By: Y. Mkrtich Arslanyan and K. Anahid Donoyan
On Sunday, October 3rd, the Homenetmen Providence Chapter gathered for a very special ceremony. The Scouts were having their yearly Yertman Araroghoutouyn (Oath Ceremony)! The Scouts, parents, and family members gathered to celebrate the hard work of the past year and to honor the Scouts who earned new Garks (Scouting Ranks) and Asdijans (Leadership Ranks) as well as well new Scouts into our ranks. The weather was beautiful as we gathered together in the parking lot of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church. The Chapter also held a falafel fundraiser before the Ceremony to raise funds for the upcoming year. The opening and closing prayers were given by Der Kapriel Nazarian. Speeches were given by the Masnajoughi Khmpabed, Y. Mkrtich Arslanyan, the Masnajoughi Pokh-Khmpabed, K. Anahid Donoyan, the Vice Chairwoman of the Providence Executive K. Manoushag Krikorian, the Chairwoman of the Providence Scout Council K. Hasmik Parsadanyan, the Chairman of the Regional Scout Council Y. Vicken Khatchadourian, and the event was MC’ed by Scout Council member by K. Menar Tarbinian. We were very honored that Y. Vicken Khatchadourian, the Chairman of the Regional Scout Council, and Y. Harout Tashian, the Khmpabed (Troop Leader) of the U.S.A. Eastern Region, were able to join us and partake in the ceremony.
The Scouts marched in together led by their Khmpabed Y. Mkrtich Arslanyan (Troop Leader) and Pokh-Khmpabedouhi (Deputy Troop Leader) K. Anahid Donoyan, and then sang the Anthems of the United States, Armenia, Homenetmen, and Homenetmen Scouts. After an opening prayer by Der Kapriel Nazarian, Y. Mkrtich and K. Anahid led the ceremony. First to be honored were the Kaylig (Wolves) and Ardzvigs (Eagles), our younger Scouts under the age of 12. To start, the Kaylig and Ardzvigs performed their Medz Ganch (Great Call), it is how they start every gathering, and it is how they get ready to start the day. We had 2 Kayligs (Y. Daron Tarbinian and Y. Aram Attarian) and 1 Ardzvig (K. Arpi Khatchadourian) who earned the right to take their oath and have their Pokhgab (Neckerchief) tied around their necks. Kaylig and Ardzvigs earn this right by first learning about what it means to be a Scout. They learned about the Vohmakin Law (the law which all Kayligs and Ardzvigs must follow), the 5 by-laws of the Kaylig and Ardzvigs, and the meaning of the Medz Ganch (Great Call). We also had 5 new Kayligs (Y. Armen Avagyan, Y. Andre Avagyan, Y. Van Corriveau, Y. Aram Hagopian, and Y. Ari Yepremian) and 2 new Ardzvigs (K. Vanna Attarian and K. Sofia Dedeyan) join our ranks. These Scouts were given certificates welcoming them to our Troop and their pokhgabs, which must be worn on their left hip until they are ready to take their oath.
After the Kaylig and Ardzvigs, it was time for the Ari and Arenoushes (Scouts ages 12 and older). There were two portions to their ceremony, Scouts who would be earning an Asdijan (Leadership Rank) and Scouts who would be earning a Gark (Scouts Rank). An Asdijan is earned through the actions of the Scout. The Scout must show their Khmpabeds that they are ready for more responsibility. They do this by coming to our weekly gatherings, participating in lessons and activities, and completing any responsibilities that they are given. The higher Asdijan that a Scout holds, the more Scouts he/she has under their command. The Asdijans from rank lowest to highest are: Pogh-Arachnort (Deputy Line Leader), Arachnort (Line Leader), Vareech Arachnort (Group Leader0, Pokh-Khmpabed (Deputy Troop Leader), and Khmpabed (Troop Leader). We had two Arenoushes (K. Arpi Donoyan and K. Nora Tarbinian) who received the Asdijan of Pokh-Arachnort (Deputy Line Leader). As Pokh-Arachnorts they now stand in the back of their line and it is their responsibility to ensure that all Scouts in their line are behaving properly. One Arenoush (K. Maral Zobian) received the Asdijan of Arachnort (Line Leader). As an Arachnort K. Maral will now have her own line that she is responsible for. She now stands at the front of the line and must be aware of everything that the Scouts in her line do. It is the Arachnorts responsibility to make sure that their line is carrying out the directions of the Khmpabed. We also had 2 Aris (Y. Arthur Arslanyan and Y. Nerses Donoyan) and 1 Arenoush (K. Taleen Donoyan) receive the Asdijan of Vareech Arachnort (Group Leader). As Vareech Arachnorts, these Scouts now have multiple lines that they are responsible for. It is their responsibility to make sure that the Arachnorts are doing their job correctly and that all of their lines are doing well and following their instructions.
After the Asdijans were given, it was time for the Garks (Scout Ranks). Garks test a Scout’s knowledge on Scouting, Homenetmen, Armenian culture, and Armenian history. To earn a Gark, a scout must first learn all of the required knowledge and then take a test to prove that they have learned what is needed. After passing their test, they are rewarded with the Gark. The Garks from lowest to highest are: Norakeer (Newcomer), Norendza (Tenderfoot), Pen Gark (Second Class), Ayp Gark (First Class), Vgayel Gark (Star Rank), and Araratyan (Eagle Scout). We had 3 Aris (Y. Alex Avakyan, Y. Davit Khachatryan, and Y. Garo Tarbinian) who earned their Norakeer Gark. To earn this Gark they had to learn about the 12 by-laws of Scouting, the founders of Homenetmen, the Anthems of the USA, Armenia, Homenetmen, and Homenetmen, Scouts, as well as the basic skills needed to be a scout (like tying knots). When Scouts earn their Norakeer, they now must take their oath to become an Ari and Arenoush. The oath speaks about how we as Scouts must honor and preserve our homeland, always keep our culture, help each other, and remain faithful to God. After these 3 Aris took their Oath, the Pokhgabs were tied around their necks, to symbolize that they had officially joined our ranks as Norakeers. We had 2 Arenoushes (K. Arpi Donoyan and K. Nora Tarbinian) who earned their Pen Gark. To prepare for their test, they continued to build on their foundation as Scouts. They learned about basic First Aid, how to set up tents, how to build a fire, how to understand morse code, how to read trail signs, while also diving deeper into the history of Homenetmen and Armenia. We had 2 Aris (Y. Arthur Arslanyan and Y. Nerses Donoyan) who earned their Ayp Gark. The Ayp Gark is one of the most prestigious ranks that a Scout can earn. It is given at the Regional Level and the test is created by the Regional Khmpabed. Scouts learn about how to be a leader, how to plan Panagoums (camps), they learn about how to treat wounds and how to tie different types of bandages, they go into more detail about the geography of Armenia, and learn even more about the history of Armenia and Homenetmen while also learning about the Armenian Church and much much more. The Ayp Gark was given to Y. Arthur and Y. Nerses by our Regional Khmpabed, Y. Harout Tashian.
We are very thankful for everyone that joined us and supports us. All of the parents and Homenetmen members helped to make this day such a success! We are very excited for the upcoming year and know that it will be a lot of fun!