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This site in Ukrainian Zyizd Druzhynnykiv CYM

Geelong: Friday 28th to Sunday 30th March
On Friday evening 28th of March, CYM Druzhynyky from Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Geelong gathered to kick-off their annual Australia wide gathering ‘Ziizd’. The theme for this years Ziizd was “Leadership and Politics’.

In his introduction Marko Tkaczuk, the coordinator of Druzhynnyky of KY CYM (CYM’s national executive), had us reflect on why we were at the Ziizd. This included our perceptions and expectations, community leadership needs, links to the National Tabir which was held in Dec-Jan 07-08, the goals we set at the Adelaide Ziizd in 2007 and the need for us to take a more active role leadership role in our oseredok and community

In the session that followed, Nadia Tkaczuk introduced the participants to Personal Leadership Preferences and Thinking Styles. After completing a simple survey, everyone was so surprised to learn their own thinking style, how each of us was wired up differently, and how much the styles varied among the Ziizd participants. The reasons for potential conflict within a group such as a CYM Uprava or any other community organization became immediately obvious.

In her second session, Nadia had us examine the essence of leadership by looking at why leaders are needed, different types of leaders and examples of those who are successful and unsuccessful leaders, as well as the differences between leaders and managers. It didn’t take us long to realize that we were in a very privileged position and that CYM was a great platform for leadership experience and an opportunity to make a real difference in our Oseredok and community.

At 9.30pm we adjourned back to Paul Kammisky’s place for a social function. It was great to see the druzhynnyky happily chatting & catching up. Others played pool or darts and although a few boards were hit with stray shots, no damage was done. A big thrill for me was to hear young CYM-ivtsi singing traditional Ukrainian folk songs.

On Saturday, the program kicked off at 9.30am with coffee, tea, fruit and pastries, and Nadia Tkaczuk completed her input on leadership, by having us reflect on how we can lead. We examined the many different types of leadership roles within our oseredok and community such as president, secretary, treasurer, education activities leader, dance, outdoor activities and other cultural activity leaders… by breaking into groups of similar leadership types and interests. We also completed a Force Field to identify the drivers and preventers of change.

In the next session, Mark Tkaczuk introduced a simple but very effective triangular model of Planning for Action, namely - People, Resources and Costs. He walked us through an example where we had to look at the actual people, resources and costs that were required to complete a specific task.

This was followed by a practical workshop in Planning for Action. We broke up into our earlier groups based on thinking styles and each group was assigned a specific task to plan, such as a community function, a hike and a leadership tabir for Starshe Unatstvo, using the triangular model of Planning for Action. After hearing the reports from this session it was interesting that not only was it clear what each group was doing but also who was doing what and by when. Lunch followed consisting of fresh Varennyky, with fresh fried onions and dollops of cream.

After lunch, with the help of Paul Kaminskyj and Sonia Tkaczuk, we examined leadership in the Ukrainian community by reviewing community structures and the attributes of leaders. We discussed of positives and negatives as well perceived successes and failures, and the role of Druzhynnyky as leaders in CYM and extending this to the Ukrainian community by applying the De Bono Thinking Hats method.

The mid afternoon grave yard shift, when everybody usually tunes out or dozes off, was taken by Bohdan Mykytiuk, who presented Ukrainian songs as the heart and soul of our nation. Ukraine has over 200,000 traditional folk songs, more than any other country on earth. They reflect Ukraine’s stunning beauty, every facet of life and human experience. His simple message is ‘if you want to know Ukraine and its people, learn Ukrainian songs’. Bohdan spends a couple of months in Ukraine on a voluntary basis every year, teaching English, enhancing community and organizational development, and fostering CYM’s motto ‘Boh and Ukraina. He invariably comes home with new songs or new verses to old ones.

In recognitiontion of his work, the Institute of Ethnography in L’viv presented him with a new collection of Sichovi Striltsi songs. Bohdan taught us ‘Koly u Put’, a happy traveling song that he learnt at the Ukrainian National Youth Congress camp at Lisonia near Berezhany. To end his session he invited each group to write a humorous verse to remember the Ziizd by. It was interesting to the tired faces light up with laughter as they busily chatted and put their verse together

After the break Marian Tkaczuk introduced the concept of nationalism as a driving force for community action. In his case study, he cited examples of small countries wielding huge influence in world affairs by virtue of their strong nationalistic ideals. Then Stepan Tkaczuk presented an overview of OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) and the history of the Ukrainian nationalist movement during the 20th Century. An important part of this session was a review of the ‘Dekaloh’, the 10 guiding principles of Ukrainian Nationalists. In the discussion most of the young participants at the Ziizd came to the conclusion that those principles are still as relevant in our community today as when they were set in the 1920’s.

In the session that followed Marian Tkaczuk, standing in for Stefan Romaniw, outlined the practical work of OUN today, citing many current examples. These were outlined as examples of people with similar nationalistic ideals helping to drive common goals to all Ukrainians.

In the final session on Saturday, Stepan Duma led the participants through an analysis of nationalism with the underpinning concept being - likeminded people working together. His clever slide show of images and quotes by a variety of world leaders generated lots of spirited debate. Thereafter we retired to Mark and Nadia Tkaczuk’s place for a vechirrka and well-earned rest, or so I thought.

The vechirrka (social evening) at Mark and Nadia’s place was a revelation. It wasn’t long before Bohdan got a guitar out and the party was well under way. With lots of delicious barbqued food to eat and refreshments to boot, we sang Ukrainian songs and chatted around the open fire to well after midnight. Despite this everybody was at the 9.30am Divine Liturgy on Sunday in their CYM uniform.

After Divine Liturgy everyone gathered in the CYM domivka next to the Church for an Apel followed by brunch. The Ziizd concluded by reviewing the program and participants goals, revealing that we had covered the majority of the goals that we had set on Friday night. We were reminded about our Action Plan commitments, including who was to do what by when. After the Ziizd was formally closed, most of the participants quickly changed into their casual clothes and caught the train to the Telstra Dome in Melbourne to watch the Cats annihilate the Bombers.

As we were packing up, it was interesting to read the participants comments about the Ziizd which included: ‘group work was great with lots of interaction with druzhynyky from other oseredky’; presentations on leadership were very relevant to work and projects that I am currently involved in’; ‘understanding the impact of right-left brain dominance on thinking styles and discovering new things about myself’; ‘realizing the importance of having a vision’; ‘bad experiences can be major preventers for community involvement’; ‘working on the force field made me realize how our uprava works and that lots of work needs to be done to improve its effective functioning’.

We are very fortunate to have good leadership from CYM’s Krajova Uprava, who continually provide relevant and interesting leadership material and activities for our youth. For me it was a great privilege to attend the Ziizd. I realized how much CYM Perth and CYM Geelong – even though so far apart - have in common. I was also able to renew old acquaintances and meet new interesting people. I thrive on the interaction with young people. They nourish my mind and my soul.

Bohdan Mykytiuk
Oseredok CYM Perth

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