Who are we?
The Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts, Homenetmen, was founded in 1918 in Istanbul, Turkey. Homenetmen is predominantly athletic and scouting organization which over the years has branched out into many regions throughout the world. The organization has its bylaws which govern all of its activities. Homenetmen Glendale “Ararat” Chapter, was founded on December 15, 1978 and currently is the largest of the 19 Chapters in Western United States Region. At its inceptions, as dictated by the requirements of the time, “Ararat” Chapter simultaneously founded Athletic and scouting Divisions. Later on Fundraising, Cultural and Programs Divisions were established. The Chapter’s Executive Board is elected by delegates from all Divisions for a one year term and oversees the activities of all Divisions. In addition to its many volunteers, the Executive Director and a small staff manage the Center and help run the various programs and administrative duties.
Homenetmen’s mission is to prepare exemplary and law abiding citizens by providing physical and health education, endowing the mind and soul of the members with the finest spirit of sportsmanship and developing an understanding of responsibility and honor as they strive for individual and collective excellence.
Founding of the Chapter
In 1975 the Armenian community in Glendale, California began to grow. In 1978, several individuals organized and initiated a scouting program in Glendale. This group of scouts first began their activities with Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter, and in the fall of 1978 began to conduct their separate scouting activities. Meanwhile, a group of young Armenian athletes came together in Glendale and formed a soccer team that held regular practices. Later on, the scouting group and the soccer team were brought together to form Homenetmen Glendale Chapter. Our Chapter’s initial meeting took place on December 15, 1978, at the Armenian Center in Glendale, where the Chapter’s first Executive Board was elected.
The First “Ararat” Center
Due to rapid growth of its membership, “Ararat” Chapter began having difficulties in securing adequate office space and facilities for its activities. Since its founding until 1983, the Chapter’s offices were located next to the original St. Mary’s Church located at 1224-1228 East Carlton Dr. in Glendale. In 1984, for the first time the Chapter purchased a property in Glendale located at 544 W. Broadway which consisted of two adjacent single-family homes. A single fundraiser banquet organized by the group of “Gharadagh” compatriots raised over $70,000, which became the seed money and a significant part of the down payment. Later, the Chapter was successful in obtaining a grant from the City of Glendale for the purpose of renovating the center. During the remodeling efforts, scouts, athletes, parents and volunteers came together like a family and helped in any way they could to complete the project.
By the late 1980’s, it became obvious that the Broadway Center could no longer serve the growing scouting, athletic and youth activities as well as administrative functions of the Chapter. An ad-hoc Center Committee was formed to search for a larger and more suitable center. The search focused on Glendale and its immediate surrounding area and finally, in 1996, the Center Committee found a highly suitable property located at 3347 N. San Fernando Road in Los Angeles. In November 1996 the current center was purchased and after a three different construction phases, which took no less than five years, the end result culminated in a fully-equipped, multifunction facility which serves a large portion of the Chapter’s needs.