BY KATIA KARAGEUZIAN
The October 26 soft opening of Homenetmen Massis Chapter’s new gym in Canoga Park elicited goose bumps and teary eyes from members who had been working for years to make this project a reality. However, it was the excitement of young athletes rushing onto the shiny new gym floor, the brotherhood and pride in the eyes of young coaches, and the approving nods of parents that said it all: “It is a New Dawn at Homenetmen Massis chapter!” Eighteen year old coach Melkon Makerian put it best in his heartfelt impromptu speech: “This is our new home now!”
The event, planned by the coordinated efforts of Massis executive, athletic, scouting and social committees, was geared toward the most important assets of the chapter: its youngest members! They enjoyed face painting as well as commemorative tile painting; played basketball games with freeze dance breaks, and signed their names onto a big banner carrying the newest motto of the chapter: We Are Massis! Coaches versed each other in a heated basketball game, and later challenged the executive committee to a Dodgeball game!
The Massis scouts who had constructed an “Ashtarag” at the entrance of the building, performed a momentous flag ceremony inside the completed gym.
Homenetmen Western USA Regional representatives Salpi Jejeian and Alec Araradian, Armenian National Committee members, Homenetmen Ararat Chapter representatives, previous Massis Executive Chairmen and committee members, as well as Massis founding member Chris Abkarian were all on hand. Massis Athletic Director, Steve Sarkissian was the day’s master of ceremonies. He invited current Massis Chairman Ara Tepelekian, Massis Co-Chairman Zohrab Bostanian and 2012, 2013 Massis Chairlady Katia Karageuzian to say a few words. The fact that it took several executive committees’ efforts to reach this historic milestone was emphasized, and a special thank you was offered to 1995 Massis Chairman Raffi Ishkhanian whose Vartchutyun had launched this project by starting the Massis Gym Fund almost twenty years ago. Massis Executive committee members, Betty Makerian, Marine Shahinian, Edwin Davidian, Jeanette Sabounjian and Bedros Taslakian joined in with their well wishes, and finally the much anticipated I pad and Clippers tickets raffle prizes were drawn.
The event drew a turnout of several hundred Massis members; and resonated with an undeniable vibe for a new beginning, for the thirty five year old chapter that finally has a place to call its own!
Massis chapter thanks its generous donors, and hopes for the continued support of our community as it embarks on Phase II of its new center’s construction involving the offices, lobby and snack bar areas. The chapter anticipates holding the official grand opening event at the heel of the completion of construction. Those who wish to support this project are encouraged to do so by sponsoring square footage On-line (1 square foot = $100) using the following PayPal link: http://massis.org/square-foot-sponsorship, or by visiting Massis.org.