Homenetmen members and supporters.

Congressman Schiff offered his congratulatory remarks to Homenetmen in the successful organization of the 35th Annual Navasartian Games and expressed wishes of continued accomplishments. Following these comments, Regional Executive Chairperson Steve Artinian’s welcome address outlined the numerous triumphs of Homenetmen Western USA. “The past few years have been historic because the achievements of this region will change Homenetmen forever. We have never been so poised to meet the future needs of our children as we are today,” Artinian affirmed.

Artinian gave prideful mention of the Glendale Ararat Chapter’s new North Campus Athletic Center opened in 2007; Camp Tecuya, a 25-acre campground in Frazier Park, acquired by Homenetmen Western Region in 2008 and the completed construction of the new Regional Headquarters in 2009; and in 2010 – the new Homenetmen offices of the Burbank “Sipan” Chapter in the Burbank Armenian Center; the opening of the Los Angeles Chapter’s new center; as well as the upcoming September opening of Homenetmen’s Kevork Andonian Hall in Eagle Rock, CA. Showing appreciation on behalf of the Regional Executive Committee, Atinian stated, “I’d like to thank the hundreds and thousands of members that played a role in realizing these dreams all in service of our youth.”

Chairman Steve Artinian than addressed the thousands of young athletes and scouts seated on the other side of the stadium waiting to participate in the parade of chapters  “Athletes, Coaches, Leaders and Scouts, with every dribble, with every solute, you shape your future and ours. You are all very special and you are living through a very special time because everything that we do, we do for you, because you are our future. Don’t take this responsibility lightly because before you know it you will be sitting behind me watching your children, so be happy, be proud and live life to its fullest. We love you all.”

After honoring Berdj Djamdjian as the 2010 Exemplary Homenetmen Member and George Jamgochian as the Honorary President, Artinian proceeded to announce the 2010 Homenetmen Memorial Scholarship Program, sponsored by families of those departed and awarded to members who offer significant to the organization. As such, in 2010, 6 scholarships will be awarded in honor of the following departed individuals:

  • Hagop Ovayan, who served as the first Chairperson of the Homenetmen Western US, Regional Executive Committee;
  • Harout Parseghian, the first Chairperson of the first Homenetmen chapter in the Western US
  • Hovaness Janig Khachadourian, a long-time Homenetmen member and soccer athlete;
  • Nataline  Sarkisyan, a Homenetmen girl scout;
  • Jack Der Boghossian, a dedicated Homenetmen member;
  • Haig Hovsepian, a former member of Homenetmen’s Regional Executive.

Subsequently, Pierre Manougian, Regional Executive liaison to the scouting program, introduced Talin Hindoyan, who was awarded the position of General Regional Scoutmaster. Hindoyan has offered valuable insight within Homenetmen’s scouting division and has earned numerous badges. Next, Hrair Boyajian took the oath of General Regional Scoutmaster, receiving the corresponding badges from Steve Artinian.

On behalf of Homenetmen’s Central Executive, Vice-Chairperson Koko Balian addressed the audience, giving special mention to the hundreds of volunteers who, through sacrifice and tireless dedication, helped ensure the success of the 35th Navasartian Games. Balian also commended the Regional Executive and committees that contributed to such an accomplishment and praised all members, chapter executives, committees, parents, and supporters for their tremendous backing of Homenetmen.

Following Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian’s blessing remarks, the much awaited Navasartian parade ensued with the 17 Homenetmen chapter scouts and athletes marching proudly before the thousands of spectators in the stands. Once this procession ended and participants collectively gathered on the field, the championship trophies were presented by Archbishop Mardirossian, Koko Balian, George Jamgochian, Berdj Djamdjian, Steve Artinian and Jano Kahvejian, the Regional’s liaison to the athletic division, to the victorious teams.

The closing ceremonies’ official program concluded with the traditional presentation of the Navasartian flag to Honorary President Jamgochian by the Regional Scouting Council. After the end of the closing ceremonies, the festival continued until midnight on the grounds of Birmingham High School with live entertainment by Joseph Krikorian, Antoine Bezdjian, and Harout Pamboukjian. Though now concluded, once can indisputably affirm that the 35th Navasartian Games served as quite an experience for all, which will be treasured lastingly, with great thanks to Homenetmen.

35th Annual Navasartian Games Overall Rankings

1st Place – San Fernando Valley “Massis” Chapter
2nd Place – Santa Clara “Ani” Chapter
3rd Place – Orange County “Sardarabad” Chapter

1st Place – San Fernando Valley “Massis” Chapter
2nd Place – South Bay “Arakadz” Chapter
3rd Place – Glendale “Ararat” Chapter

1st Place – Glendale “Ararat” Chapter
2nd Place – Orange County “Sardarabad” Chapter
3rd Place – Fresno “Sassoun” Chapter

1st Place – Glendale “Ararat” Chapter
2nd Place – Pasadena “Azadamard” Chapter
3rd Place – Orange County “Sardarabad” Chapter


1st Place – San Fernando Valley “Massis” Chapter
2nd Place – Santa Clara “Ani” Chapter
3rd Place – Glendale “Ararat” Chapter

1st Place – Los Angeles Chapter
2nd Place – Glendale “Ararat” Chapter
3rd Place – San Fernando Valley “Massis” Chapter

1st Place – Glendale “Ararat” Chapter
2nd Place – San Fernando Valley “Massis” Chapter
3rd Place – Crescenta Valley “Shant” Chapter & Pasadena “Azadamard” Chapter

Photo Credit: Helena Gregorian


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