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VIII World Jamboree of the UYA
12 - 21 February 2010

         The VIII World Jamboree of the Ukrainian Youth Association (UYA) took place in Vancouver, British Columbia from February 12th to 21st 2010 in conjunction with the XXI Winter Olympic Games. A total of 56 druzhynnyky aged 18 to 35 from four countries; Canada, Australia, USA and Germany took part in the Jamboree. The Jamboree was under the command and leadership of Stephen Duma (Australia) - komendant, Stefan Holowka (Canada) - bynchyzhnyj, Lidia Jendzjowsky (Canada) – program director, Olyana Grod (Canada) – secretary, Natalia Hucul (USA) – administrator, and Demjan Panczuk (Germany) – official photographer. 

         During the 10 day Jamboree participants had the opportunity to meet and get to know to each other, discuss common problems facing the organization across the world, support and encourage the Ukrainian Olympic athletes as well as their own national athletes, interact with the Ukrainian community in Vancouver, and travel around the city.

         Participants took part in sessions on various topics. The main goal of the sessions was to discuss the current level of activity and potential growth of druzhynnyky on an international and national level as well as among the various druzhynnyk groups that exist in the UYA. The discussions were positive and encouraging, giving druzhynnyky direction on how to continue to be active in the organization and Ukrainian community at large. Most importantly, druzhynnyky must continue to cooperate and work with each other, exchange ideas and foster positive relationships among themselves.

         Participants also heard a presentation from representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian Student’s Union, Marco Jacuta and Zenon Ciz, who encouraged all students to come together and actively participate in the projects set forth by the Ukrainian student’s unions at their universities.

         Other than sessions on the topic of druzhynnyky, participants had the opportunity to speak with Mrs. Olga Kotelko, a Ukrainian-Canadian athlete, who at the age of 90 was an Olympic torch bearer in Vancouver in the days leading up to the official opening ceremonies of the XXI Winter Olympic games. Mrs. Kotelko has won over 600 medals and is the holder of numerous Canadian and world records in track and field, for her respective age category. Mrs. Kotelko shared with the participants her experience of carrying the Olympic torch, and discussed the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. She was particularly thrilled to see such a gathering of Ukrainian youth from around the world.

         Druzhynnyky had the honour to meet with Mr. Stefan Petelycky, a Ukrainian survivor of the Nazi concentration camp ‘Auschwitz’. Mr. Petelycky shared stories about his involvement in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in the 1940s as well as his experiences in ‘Auschwitz’. He also spoke about his tremendous humanitarian efforts - sending medical equipment and relief supplies from Canada to Ukraine. As a keepsake, each Jamboree participant received an electronic copy of Mr. Petelycky’s published memoirs – Into Auschwitz, for Ukraine.

Among other guests who visited with the participants were the honorary consul of Ukraine to Vancouver, Lubomyr Huculak and Minister for family, youth and sports in Ukraine, Yuriy Pavlenko. The president of the UYA World executive, Myroslava Pidhirnyj joined the Jamboree for a few days where she spent some time reporting on the work of the world executive and listened to the ideas and wishes of the druzhynnyky for the future of the organization.

         Aside from meetings and discussions, the program of the Jamboree included many fun excursions and activities. Such excursions included seeing the sites of Vancouver and its surrounding areas, watching outdoor live concerts and attending official Olympic sporting events. Participants saw Stanley Park, Granville Island, Gas Town, Yale Town, Robson Square, Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. They also had an opportunity to go skating, skiing and snowboarding. As a group, druzhynnyky saw Sweden and Slovakia compete in women’s Olympic hockey, saw a skeleton event at Whistler Mountain, and lastly went to Cypress Mountain for the ladies aerial skiing competition. Participants proudly and enthusiastically supported and encouraged Olympic athletes from their respective countries, with the most spirit shown for the Ukrainian Olympians.

         Druzhynnyky created a very warm and friendly atmosphere, full of laughter, song and dance. This was most apparent at events held at the Ukraine house, particularly during the Valentine’s dance and during the Ukrainian Olympic Ball.

         The VIII World Jamboree of the UYA came to an official close on February 21, 2010 at the Ukraine house after a Divine Liturgy at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic church. During the closing ceremonies, Bishop Ken Nowakowski blessed all the participants for a safe return home and encouraged them all to come back and visit Vancouver in the future. Mr. Paul Grod, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress greeted all the druzhynnyky and spoke of the importance of mobilizing youth and encouraged each druzhynnyk to take on leadership positions in their respective Ukrainian communities. In addition, the Ukrainian community in Vancouver bid a warm farewell to the Jamboree participants. Lastly, the komendant, Stephen Duma recognized the following individuals for their efforts during the Jamboree in Vancouver; Mr. Walter Zavadell, Mr. Anatoliy Ciacka, Mrs. Alexandra Ciacka and the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League. He also thanked the participants for their cooperation, endurance, patience and enthusiasm. A special thank-you went out to all individuals who assisted in making the Jamboree a success but more specifically to the organizers: Stephen Duma, Lidia Jendzjowsky, Irene Jendzjowsky, Helen Holowka, Harry Nesmasznyj, Olyana Grod, Taras Szmihelsky, Andrea Kardasz and members of the Jamboree leadership.

         May the memories and friendships of the VIII World Jamboree of the Ukrainian Youth Association forever glow in the hearts of all the participants.

Olyana Grod

         Video-blogs and additional pictures from the World Jamboree can be found on the UYA’s website at

The Jamboree leaders with the president of the UYA World Executive (from left: Stefan Holowka, Stephen Duma, Myroslava Pidhirnyj, Lidia Jendzjowsky, Olyana Grod, Natalia Hucul).

Opening ceremonies of the VIII World Jamboree of the Ukrainian Youth Association.

Visit with Minister Y. Pavlenko (from left: Andrew Duma, Stephen Duma, Minister Pavlenko, Olyana Grod, Lidia Jendzjowsky).

Participants of the Jamboree with Bishop Ken Nowakowski, Pastor Fr. Daniel Wach, Stephen Petelycky, Olga Kotelko at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Vancouver.

Closing ceremonies of the VIII World Jamboree of the Ukrainian Youth Association.

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