By Zepyur Kasparian
This year was the 11th Pan Homenetmen Jamboree and I, Zepyur Kasparian, was honored to be one of 1,200 scouts who were able to participate in Armenia.
The Pan-Homenetmen Jamboree takes place every four years, and it is an experience that every Armenian Scout longs to have. Coming from a small chapter, the San Francisco Chapter, it was somewhat overwhelming to be in such an enormous crowd of scouts. We all came from 24 different countries and were different from each other. However, we all became very close in a short amount of time and we hope to continue these friendships.
The Western United States region landed in Armenia and we were welcomed by our brothers and sisters from Armenia’s Homenetmen Chapter. I remember getting to the hotel and seeing that we are all exhausted but none of us wanted to sleep because we were so excited.
Throughout our time there, we visited several historic landmarks and it was so empowering to see and feel the emotions of other scouts, especially for those who were visiting Armenia for the first time. Yes, we may be a little diverse. Yes, we all may speak Armenian with a different accent. We all come from different countries. But in the end, we are all Armenian. From Los Angeles, California to Buenos Aires, Argentina, we all had those same patriotic emotions.
During our time at the campsite, we played different games, introduced by several scouts from different countries. We also never lost an opportunity to dance to the “doumbeks” that were being played by our fellow yeghpayrs.
I don’t think it was imagined that one day, in a free Armenia, 1,200 Scouts from the Diaspora would march in the Republic Square. To see all the residents of Yerevan and Gyumri lined up in the streets, teary-eyed to see the youth return home to the motherland made me emotional.
I also had the honor of being able to hear the live speech of Armenia’s newly-elected prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan. During his speech, the Prime Minister mentioned Homenetmen’s motto of “Elevate Yourself & Elevate Others” and encouraged us to create a lasting bond with Armenia.
I look forward to going back four years later to the Byurakan Campground to see my friends and to once again renew our vows to the homeland.