STUDIO CITY—More than 500 community members gathered at an illustrious Gala Banquet on Saturday, September 8 to mark the Golden Anniversary of the Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter. Held at the iconic CBS Studio Center in Studio City, the event was attended by multiple generations of Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter members, ranging from the original executive member and original basketball team athletes to the new generation of scouts leaders and members.
Homenetmen Los Angeles Scouts kicked off the energetic evening with an official flag ceremony, accompanied by stunning performances of the national anthems by chapter scouts, Vanessa Alcaraz-Awakian. Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian offered an invocation prayer blessing the attendees and expressed his warm wishes to the extended Homenetmen family.
Under a clear and crisp Los Angeles evening sky, an array of longtime Homenetmen members addressed the crowd gathered at CBS’s open-aired venue. Master of Ceremonies Mher Tavidian welcomed the attendees and spoke about the central role Homenetmen has played in the lives of countless young men and women in Los Angeles and beyond. From maintaining and bolstering Armenian culture to strengthening the Diasporan community, Tavidian emphasized the impact of the Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter during the last fifty years.
50th Anniversary Committee Executive Liaison Ari Boyajian echoed Tavidian’s remarks in his Chapter Executive Message. Referencing Homenetmen’s inspiring motto – “elevate yourself and others with you”, Boyajian paid tribute to the thousands of dedicated scouts, athletes and community activists who have proudly served under the Chapter’s banner. He recognized the unwavering commitment the Chapter’s membership has demonstrated since its founding in 1968, and asked attendees to look forward to another vibrant fifty years.
In a remarkable exchange to honor the Homenetmen Los Angeles chapter’s 50th Anniversary, a national flag flown over the US Capitol Building in Washington DC was presented by United States Congressman Adam B. Schiff to Executive Committee Chairman Onnig Berberian. An avid ally of the Armenian-American community, Congressman Schiff represents California’s 28th Congressional District, which includes Hollywood’s “Little Armenia” enclave – home of the Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter.
Throughout the course of the evening, vivid memories from the last fifty years were shared by the speakers. In his Regional Presentation, Homenetmen Western USA Regional Executive Board representative Aram Yeremian highlighted the camaraderie held by those who have passed through the ranks of Homenetmen. The Gala Banquet served as a major reunion for the Chapter’s membership – both old and new – many of whom had not seen each other for decades.
During a main highlight of the Gala Banquet, 50th Anniversary Chair Steve Artinian presented longtime member and dedicated community activist Varant Melkonian the 2018 “Exemplary Member” Award. As a young business leader, Melkonian was a member of the Los Angeles Chapter’s Social Committee in the 1980s before spending several years on the Executive Body. Melkonian’s experiences in Homenetmen during this formative period had a major impact on his personal and professional trajectory.
“By teaching the importance of community building while simultaneously focusing on the value of self-improvement, Homenetmen empowers its members with key lessons that can used in all aspects of life,” stated Melkonian. “The lessons I learned and skills I developed through my involvement with the Los Angeles Homenetmen Chapter laid the foundation of a personal and professional life I have been very proud of,” Melkonian reflected.
Following a beautiful candle lighting and cake cutting ceremony, Master of Ceremonies Mher Tavidian wrapped up the evening by acknowledging the union that binds the attendees together. Tavidian once again expressed his appreciation to all the individuals that helped make the Los Angeles Chapter one of Homenetmen’s most active scouting and sporting hubs.
The Los Angeles Chapter’s Golden Anniversary coincides with the Centennial of Homenetmen, which has served over 800,000 youth in five continents since its establishment in 1918.