For Tamara Sagherian, a longtime enthusiast of scouting, it is a powerful activity to promote community engagement. Aiming to extend the reach of the AGBU scouting movement in Montreal and introduce Armenian values to young children, she initiated a new group for kids ages five to seven. Sagherian had a successful career in the corporate world before making the decision to partner with her husband in a business and devote more time to her family and community.
Camp Nubar changed my life forever. Not only did I make irreplaceable memories at camp but I formed strong and enduring friendships.
What is your history with AGBU? My parents were active members of the Armenian community, serving on various committees, including AGBU chapters. My mom taught at AGBU schools in Lebanon and Montreal. From an early age, I was involved with AGBU, becoming a member of AGBU’s running team and scout group in Lebanon. When my family moved to Montreal I joined the local AGBU scouting group. Now, I serve as a council member for the AGBU scouting movement and assistant leader of a scout group. I am also the unit leader and coach for the Bees group.
What kind of impact did Camp Nubar have on you? Being a counselor at Camp Nubar changed my life forever. Not only did I make irreplaceable memories at camp but formed strong and enduring friendships. We may not speak to each other often but when we get together or talk over the phone, it feels like no time has passed at all. I am forever grateful for the close friendships and the sense of belonging that Camp Nubar gave me.
What does community involvement mean to you? The Armenian heritage and community involvement have been important to me since childhood. My parents instilled it in us—me, my twin sister and two older brothers. After relocating to Montreal, I found comfort in the community and it became a safety net to help me preserve my Armenian identity. I grew distant from community organizations when I was building my career in the corporate world, but parenthood redefined my priorities. Instilling Armenian values and commitment in my children, like my parents did, has become a priority since.
How do you give back to the community? Scouting is a big part of my identity. Since the age of seven I have been a scout in Armenian and non-Armenian groups. About six years ago, my kids joined AGBU scout groups in Montreal. At first, I was just a mom on the sidelines, but after my third child was born and our local AGBU community was revived, I was keen to get more involved. I proposed to set up a new scouting group for children ages five to seven.
The Bees group was founded in January 2016. We started with seven vibrant kids and grew into a group of 26. We want to teach them to appreciate their Armenian roots from an early age and form strong ties with AGBU. Making use of my scouting and professional skills, I coach and train leaders of the Bees group. My commitment is based on the slogan: "Be the change you want to see." I want to be that change to inspire my children to look up to me and be proud of me.
If you had a chance to address the diaspora what would your call to arms be? I want peers in the diaspora to focus more on educating children and young people on the rich Armenian history and culture and celebrate the Armenian heritage. It is very important that children born and raised in diaspora become eager to visit Armenia and discover what it is all about—the old and the new, the good and the bad—and feel proud of their heritage.
I had a chance to go to Armenia as a child with my family and still remember every bit of that trip. Last summer, my husband and I took our three children to Armenia and spend a month there. It was an even more fascinating experience. It was priceless to see my children's joy and new-found courage that arose from the sense of belonging to a country they can call their own homeland.
Banner illustration by Luis Tinoco