BY CLAUDIA TALEEN LEIST
SAN FRANCISCO—All organizations, big or small, can benefit greatly from professional leadership seminars and Homenetmen is no different.
Arick Gevorkian of the Homenetmen Western Region Executive Committee traveled to San Francisco on the weekend of Oct. 17-19 to hold a leadership seminar for members in all areas of Homenetmen. From executive committees to coaches and scouts leaders, around forty members from the three Northern California Chapters: San Francisco, Santa Clara “Ani” and Walnut Creek “Gars,” came together to learn more about the organization, new strategies for teamwork, member recruitment and overall leadership development.
We began the seminar with introductions and stating the number of years we’ve been Homenetmen members, as well as sharing our reasons for attending the seminar. When it was my turn, it suddenly occurred to me that the reason I joined Homenetmen six years ago at the age of 11 was because my mom signed me up to play basketball in the San Francisco chapter, but the reason I have continued to be a member, to play basketball and be an active scout was because I loved being a part of this organization. Although only half Armenian, I have always identified mainly with my Armenian heritage and being involved with organizations such as Homenetmen and AYF provide me a strong sense of cultural pride and belonging.
During the seminar, Arick covered topics ranging from the history of Homenetmen, recruiting and retaining members to conflict management. We learned a lot about effective leadership, delegation of responsibility, and pursuing alumni members and current parents to get involved with our chapters through support groups.
At one point, all participants were divided into three teams consisting of members from different chapters, age groups and leadership levels, to collaborate on a project that needs support. It was a very interesting and beneficial exercise that helped with teamwork, exchange of ideas, prioritization and focus on effective solutions.
Having met Arick at the Pan Homenetmen Scouts Jamboree in Armenia last summer, I kept having flashbacks during the seminar of singing “Harach Nahadag” with him and the Western US scouts troop at Yeraploor Cemetery in Yerevan. I vividly remember that very emotional and memorable moment. The pride Arick takes in Homenetmen and in our culture is amazing and contagious. This day with Arick was not only spent discussing leadership strategies and chapter improvements, but it was also a day to get reintroduced to this great organization and to be reminded about all the reasons why we all take pride in being Homenetmen members.
Arick Gevorkian’s time with us in San Francisco helped inspire all participants to continue their commitment to Homenetmen, to encourage new members to join, to motivate current members to take on more leadership roles and to give back to the organization that has given us so much.
Claudia Taleen Leist is a Homenetmen San Francisco Chapter athlete, scout, and future leader.