People say that our community needs leaders for the future. They also say that these leaders must be flexible individuals, who can solve problems, and who will know how to positively interact with a variety of people.
For the Ukrainian Youth Association (UYA) this process of learning and growth for leaders truly begins at the summer Leadership Camp. UYA Leadership camps help the development of our leaders. Older youth from 15-18 years of age have the opportunity to learn a lot at this camp. For example, how to be responsible leaders, leaders who have self-discipline, and are independent, ready to try new things as well as cooperating and interacting with different people, and to develop positive aspects of an individual’s character.
From June 28 to July 11 of this year, 34 youth from Montreal, Ottawa, Etobicoke, Missisauga, Edmonton and Calgary branches began or continued their journey to bettering their leadership skills at camp Veselka near Acton, Ontario. The campers participated daily in lessons on topics such as Knowledge about the UYA, Modern Ukraine, Pedagogy and Teaching Methods as well as Leadership Skills. Each day, guest-speakers were invited to come and teach other topics. For example, some lectures included Historic Anniversaries in 2015, which UYA members around the world are marking this year. These included the 80-year anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytskyi, the 80-year anniversary of the birth of Vasyl’ Symonenko as well as lessons about the current events in Ukraine. Teachers also came to the camp to teach practical skills, such specific sports, and ballroom dancing.
The following individuals volunteering their time to come teach interesting topics and give fascinating lectures to the campers – Markiyan Shwec, Christina Holowatsky, Halyna Kostiuk, Lidia Narozniak, Father Bohdan Czolij, Father Ostap Chornyij, and Father Peter Galadza, Tania Czolij, Ksenia Czolij, Marika Kobylecky, Olha Dziubaniwsky, Dr. Ulyana Kawun, George Narozniak, Fedir Danyliak, Mirka Matthews, and Larry Lagamba. Camp Leadership and Councillors also prepared and delivered lectures. This included Harry Nesmasznyj, Zoriana Kilyk, Eerka Shust-Dankowycz, Ann Ostapiuk, Ulyana Stasyshyn, Yarko Broda, and Marko Diaczun. Many of the individuals listed above are active UYA members, and Leaders in their own professions as well as in the Ukrainian community. The main reason why the Leadership Camp traditionally invites many guests is to give our youth the opportunity to know and see the various styles of leadership and communication. As a result of these experts coming to give lectures and teach our youth, it is the youth who has the best chance to learn and strengthen their knowledge.
Knowledge of Ukraine, Her history, religion, culture and traditions forms the foundation for our youth, which they can build and develop further. In addition to this, youth can also further develops their own strengths through practical lessons, varied activities and projects.
Campers had the opportunity to gain First-aid skills and certification through training and a written exam.
Campers learned many kinds of sports, dance and exercise.
Campers also actively worked with younger campers (attending the UYA Day-camp) by developing activities and lesson plans. Younger campers were between the ages of 5 to 7. The UYA Day-camp was taking place at Veselka during the same time as the Canadian Leadership Camp.
Campers wrote letters to soliders in ATO, soliders in the military, and wounded soliers. Campers also signed a Canadian flag for the soldiers of the Canadian Armed Forces, who are training soldiers in Ukraine.
Campers also made dolls for children displaced by the war in Ukraine, who would participate in the UYA initiative organized by the National Executive of the UYA in Ukraine. This camp was funded through donations of UYA members around the world.
Campers prepared projects about various historical topics and presented them in many creative forms to their peers. These projects included the reading about, reciting of literary pieces, sharing of songs as well as practicing public-speaking skills in the Ukrainian language.
Our young leaders wrote a final exam, which needed their focus and preparation. The exam was based on what campers had learned in the 2 week camp.
Campers participated in Sunday liturgies, and thanked the kitchen staff daily for the delicious meals that were prepared for them.
Campers also had the opportunity to rest and relax. A fieldtrip was planned to a Niagara region and the Falls. Campers also had time to use the pool everyday. The regularly opened ‘store’ at Veselka was a chance for campers to buy ‘junk food’. Campers organized and danced in Camp Dances, a camp bonfire and watched fireworks on Canada Day.