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National Camp 2002-2003

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Press Release 1 | Press Release 2 | Press Release 3 |
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 communities.

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 heroes.

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 year.

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 ploy.

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.

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