Our long-awaited summer camp at Pigeon Lake has ended. To say that a one week at camp was too little is an understatement. However, since this year’s summer camp was only one week, all campers, old and young, enjoyed every day of camp. Many memories and moments will remain ingrained in the memory of each camper from their experiences. Everyone knows the feeling when you need to wake up from a good night’s sleep for the morning exercise. But the ‘bunczuzhna‘, persistent and punctual, empathetically blew her whistle, making it impossible to fall back asleep afterward. Kids were then met with the routine morning ‘apel‘, where it was necessary to dress in one’s ‘strij’, fixing their shirts in a timely manner to stand proudly in the morning sun to sing CYM’s anthem. A delicious breakfast was later served by our amazing cooks who ensured no one was left hungry. 

Throughout the day we usually had some interesting and instructive activities which taught each camper about Ukrainian history, current events, life, and even themselves; Enriching our knowledge of Ukraine and developing an understanding of ourselves as CYMivtsi. Daily lessons were largely based on the following topics: 100 years since the proclamation of the Unification Act of the Ukrainian State; 90 years since the creation of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN); The advancement and achievement of sports in Ukraine; 15 years since the Orange Revolution; 5 years since the end of the Revolution of Dignity; “I am but a drop in the Ocean”;110th anniversary of the birth and 60 years since the murder of Stepan Bandera.

Camp took place from the 28th of July to the 5th of August, 2019 under the motto: “I am but a drop in the Ocean” aimed at developing an understanding and belief within each CYMivets. It helps us better understand our unity and promotes the youth to become true leaders in our community. It is of paramount importance that every Ukrainian understands that each of us is a part of something bigger, and so that (in reference to our motto) to have an ocean, each drop must be collected and brought together with one another. It is difficult to accomplish something as individual drops, but when we mix together our talents, strengths into a mighty ocean, almost anything is possible; we become unstoppable.  

Children excitedly took part in everyday arts and crafts. The kids made varying crafts from shells, painted cow-bells and tiles, weaved bracelets and wreaths, and learned to create various crafts which they were able to put on their ‘strij‘. Every day, boys and girls were able to swim in the pool and lake, take out canoes and kayaks to explore the area, and played soccer for hours and hours. The camp counsellors also organized a surprise for the campers, with multiple bouncy castles being delivered and set up at camp for the youth to play and enjoy. ‘Vporyadnyky’ prepared an interesting game for the entire camp, namely Capture the Flag, which focused on team building and cooperation. 

We had 71 campers who attended this year’s camp. The Komanada for this year’s camp included: Vira Bokalo – Komendant, Daria Podilsky – ‘Bunczuzhna’, Natalya Soletsky – Head of Camp Counsellors, Khrystyna Zagirska – camp ‘Pysar‘, Camp Counsellors: Ivanka Soletsky, Victoria Hryniw, Andrew Krys, Larissa Kolodij, Anna Zakharova, Natalya Vereskun, Inna Platanova, and Danylo Moussienko; ‘Vporyadnyky’: Alexander Iwasyk, Oleksander Zagirsky, Zachary Bokalo, Michael Gudzio-Perez, Ivan Romanchak, Maxim Morgovsky, Polina Shulya, Lukian Podilsky, Dianna Hryniw, Maria Tulchynska, Maria Pedyash, and Anna-Maria Zagirska. Kitchen Team: Maxine Zakordonska, Sherley Boris, Iryna Zagirska, Sonia Menzies, Svetlana Tulchynska, and Lesia Gudzio-Perez. Parents of CYMenyta helped maintain cleanliness in the kitchen, dining hall, shower, toilets and on the campgrounds. The camp organizational committee consisted of the following people: Ivanka Soletsky (Chair), Daria Podilsky, Orest Drapala, Danylo Moussienko, and Khrystyna Zagirska.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Camp team and the Camp Counsel without whom this camp would not have taken place. The whole kitchen team for a week’s- worth of delicious and healthy food, and the parents who helped in various ways throughout all of camp, as well as all those who helped to clean up the campgrounds. We would like to thank Camp Bar-V-nok for hosting us this year on such short notice. But most of all, we thank all the youth who took part in this year’s camp. You inspire us to continue planing such activities and events which preserve our traditions, heritage, and culture.  

It was very difficult to say goodbye, but in all of us remains the CYM flame that reminds us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and inspires us to work together, love one another and ourselves, and work towards strengthening our Ukrainian community in Canada and around the globe.

Ніч вже йде. За веpхом

Ясне сонце зайшло, юнаки! 

Тихо спіть. Без тpивог

З нами Бог! З нами Бог!

You can find additional photos from this year’s camp here.

Anna-Mariya Zagirska & Alexander Iwasyk