By K. Arpi Donoyan and K. Nora Tarbinian (Providence)
On Saturday, August 14, the Providence Homenetmen Scouts got together to participate in the Homenetmen Eastern USA Region Virtual Panagoum. It was a hybrid program in which each chapter joined as one, online, with all the other participating chapters and took part in the planned activities.
Our busy day started at 8:00 am where about 30 scouts gathered at a community member’s home. Once everyone was settled, the younger scouts (Kayleeg and Ardzveegs) and older scouts (Ari and Arenoushes) joined online with the other chapters to start their activities.
The Kayleegs and Ardzveegs (scouts under the age of 12) joined online with their peers from various chapters. They participated in the opening ceremonies and met scouts from throughout the eastern region. They learned about different plants and how to identify poisonous ones that they might encounter on a hike. After this activity, they went on an “Arshav” or hike using their new knowledge. The Kayleegs and Ardzveegs also learned different whistle commands and ganches (songs). They took part in an egg drop competition and designed individual clay sculptures of Mount Ararat and the Tatik-Papik monument in Artsakh.
The Ari and Arenoushs (ages 12 and up) began their scheduled meeting with kouyrs and yeghpayrs from many other chapters. Their activities included an ashdarag (structure) building competition, a tent pitching race, map making and research of different areas in Armenia. The scouts also listened to a lecture by Y. Shahen Aghababian about his experience in the first Artsakh War. Scouts then asked questions about Y. Shahen’s experiences, opinions and the current situation in Artsakh. He spoke about how he and his fellow soldiers prepared before the first Artsakh War, his personal experience during that war, and how he felt afterward.
Once the planned program was complete, the scouts got their panagavayr (campsite) ready for family and friends to come and have dinner together. Then, they had their kharougahantes. Each scout participated in different skits and ganches (songs or chants) to show off what they learned to parents and community members in attendance. This was a wonderful way to wrap up the night and allowed us to share what we know as a chapter with our parents, grandparents and community members.
After the kharougahantes, the Ari and Arenoushs stayed, while the Kayleeg and Ardzveegs went home. The Ari and Arenoushes camped outside in tents under the stars.
Overall, this panagoum was a fun-filled new experience unlike any other panagoum, but it did give us a taste of what one is normally like. Thank you to the Eastern Region Scouting Council and Khmpabeds (leaders of the camp) for planning such a fun-filled day and to everyone who participated in this year’s panagoum to make it such a success. We hope that each scout had a good time and that next year we will be able to have an in-person panagoum with all the chapters back together again!