GLENDALE—The Boy Scouts of America bestowed upon Armenian-American Scouts from Homenetmen Glendale “Ararat” Chapter the highest rank of Eagle Scout in a ceremony on Sunday, June 8th, at Ararat Headquarters in Glendale, California.
St. Francis High School Senior Arthur Ter Zakarian, and Clark Magnet High School graduates Aris Terteryan and Daniel Shahgaldians, were escorted on stage by an Honor Guard of Homenetmen Scouts, where they were met by Scoutmaster Arto Kazarian. The boys gave speeches about their journey to reach the Eagle Scout rank, which was followed by the presentation of the Eagle Scout badge and handkerchief, and a chance for the Eagle Scouts to present their strongest supporters with a gift of appreciation on stage.
Congratulations and certificates of recognition were awarded to the boys from Congressman Adam Schiff, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Member Mike Antonovich, and California State Senator Kevin DeLeon.
The Eagle Scout rank is awarded to roughly 2% of the worldwide scouting members. Homenetmen Glendale “Ararat” Chapter has within its scouting alumni and leadership 12 Eagle Scouts, and three Silver Beaver recipients, attained by current Scoutmaster Arto Kazarian, Varooj Mirzaians, and Emil DerGevorkian.
Donald Tyndall, Chairman of The Advancement Committee, and father of an Eagle Scout, said “I have been associated with Homenetmen since 2001; it’s been wonderful to see the program grow… The Eagle Scout rank is the highest rank that any scout can reach. Any scout troupe potentially has Eagle Scouts. It’s very common for some troupes [to reach Eagle Scout levels], it’s very uncommon for other troupes: some just never quite make it. Seeing any organization get up to the highest peak is a wonderful thing.”
Training Committee Chair of Verdugo Hills Council and Merit Badge Counselor, Pierre Landry, counseled all three of the boys awarded on Sunday: “We tell the Eagle Scouts, you have to do it yourself, but you can’t do it alone, and that’s so true of any boy that makes it to Eagle. It’s because of the support from his parents, and also from organizations like Homenetmen that provide the structure, support, counselors and opportunities for these boys, so it’s the combinations of all these supports that come together to help the boys reach Eagle.”
At a reception following the badge ceremony, the boys recounted what this award meant to them. Arthur Ter Zakarian stated: “we have the responsibility to help everybody else, everyone who hasn’t reached the rank yet, and people in the community as well.” Aris Terterian said: “We finished this journey, and we start our next journey. It’s up to us to elevate ourselves, and elevate others and help others succeed. That’s what we do.”
When asked which badge was the most difficult to attain, the three boys recounted the process of achieving the Camping Badge. Arthur explained, “We backpacked 67 miles over 11 days. After 10 days of hiking and camping, on the last day we had to carry the most weight we were going to carry the entire trip, one third of our body weight.” Aris added, “It was raining, pouring actually, and lightning was going on a few dozen yards away from us, and we’re carrying these dromedaries of water, 10 liters per person, and all our food, for an 11 mile hike.”
Arthur added, “By the time we got there all the campgrounds were taken so all that was left was a hillside, so of course, all the rain was collecting on our site. When we were setting up our tents we got soaked, and try setting up a tent in pouring rain!” They all chuckled at their adventures.
When asked why they chose to become scouts, or try to qualify for the Eagle Scout Badge, the boys all responded at the same time: Arthur said, “it’s the experience,” Aris: “it’s getting through it,” and Daniel stated almost wistfully, “I would do it all over again,” to which his fellow Eagle Scouts responded, “definitely.”