The Origins of Homenetmen
This statue was donated by Homenetmen Canada to Gyumri
The first Armenian scouting groups were formed in 1910; one was a boy scouts group by the alumni of New College in Constantinople, and the other by the pupils of the Armenian Humanitarian Seminary of Calcutta, India. They were both in communication with Colonel Baden-Powell, the founder of the scouting movement.
By 1911, the first Armenian Olympic Games were organized to bring together the youth living in Western Armenia, Constantinople, Cilicia and elsewhere. Simultaneously, a sports journal called “Marmnamarz” (Health & Fitness) was created to promote and further instill the values of sporting life and scouting values of ‘Being Prepared.’ Using sports and scouting as a means, and in the spirit of fair play, teamwork and competition, the Armenian youth received training both mentally and physically, preparing them to lead a virtuous and healthy lifestyle.
Homenetmen – The Armenian General Sports [and Scouts] Union – was officially founded in November of 1918
in Istanbul, Turkey. Its mission was to bring together orphans who had survived the Armenian Genocide, and to provide them a sense of family through athletics and scouting. They referred to one another as brother and sister, terms still used today to address fellow members.
By the end of WWI, the three founding fathers Shavarsh Krisian an athlete, soccer player and coach, Hovhannes Hintlian, a teacher, pedagogue, publisher and educator, and scout Krikor Hagopian, were able to unite Armenian sports and scouts clubs under the banner of Homenetmen.
In less than a year, Homenetmen created 25 branches in different cities. Petros Atruni was instrumental in creating the logo and developing the motto for Homenetmen. The logo shows Mount Ararat (greater and lesser Massis) divided by the Arax River with the sun rising in the middle – symbolic of Eastern and Western Armenia.
“Elevate yourself and others with you,” Homenetmen’s slogan since inception, was repeatedly used by Prime Minister Nicole Pashinyan, at Homenetmen’s Centennial celebrations at the Opera House on July 2018, in Armenia. He practically inferred it be the slogan of Armenia.