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National Camp 2003-2004 in Perth

The 2003-04 Australian Krayovy Tabir “Treasure Ukraine” held in Perth, Western Australia has come to a close but although the camping may be over, the work and friendships started will surely last a long time. This year’s tabir was attended by CYM members from most major centres of Australia including Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney not to forget those that have travelled as far as Singapore and England just to enjoy the Ukrainian spirit offered at such a tabir.

What we did?
Before the Tabir program could officially start, everybody had to work together to set up the Tabir. This included setting up each individual campsite and pitching the tents. Some barely raised a sweat from the task while others watched time and time again as their tent miserably fell down but with the advice and input of those around they too managed to set themselves up.

After the official opening and first meal of Tabir, the program started with many games and activities used to set the atmosphere and let everybody have their say and a chance to learn about those people around them.

The first full day saw everybody being introduced to their Tabir families. These were offered as an opportunity to meet with people from all different ages at Tabir. In these families we set off orienteering and canoeing. During the orienteering course, the families explored the camp grounds and surrounding areas all while solving the riddles whose answers could be found at each point of the orienteering course. For those who had the opportunity to canoe, they began to explore the nearby Lake Leschenaultia and very soon more people were out of the canoes then in them and more canoes not surprisingly had water in them then those that were dry. Thanks to the help of the rangers at Lake Leschenaultia those canoes that had been capsized one way or another were soon ashore and emptied to allow the occupants to start canoeing again and maybe seek revenge on those that helped capsize them.

That night singing was on the agenda as always and soon became a tabir favourite with many well known songs and a lot of Christmas carols being sung throughout the night. However, soon it was time to go bushwalking and at about 8 o’clock, the young CYM members were led off into the bush with no lights, at all including torches, cigarette lighters, mobile phones and even glow in the dark watches. This was an opportunity for people to place trust in their CYM families. Firstly, that they would make it back safely and not get lost and secondly, that their family would not leave them behind and would have to complete the journey on their own. As the time passed all members made it back safely and all CYM families came in as one group showing how much their trust in each other had grown over just one day.

The second day was an opportunity for the people of Perth to show everyone from around Australia (and the world) what their city had to offer. We all climbed aboard two coaches and set off for our first destination Kings Park, a large reserve only a few kilometres from the city centre which features the best views of Perth, a war memorial, playgrounds and natural parkland. It provided a great chance to walk around. Even to Perth people who take it for granted, the park is in constant change and this was evident in the new tree top walk and federation path both attractions only being a few months old. From Kings Park the group headed for Fremantle, the maritime centre of Perth. Here people could enjoy the old streets and buildings that fill Fremantle, the foreshore and esplanade along the beach or for those old enough they could enjoy a cold beer at one of Perth’s most premium and highly awarded brewery’s ‘Little Creatures’. Keeping with the beach theme, from Fremantle the coaches headed north letting the group enjoy the sites of kite surfing and wind surfing as well as some of Perth’s best beaches, Cottesloe and Scarborough. Finally we reached Hillary’s, Perth’s only shopping centre built over the water. Here we could enjoy a bit of shopping or relaxation on the beach after a full day of sightseeing.

That night, everyone gathered around the campfire to enjoy the ‘vatra’. Here everyone put on a small skit for the enjoyment of others and singing and carolling were again highlights of the night. The skits, although not very professional and certainly not well rehearsed, still provided good entertainment after a busy day.

Although it was busy, it had only just begun, as that night was New Year’s Eve and straight after the ‘vatra’ came the festivities. As people danced away the last remaining hours of the year and enjoyed wishing everyone a happy new year it became a real chance to learn more about those from around Australia and the world well into the small hours of the morning in what were already growing friendships.

As many people tried to recover as much sleep as possible it was still a 7 o’clock start for the whole tabir. Again, Lake Leschenaultia was part of the plan with everyone heading there to enjoy swimming or for those still looking for a few more hours of sleep, a chance to catch up. Many of the Molodshe Yunatstvo enjoyed swimming near the shore while those a little older had fun on the jetty near the deeper part of the lake. During the day many activities took place such as writing letters to the editors of prominent newspapers throughout Australia so they know what being a Ukrainian means to the young CYM members in Australia. The Druzhynnyky were given the activity to set up a marketing program for CYM Australia which allowed open discussion on what CYM had done for them, what they expected in the future and what they believe CYM will offer to those who have never experienced it.

Afterwards everyone helped in the construction of the CYM wall; an array of ceramic artwork showing the diversity of the CYM members present and where they all come from. The Molodshe Yunatstvo made tryzubs which they kept and paintings of what tabir meant to them. In CYM families everyone had an opportunity to tell their family what CYM had done for them and what they expected in the future.

That night, a rivalry which has lasted 3 years began again with the Sydney Vs The World soccer match. For the third consecutive year a soccer match has been held to determine if Sydney really has what it takes to beat the rest of CYM at soccer. This was the first time a night game had been played but was understandable as the temperature during the day was rising well above 35ºC. Using Ukrainian genius many of those with cars soon came to the rescue in failing light and positioned their cars around the field and using their headlights illuminated the field which was little more than a gravel patch with little grass to offer the opportunity at any slide tackles or brilliant goalie dives. Like most serious matches, someone forgot to keep score and still no one really knows who won that night. For those who don’t enjoy soccer, they instead tried their skills at volleyball.

Towards the end, people continued to go swimming and finish activities that were started on previous days. On the last day everyone attended liturgy and the official closing of tabir. Here we had the chance to thank all of those who put together the tabir and helped make sure it ran so smoothly. After some more carols every person sat down to a traditional Christmas Eve dinner with kutsia, borsch and varenyky.

On the last day, everybody helped pack up and said their final goodbyes all trying to figure out when the next CYM activity will be on so they can meet up again some day. Although tabir may be over for another year, it certainly has not come to a halt. The letters written have been sent to newspapers around Australia; the marketing program started at tabir will be finished and introduced in the coming months. Plans are underway for the next national activities to be held possibly in Sydney and Adelaide in the next two to three years and for those old enough they hope to carry on meeting other Sumivtsi from around the world when they travel to Athens later this year.

What we Learnt?
For many people, this tabir was a first time experience for them as new CYM members. For others, they simply wanted to know what CYM is about. For this reason, time was spent revising the history and basis of CYM as an organisation set up to help young Ukrainians around the world. For the Starshe Yunatstvo, they were given the opportunity to freely express what they believe being a young Australian Ukrainian means to them. They were then asked to write letters to editors of many of the major newspapers in Australia in an effort to educate the rest of the community of what they feel and the pride they feel in being part of a Ukrainian Australian community.

The Druzhynnyky were offered a similar chance to express what it means to a young adult Ukrainian within the CYM organisation. Through this they were able to discuss what CYM has done for them, what it is going to offer and what it can offer other Ukrainians. It also provided the group with a discussion of how CYM could change in the future to better accommodate their needs and the needs of other young Ukrainians from those too young to join CYM up to the parents of the children who attend CYM activities. Once this information was gathered, the druzhynnyky set about organising a marketing program for CYM which will be used over the next few years to show the Ukrainian community what CYM has to offer. All these activities were focused on one of the main themes of tabir; ‘Young Sumivtsi- Hope & Future’.

Within our CYM families, each individual learnt the importance of trust and responsibility. For many it was the first time they were responsible for children a lot younger then themselves and make sure that they participated like everyone else and make sure they too had a good time. In many of the activities trust played a role especially in the night bushwalking which made sure all members of the family were accounted for and looked after. During the canoeing, it was the responsibility of the older family members to take the younger members out and show them the lake and make sure they were safe and enjoyed themselves. Fortunately, all the older family members naturally looked after the rest of the family without any instruction from the ‘Komanda’.

Apart from learning about the role of families within the home and CYM, we all spent time learning about the roles in our religious families. Professor Andrew Kania from Notre Dame University in Western Australia kindly spoke to the Druzhynnyky about John Chrysostom, the writer of some of the most famous sermons ever used and author of the liturgy now used by the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Although his sermons may be over 1700 years old, the relevance of such discussions still remains. Within the group, we studied sermons on the importance of the rich helping the poor in the community and the role of married life. The Starshe and Molodshe Yunatstvo both held activities with Father Kalinecki in which they learnt about the roles of families within the church.

Finally, Ukrainian language always plays an important role at CYM tabirs. Many saw their Ukrainian language skills improving over the time spent at tabir and everybody left knowing a little bit more. It is the things learnt at tabir that seem to last the longest and make the biggest difference.

Where do we Go?
Even before tabir was over, plans have begun for the next state, national and international CYM events. For the next state activities all you need to do is contact local CYM members or visit the CYM website to see what is happening. On a national level, plans have started for a concert to be held in Sydney in 2005 as a showcase of all cultural groups run by CYM. The next Kraiovy Tabir is being organised and can expected in two to three years after three years of national camps which have helped strengthen the bonds between the individual branches of CYM.

Internationally, a delegation of Druzhynnyky is preparing a tour to Athens to visit the CYM Zlet being held there during the 2004 Athens Olympics. Afterwards many are planning to visit Ukraine where the second part of the Zlet will take place. This will provide an opportunity for CYM Australia to work with other countries in strengthening CYM internationally and act as a stepping to larger world events to be held in the years to come.

Within the next few weeks look in the major newspapers and Ukrainian newspapers for any letters written by our CYM members at this tabir. They will highlight what it means to them being Ukrainian within an Australian community. Also look out for the new CYM marketing program within the coming months as CYM begins to show what it has to offer to the Ukrainian community.

As more CYM events are planned over the years the one thing that will surely grow are the friendships made. In Australia, the branches of CYM are spread far apart but the friends made are kept for a lifetime and build up the more people meet at CYM activities. That is why after the recent tabir people are already beginning to plan the next activities in an effort to meet those CYM members from other parts of Australia and the world again.

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