Articles

AGBU YEREVAN SCOUTS: NEW SPRING INITIATIVES

4-DAY CAMPING TRIP

The annual Antranik Scout Camp is probably the most anticipated summer event for members of the AGBU Yerevan Scout Movement. However, besides this camp, when AGBU Scouts from around the world gather in northern Armenia, Yerevan Scouts also organize three or four-day camping trips in the spring and autumn. The most recent of these took place between May 9-12 at the Yerevan Scout’s campsite in Lori Region’s, Lermontovo Village. Early in the morning, a group of 90 Yerevan Scouts and Rovers gathered at the AGBU and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Arabkir Children’s Center, where regular weekend Scout meetings are held. Everyone was impatient and the symbolism of victory day doubled the enthusiasm. After a 3-hour drive, the campers eagerly prepared their campsite: the older Scouts set up tents and the Brownies cleaned the kitchen. Together, they prepared a meal, before beginning their scouting lessons and exercises. In the evening, everyone gathered around the campfire to talk, sing and relax. The scouts began making the huge scout mast of rope and wood. By morning it was ready with flags waving from it. Throughout the long weekend, Scouts hiked, played games and learned more about the Scout Movement. These camps provide wonderful opportunities for the Scouts to practice their knowledge and gain new skills. Since their return to Yerevan, the Scouts have been busily preparing for the Antranik Scout Camp, their main event of the year. The first session will take place between July 13-25, with around 140 Scouts from Armenia, Georgia, Iran and Lebanon. The second session will run from July 26-August 5; over 140 Scouts from Armenia, Georgia and Syria are expected.

VISIT TO RETIREMENT HOME

In addition to the camps, AGBU Yerevan Scouts organize and participate in other projects and events. On April 7, on the occasion of Mothers’ and Beauty Day, the Scouts, besides congratulating their female relatives, did not forget about the elderly, who, perhaps had no one to congratulate them on that beautiful holiday. AGBU Yerevan Scouts visited a retirement home in Yerevan’s Bangladesh district to congratulate the women there and make them feel special. AGBU scouts took the time to talk with and listen to those living in the retirement home. The residents described their lives, traditions and daily problems. They shared their concerns and enhanced the scouts’ knowledge and skills with their interesting stories and advice. The Scouts departed, having filled the hearts of the residents with enthusiasm and happiness. These amazing people, who have survived war, starvation and suffering but still have faith in life, were grateful for the visit.

SCOUT MAGAZINE

Since March 2013, AGBU Yerevan Scouts have published three issues of the monthly Scout magazine. The 12-page magazine informs readers about AGBU Yerevan Scout activities, teaches scouting skills, national and patriotic songs, and includes interesting historical information about the Armenian people and the international scout movement. AGBU Yerevan Scout movement celebrates its 5th anniversary this year.

HIKING TRIPS

Hiking trips are eagerly-anticipated events for the Scouts. In May and April, AGBU Yerevan Scouts hiked up Mount Ara and to the Amberd Fortress. Although hikes up Mount Ara have become traditional for the Scouts, they are different each time since each group is new and has new expectations. On April 14, a group of 45 Scouts once again left Yerevan to conquer Mount Ara, the second highest mountain in Armenia (2,577m). They started from the AGBU-Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Arabkir Children’s Center early in the morning by bus and reached the foot of the mountain an hour later. Upon first glance, the majestic and massive mountain appeared to be impossible to conquer. But hours later, and with much perserverance, the Scouts reached their goal. They had chosen to climb the left peak of the mountain, which is higher and more difficult to overcome. At the peak, they were pleasantly surprised to meet members of the Armenian Alpinists Union there. Taking advantage of the opportunity, they spent some time talking with them and learned new techniques from the more experienced climbers. The Armenian national and AGBU flags, placed by the Scouts, once again waved at the peak of Mount Ara. Tired, but proud of what they accomplished, the Scouts returned to Yerevan to relax and prepare for the next hike. Just two weeks later, early in the morning of April 28, AGBU Junior Cubscouts, headed by General Leader of the Scouts Ke-vork Simonyan, and other members started a journey to the southern foot of Aragats Mountain, in Amberd. Executives of AGBU Aleppo Scouts group also joined them. Amberd lies at the crossing of the Arkashen and Amberd Rivers, near the famous Byurakan Observatory, in the Aragatsotn region. It is 2,300 meters high and was still snow-covered in late April. During the hike up the mountain, the group of 35 people visited the remains of the 10th century Amberd Fortress and the nearby Vahramashen Church. On the way back they also visited Tarapurak. In recent years, Tarapurak, a park with giant-size letters of the Armenian alphabet, has become a favorite place for Armenian citizens and tourists alike to visit. These hikes are unique tests for the scouts to develop courage and learn how to rely on one another.

NATURE-LOVING SCOUTS

One of the creeds that Scouts around the world follow is to show kindness towards animals and nature. True to this principle, AGBU Yerevan Scouts visited Dingo NGO. Stray dogs, many of which have serious injuries, receive care, and find shelter, food and safety at Dingo until good, caring homes are found for the dogs. The Scouts took dog food with them and spent several hours playing with the animals. Dingo representatives taught a class about animal rights and the proper way to feed and care for dogs to ensure their well-being. Senior Scouts who participated in this outing received an Animal Care pin from Dingo, to put on their uniforms.