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Press Release 3
By Justin Senko | Sydney Branch
"Well what can I Say! It was fantastic, not the best time of my life, but
it will do."
- Nicole Ptycia - 9 years old
In the Australian summer that brought 2002 to a close, CYMivsti from
all over Australia converged on Colo Valley, NSW to attend the CYM
Krayovij Tabir. The tabir took place between 26th of December 2002 to
the 4th of January 2003 at the Sydney oseredok's oselia "Hoverlya".
This Tabir, Cossack's Glory, focussed it's
theme around "Kozatsvo" and it's place in our history. Whilst we
examined history to learn about Kozaky, simultaneously, we found
relevance for today in the pages of yesterday. We discovered that by
learning more about our past, we learnt more about ourselves.
With many of us veterans of the preceding year's tabir in Melbourne,
this Krajovij Tabir was a reuniting of a community, a unique "Tabir
Community" that continued from where it concluded 12 months before.
Indeed, it took only a few hours for "Hoverlya" to feel like home. And
like in any home ,each of us brought something with us to contribute
and left with something new.
The underlying focus of the tabir was "Community" and in this case,
it was a community that was forged long before the flags were raised
and the svyatochnij nakaz was read. Members of our Sydney oseredok had
for the past year volunteered their time in preparation for hosting
this Krajovij Tabir. A "Working Bee Committee" had been hard at work,
spending numerous days preparing the oselia for this tabir. Kozak
flags were made to adorn the hall and even an authentic Kozak's Guard
Tower was skillfully constructed to create the kozak atomsphere. These
numerous projects when combined with the efforts of all oseredky,
working with their Unatsvo to create kozak flags, transformed the
oselia into a "Kozatsky Sich" of times gone by.
Leadership of the camp comprised of both the veteran and beginner. The
commandant, Stefan Romaniw, brought with him an array of dedicated
individuals; Jaroslaw Duma, Tatiana Zahariak, Darka Senko, Natalka
Ostrowska, Stefan Mychno, Petro Perih, John Berehovij, Larissa Fluint,
Simon Garan, Katya Ostrowska, Helen Danylko, Maria Papa, Michael
Moravski, Taras Mencinsky, Greg Moravski and Fr. Kolomejec. With such
a large Komanda one might wonder were you ever left alone? Be reminded,
that this Komanda when put together has over 400 tabory of experience.
Strangely, their wisdom showed that a great tabir with over 200 people
consistently, can function with the Komanda barely being seen.
The Tabir program was masterfully prepared by Podruha Tatiana Zahariak
and professionally executed by Podruha Darka Senko. During the camp,
Ruchnij Verobe (hand-crafts) were conducted religiously, with each
unak and unachka creating an authentic Kozak Sword. For Molodshe
unatsvo and Symenyata an equally exciting program took place where
many talented vehovnyky, created a challenging program for our younger
CYMivtsi. Our First Aid Officer Podruha Larissa Flunt and her
assistants also deserve special mention for holding a new record for
injuries and illness at a CYM Tabir, this includes 6 which were taken
to hospital and many who needed care by these caring hands.
An array of both enthusiastic and talented vehovnyky presented the
theory component of the Starshe Unatstvo and Druzynnyk program.
Amazingly, they found ways to relate this history to our own lives. Fr
Zdan Kolomejec focused on the strong faith held by Kozaky, using it as
a tool to examine our own faith in this very uncertain 21st Century.
He spoke not only of our responsibilities as "Christians" but those we
have a "CYMivitsi". Druh Michael Moravski evoked nationalism, pride and
perhaps most importantly, appreciation of our ancestry in his
presentations on Kozak history. When Podruha Natalia Moravska's
presentation regarding Kozak costumes inspired intense discussions on
the direction of Ukrainian community today, it was clear that Kozak
culture had truly engulfed our Tabir. Talks by our Commandant were
enriching as they were numerous, with even our youngest Sumenyat
adding the word "community" to their vocabulary. The comprehensive and
thought provocative program was a true strong point of the Tabir.
Bridges between the future and past were forged and with it, we saw
the roots of our own community embedded in the legendary Kozaks.
Along with looking into the past, the Tabir was given time to explore
the present, a chance to explore their own identity as
Australian-Ukrainians. Podruha Mary Duma helped define what makes us
Australian-Ukrainians and Stefan Romaniw and Zenko Kowal ( our guest
CYMivets from Belgium/Vietnam) presented themselves as examples of how
one can be successful within both their Australian and Ukrainian
Starshe Yunatsvo and Druznnyky ventured deeper into a kozak's lifestyle
when embarking on the "Operation: Cossack's Camp" 3 Day Survival hike.
Through the skilful planning of podruha Natalka Ostrowsky and druh Andrij
Duma the Colo River was transformed magically into the Dnipro. As we
engaged in canoeing, river walking, and special challenges, we found
ourselves caught in a world of the past. Our mission, to protect the
infamous "Letter to the Sultan". Some succeeded, others failed, but all
were given a hero's return.
And what would be more fitting for a Kozak's return home than a
traditional Festival! Komanda and Molodshe Unatsvo greeted us with a
Ukrainian Pryvit of bread & salt, Kozak Dancing and a parade of our Kozak
flags. After being honoured with praise by Hetman Stefan Romaniw, we were
saluted by a guard of honour before taking our seats for the feast. The
atmosphere was potent, the welcome, overwhelming, we indeed felt like
The themed feast would soon make way for a New Years eve dance party.
Unatsvo, molodshe, starshe and druzynnyky together danced the night and
year away and were joined by the rest of the Tabir to welcome in the new
The heavy firebans had settled by the last days of camp allowing our
"CYMivska Vatra" to again take place. Songs and sketches were performed
under a sparkling fire-lit sky, we were taken from laughter to tears, from
commotion to serenity and finally to prayer. As the night came to a close
our tabir community came closer, touched by the nature surrounding us and
the people beside us.
By the last night , the tabir, perhaps slightly exhausted, was treated
with "Svyata Vecherya". Kutya, Borsch and Vereneke reminded us that
Christmas was now upon us and how quickly our camp had passed. The night
progressed calmly, perhaps even nostalgically. Later, the Tabir watched as
300 odd photos taken over the ten days, by our resident paparatzi Druh
Taras Bodnaruk, were presented in a montage. The night was then graced
with the celebration of the 80th birthday of our chief cook, Pani Perih.
Few CYMivtisi in Sydney can remember a Tabir without her. Many felt the
night should never end, some for sentimental reasons, others simply
dreading the packing and cleaning they would endure the next morning.
For what may seem to have been an intensive 10 days, Tabir:
"Cossack's Glory" in fact conducted itself in a very relaxed atmosphere.
Ironically, the initial advertising campaign of "You Deserve a
Holiday!" earned a truth that went beyond that of clever marketing
Each of us came to Colo River Valley with very different expectations.
Each of us left 10 days later, that little bit older and that little
bit wiser. As the sun rose the final time over the valley, some found
themselves saddened, others excited; perhaps because of their yearning
for a clean shower or the luxury of a comfortable bed. Whilst reuniting
the tabir community from the previous camp was seamless, the farewell
would again prove to be more difficult.