The Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts, known as HO - MEN - ET - MEN, is a non-profit organisation which was founded in 1918 in Constantinople. Its founding fathers were Shavarsh Krisian, Hovhannes Hintlian, and Krikor Hagopian.
From the beginning, the main purpose of this organisation has been twofold. First, believing in a "strong mind, strong body" concept, Homenetmen has provided the Armenian youth with a moral, physical and psychological education outside the school environment. Secondly, it has tried to teach the youth the richness of the Armenian culture and heritage, while at the same time preparing them to become outstanding law-abiding citizens in the countries in which they live.
During its existence, Homenetmen has experienced both trial and tribulation, as well as maturity and growth. After its establishment, four more chapters were soon opened in various sections of Constantinople. The rapid progress of the organisation created the need for by-laws, which were immediately chartered. In 1920, the founding members of Homenetmen were officially invited to the independent Republic of Armenia to share both their knowledge and expertise with interested parties hoping to establish Homenetmen chapters in the free Republic.
After two months of active planning, proposals for this new endeavor had been approved. Unfortunately, the political climate in the region began to change and deteriorate, and hopes of establishing Homenetmen chapters in the independent republic of Armenia were no longer feasible. In 1922, the chapters of Homenetmen in Constantinople were forced to become inactive and the organisation's leaders dispersed throughout the world. Homenetmen’s activities resumed in 1924, establishing a chapter in Beirut and, in 1925, one in Aleppo. Over the following years Homenetmen began to organise chapters in the communities wherever there existed a large concentration of Armenians.
Today Homenetmen is a worldwide organisation with over 25,000 members across five continents. These Homenetmen families are governed by a Central Executive Committee, which includes representative members from the major continents. Through the years, Homenetmen has sponsored numerous international athletic events and tournaments and has held scouting jamborees in Greece, Canada, France, Bulgaria, the United States and Armenia. Its success has been made possible thanks to generous moral and financial contributions of parents, concerned citizens and many charitable organisations throughout the world who all believe in Homenetmen’s cause and have witnessed its many accomplishments.
Since its establishment Homenetmen has played an essential role in helping to shape the character and leadership capabilities of generations of Armenian youth through its scouting and athletic programs. Homenetmen has preserved the Armenian spirit and addressed the needs of Armenian communities in the Diaspora.
The Homenetmen experience is one of lasting association. The organisation promotes a sense of fraternity and humanitarianism which extends far beyond mere camaraderie and benevolence. Homenetmen's motto "Elevate Yourself and Others With You" is a poignant reminder of the fundamental objective: striving for individual and collective excellence.
HO - MEN - ET - MEN is the acronym derived from the initials of the Armenian name of the organisation (i.e. Հ.Մ.Ը.Մ.) which, when translated, stand for ‘Armenian General Athletic Union’. The motto is "Elevate Yourself and Others with You" (Բարձրացի՚ր Բարձրացո՚ւր).
The mission of Homenetmen is to prepare physically strong Armenians and exemplary citizens with the highest intellectual and spiritual virtues by:
- Teaching endurance and courage, nationalism and patriotism, abidance of the law and orderliness.
- Developing awareness of duty, feelings of responsibility and honour, in a spirit of harmony and cooperation.
- Satiating the mind and heart with the noblest of sporting spirit.