Our Story

The Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts, referred to as Homenetmen, is a non-profit organization founded in 1918. As a strong believer in the strong mind in a strong body concept, Homenetmen provides the Armenian American Youth with moral, physical and social education. In addition, it exposes the youth to the wealth of the Armenian culture and heritage, prepares outstanding and law abiding Armenian American Citizens. Homenetmen is a worldwide organization with ninety chapters and over 25,000 members on five continents. In the United States, the first Homenetmen Olympic Games took place in Brooklyn, New York in 1922. Shortly thereafter, new chapters were established in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Boston. From that point on, Homenetmen USA began to grow, founding chapters throughout the United States. The first chapter in Western USA was established in Los Angeles, in 1968. During the years, Homenetmen Western USA prospered. Today, it is a thriving organization with eighteen chapters and over 7,000 members throughout the Western United States. Through the years of growth and expansion, Homenetmen's mission has remained constant, and the standards and expectations of the young people have remained high. The Homenetmen experience is one of lasting association. The organization promotes a sense of fraternity and humanitarianism, which extends far beyond mere camaraderie and benevolence. Homenetmen's motto Elevate Yourself and Others With You is a poignant reminder of its fundamental objective - striving for individual and collective excellence. Homenetmen's scouting program is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. For its more than 2,000 scouts, Homenetmen Western USA provides the opportunity to instill in each and everyone of them a sense of social and moral responsibility. Homenetmen Scouting offers its scouts the opportunity to earn badges and medals in their areas of interest. The most prestigious of these medals is the St. Mesrob emblem. Introduced by Homenetmen Western USA to the Boys Scouts of America, in conjunction with the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the St. Mesrob Emblem is among the official badges of the Boy Scouts of America which a scout can earn after fulfilling the program requirements. The badge is named after Sahag Mesrob, who as the inventor of the Armenian Alphabet in the 5th century, is one of the most prominenet figures in Armenian History. The scouting program also features troop activities such as field trips and outdoor scouting expeditions. Moreover, each troop hosts an annual camping trip, inviting other local chapters to participate. In addition to regional activities, scouts from the Homenetmen Western USA have participated in numerous jamborees. A shared feeling of enthusiasm and patriotism has marked the overwhelming successes of the jamborees. The Homenetmen Western Region also hosts it's jamboree every four years in which over 800 scouts from local chapters participate in a 2 week camp. The athletic division of the Homenetmen in the Western USA Region has a membership of 3,500 young Armenian Americans. It sponsors local league competitions as well as major regional athletic programs and activities. In 1987, Homenetmen Western USA hosted the first annual Fall Invitational. The games featured competitions in indoor sports such as volleyball, basketball, and table tennis. Over a Three-month period, athletes representing numerous amateur athletic organizations participate in this tournament. The Fall Invitational has most recently attracted 250 teams and 2,500 athletes from different parts of California. The KAHAM (Inter-School) Games, held annually since 1982, bring together students throughout the Southland in basketball, volleyball, soccer, and track and field competition. In 1975, the first annual Navasartian Games were held at East Los Angeles College before only a few hundred spectators. Today, over 300 teams and 5,000 athletes from Homenetmen Western Region chapters, as well as guest teams from around the country and the world, participate in several weekends of sports competition. Each year the organization symbolically dedicates the Navasartian Games to a special event significant to the community. As it steps into its third decade of existence, the Navasartian Games have grown into being the community's most attractive event, drawing over 30,000 spectators. The athletic competition is held over an eight-week period starting in May. The Games culminate on the Fourth of July Weekend with a festival and the closing ceremonies. Over fifty businesses and organizations participate in the festival with food and game booths. The Navasartian Games have now become more than just Homenetmen's event. The Games have a special place in the heart of the community. Since its establishment in 1918, Homenetmen has played a fundamental role in helping to shape the character and leadership capabilities of the generations of Armenian American youths. Through its scouting and athletic programs, Homenetmen has preserved the Armenian spirit and addressed the needs of Armenian American communities through the Western United Sates. Its success has been made possible because of the generous moral and financial contributions of parents, concerned citizens and many charitable organization throughout the world, who believe in the organizations cause and have witnessed its many accomplishments. Through the years, Homenetmen strives to develop the moral character of young Armenian Americans with the intent that each becomes a model citizen in their respective communities. The terrific success of scouting and athletic activities is largely due to continual support of dedicated parents, who have been instrumental in organizing and raising funds for existing and new programs. Today, Homenetmen continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, and for this reason, there is a need to develop more abundant resources. The ever-increasing challenges of contemporary society indicate that, now more than ever, each and every one of us must share Homenetmen's commitment to excellence.