The first steps which were made within the framework of the “Messengers of Peace- Armenia” mission were the signing of the Trilateral Memorandum of Understanding and the meeting, held in the musical day care center N 13 of Yerevan:
Signing of a Trilateral Memorandum of Understanding took place on February 12, 2013 in the central office of National Scout Movement of Armenia “HASK”. The Memorandum was signed by Armen Ashotyan- RA Minister of Education and Science, Artem Asatryan- RA Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, and Hrachya Shmavonyan- President of the National Scout Movement of Armenia “HASK”. This Memorandum reflects readiness of the above mentioned entities to collaborate in “Organizational Development and Involvement of Disadvantaged Youth“ Project, which will be realized within the framework of “Messengers of Peace” Mission. Signing sides emphasized the importance and value of the Project.
The meeting in the musical social day care center N 13 brought together over 80 children and interested potential participants. Bagrat Yesayan, the President of Eurasia Region and Iurie Emilian, Regional Director of Eurasia Region, as well as 7 scout volunteers were present at the meeting. In the beginning the volunteers explained the goals of scouting and of the organization and what advantages it may give to the participants. Presentations were made via slide shows in order to make everything more clear. Afterwards Iurie Emilian had a short speech, inviting children to the big “scouting family” and answered questions. At the end various exciting videos depicting scouting were shown and nearly all attendees showed interest in participating in the project. The deputy director of the school is in the process of providing list of children who want to be involved in these scouting activities.
After these two events, the weekly scouting activities in the followingorpahanages and day care centers began:Yerevan Musical Social Day Care Center N 13, Social Day Care Center of Ajapnyak District of Yerevan, Gyumri Care and Protection Center after F. Nansen, Gyumri Social Day Care Center, Gavar Orphanage, Vanadzor Orphanage, Byureghavan Social Day Care Center, Dilijan Care and Protection Center, Kapan Care and Protection Center.
In addition to those regular activities, the following events, seminars, jamborees and hikes were organized:
Training of Trainers- was held in the central office of the National Scout Movement of Armenia “HASK” and was intended to retrain the responsible scouts engaged in “Messengers of Peace- Armenia”mission , teach them new games and methods of scouting activities.
HASK scouts who had recently participated in international events gave presentations which were very important from the standpoint of passing their experience, knowledge and skills to those who were going to work in “Organizational development and involvement of disadvantaged youth” program.
Training of MoP Participants
40 volunteers from HASK, representatives of the selected social day care centers and 20 young activists from Kapan, Gavar, Vanadzor and Dilijan took part in this workshop.
The opening ceremony was followed by an in-depth representation of “Organizational development and involvement of disadvantaged youth” program and discussion of current affairs. One of the pivotal points imported during the workshop was knowledge about the specific methods of working with disadvantaged youth. Besides, lectures on general development topics, scouting activities were also held. During the last day of the workshop, a meeting with HASK Central Committee and WOSM Eurasia Region representatives took place. They had short speeches and answered the questions of scout masters.
The workshop was obviously useful from the standpoint of providing scouting knowledge and motivating the scout masters who were already working in the social day care centers and for those who were getting prepared for involvement in the program.
Hiking Tracks and Trips
Hiking tracks and trips were organized for the children from orpahanages and social day care centers. Particularly, a joint hiking track for the pupils of both Gyumri Social Day Care Center and Gyumri Care and Protection Center after F. Nansen was organized. The main goals of this exploration were to effectively integrate the children into scouting life, creating an opportunity for the pupils from two centers to establish relations and to lift their scouting and adventurous spirit. The hike started at 15:00 and was finished in the evening, at Gyumri Central Park. It was the final point of destination where the results of the hike were revealed and an interesting discussion was held during a picnic.
30 pupils from Vanadzor orphanage took part in a hiking track. It’s final destination was located on top of a hill where the Vanadzor Chapel stands. At the final point of destination, scouting claps and yells were practiced.
About 25 children from Byureghavan Social Day Care Center participated in another exploring hike. It was organized in a park which is located next to the Day Care Center. The trip played an important role from the standpoint of integrating the participants into scouting life.
The scouting trip for the children from Gavar Orphanage was intended to fill their routine with elements from scouting life. As a result, the knowledge base of the participants became significantly richer. In addition to that, the relationship between the children and MoP volunteers became even closer.
20 pupils of Social Day Care Center of Ajapnyak District (Yerevan) took part in a scouting trip which was held at Yerevan Campsite of the National Scout Movement of Armenia. Its aim was to give them opportunity to use the theoretical knowledge in practice, as well as to lift the scouting spirit of the children. The trip was quite saturated and rich; filled with scouting yells, games and songs.
Nearly 30 children from Dilijan Care and Protection Center participated in a hike which was intended to reveal their personal qualities and help them to understand the scouting way of life better.
Other Events and Meetings
HASK scouts from different chapters, аs well as by 60 pupils of the social day care centers, visited Sardarapat Memorial Complex. The visit allowed them once again to appreciate the significance of this heroic page from Armenian history which played a pivotal role in the establishment ofan Independent Armenia. On this symbolic day also scout ranking ceremony was held which lifted the scouting spirit of the attendees. The visit to the Memorial Complex was of great importance because the children from orphanages and social day care centers seldom if ever have possibility to visit historical and cultural places and become a part of national celebration.
On June 1, which signifies International Child Protection Day, about 100 pupils (under age 13) from 10 day care centers, participated in an exciting and event-filled program at HASK’s Yerevan campsite.
All the participants gathered at HASK headquarters and headed to Yerevan campsite. The programme started after breakfast. It was a real holiday for the MOP youngest beneficiaries who were excited by the surprises and games, organized by HASK cub scout masters. This event-filled day’s tasty ending was the cake with the symbolic pictures of Akela, Bagheera and Baloo.
Besides, meetings of MoP scout masters were held at HASK Central Office. The current affairs and to-do-list for each orphanage/day care center were discussed by the participants. Worth mentioning is that on June 10 a professional psychologist took part in the meeting, answered the questions of the participants and gave advice based on her practicefrom working with disadvantaged youth.
School-jamboree in Byurakan
Aschool-jamboree was held at HASK’s Byurakan campsite which brought together about 40 children from 10 day care centers and orphanages, as well as some of the MOP volunteers. It was intended to finalize the activities held in different institutions and give new skills and knowledge to the participants which would be used during the August camp. The school-jamboree included a hike which started early in the morning and lasted about 5 hours. The children overcame obstacles on their way helping one another andenriching their body and soul. The participants came back to the campsite filled with enthusiasm.
On the day of the closing ceremony it became even more apparent to the MoP children that they were already a part of our big scouting family. They all gave the scouting oath to serve God, their Nation and Motherland.
The participants came back from Byurakan campsite full of enthusiasm and knowledge.
Another important event, the Pan-Armenian Jamboree, was held at HASK Byurakan campsite. Children from all the 10 day care centers, included in “Organizational development and involvement of disadvantaged youth” project, took part in the Jamboree. The total number of participants formed about 320 people (above 200 from MoP program).
The Jamboree included a cognitive part for all those who were participating in a national jamboree for the first time, as well as lectures on geography and nature, wood-decorating and carving workshops, rally to the nearest river and of course, lectures and discussions on scouting.
Lecturers from the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Republic of Armenia were also invited to the Jamboree, who shared knowledge on river crossing and river rescue, first aid and emergency treatment.
Young people with active civic position were among the lecturers of the Jamboree, as well. They shared information about their most successful initiatives and spoke about the importance of getting involved in the society and not being indifferent towards various social and public issues.
The closing ceremony was followed by a memorable evening full of music and dances.
The Jamboree was a truly necessary and useful event. It was very important from the standpoint of organizing equal conditions for the children from different social groups and strengthening their love and devotion towards scouting.
Celebration of RA Independence on Mountain Aragats
Another important step was made within the framework of “Messengers of Peace” Project - about 250 young people and children, including children from orphanages and day care centers, reached the south summit of Mountain Aragats on September 21, RA’s Independence Day. The trail taken by the scouts was complicated and full of obstacles but MoP children overcame them with the help of HASK scouts and experienced scout leaders.
The children raised the flag of Armenia on top of Mountain Aragats in celebration of the independence of our country.