...was the unanimous appraisal of each of this year's particpants in summer camping in Ukraine. This included
everyone from the eldest, 28 year old Operations Director Viktor Voytsekivskyj, to the youngest, 7 year old
Oksana. The exclamations resulted from the formidable and mysterious manifestations of nature encountered by the
The first to experience one of nature's gifts was Irka Shust, who had traveled from Canada
to join the camp in Ukraine. One glorious morning, upon waking, it didn't take long for her to notice that
during the night the tent she was occupying had set afloat in a large pool of water...
This marked the beginning of a series of "wet" encounters during the camp of the Molodshe Yunatstvo, aged
6 to 12, which had coincidenatally taken as its name "Vodohray", or "Fountain of Water", commemorating
composer Volodymyr Ivasiuk.
Early on, a storm uprooted the boys' dwellings, thoroughly soaking their entire contents.
The rain storm was followed by hail the size of chicken eggs, which pelted the camp site for a full 15 minutes.
Not to be outdone, the rain returned for a solid 12 hour downpour. The next day, the campers' site
was home to a a number of new ponds, and through the tent of the group called "Stream" was, well, you guessed it...
Upon hearing of these events, those charged with running the camp of the Starshe Yunatstvo, aged 13 to 18,
were somewhat alarmed, since their camp was to be named "Sumivski Vohni", or "CYM fires". Alas, thank God,
that camp experienced no incindiary events. The participants did, however, have the oppportunity to
witness an eclipse of the sun, which all viewed with amazement through dark glasses.
This year's summer camps in Ukraine took place in the famous Black Forest region of Ivano-Frankivsk oblast,
where Ukraine's insurgents fought firecely throughout the 1940's. The village of Hrabivka, where the
camp site was situated, had been a headquarters of the partisan movement. Not far from Hrabivka (12 km),
is another famous village - Staryj Uhryniv, the birthplace of OUN leader Stepan Bandera. This year's
participants took part in an excursion to Staryj Uhryniv, where they visited the home, now a museum, of Stepan
The unique allure of the Black Forest, the songs of Ivasiuk which were taught by Lesya Puchalska, the
theatrical production directed by Nadia Symchych, Petrykivka-style painting under the
artistic direction of Valentyna Zayva,
and the enchanting camp atmosphere all left lasting impressions on the young campers.
In total, over 200 young CYM members from almost every Oseredok in Ukraine, as well as from Russia,
Canada and Great Britain took part in Ukraine's 1999 summer camps. Even Vlodko Pavluk, taken with the experience,
didn't want to return England, and only his deep commitment to his work in CYM forced him to
return home to London to resume his responsibilities as president of his local CYM branch.
- Ihor Symchych, Chariman of CYM National Executive, Ukraine