Summer Camp at CYM Camp Weselka 2012
This year’s summer camp at CYM Weselka near Acton, Ontario, took place from July 15 to August 3 and was named in honour of the heroes and heroines of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
The camp staff consisted of the following: Luba Kostiw (commandant), Michael Kostruba (bunchuzhny), Natalia Semcesen (head instructor), Stefan Yasinsky (secretary), Larysa Baran (performance rep.), Nykola Hlushko (administrator), Laryssa Czoli (obozna) and Matthew Leshchyshen (obozniy). In total, we had 107 youth and 41 staff members at our camp.
The camp’s program was diverse with various sports activities, sing-a-longs, arts and crafts and swimming. The youth learned about their heroic ancestors and commemorated the 70th anniversary of UPA. They took part in a show of solidarity for the protection of the Ukrainian language on July 18 by wearing blue and yellow, speaking Ukrainian amongst themselves and signing a flag with their thoughts which was proudly displayed at a rally in Toronto that same evening. During the three weeks we had various performances such as the feast of Kupalo, with guest characters such as fortune- tellers, mermaids and wood nymphs. We learned of the traditions associated with this feast and wove wreaths, made crosses and sang Kupalo songs.
In honour of Euro-2012, hosted by Ukraine, we also had our own world soccer competitions at Weselka. The youth were divided into teams and competed all day to determine the winner. The members of Team Holland showed their strength on the field and proved to be the champions.
At the end of the first week, we had a family bonfire. This was a particularly special bonfire as our youth not only showed off new songs and skits they worked on all week, but this bonfire was dedicated to the heroes and heroines of UPA.
Our younger generations had the opportunity to thank and express their respect for all who fought for an independent and sovereign Ukraine. The lighting of the bonfire symbolically united past and present generations as the oldest group of campers, together with UPA veteran, Mykola Koshyk lit the fire to Sumivski Vohni.
During the camp, we also took part in swimming pool games, nature activities, a camp wedding, as well as dances. This year’s major excursions and hikes were to African Lion Safari and Kelso Conservation Area. The older youth hiked over hills and caves and enjoyed the lake. The hike to African Lion Safari was a pleasant surprise for all as the camp counselors kept it a secret from the kids! On passing large reserves, the youth learned a lot about the flying styles of eagles, hawks, falcons and vultures. We also saw beautiful parrots and other feathered friends in the “Parrot Paradise” and admired the strength, intelligence and agility of the Asiatic elephants.
As commandant of the camp, I am very proud of all who participated in the planning and realization of this camp. Three weeks flew by unbelievably quickly!
I am grateful to all the camp staff, reps and counselors for their tireless work, sleepless nights and skillful running of the camp. The younger members of our organization demonstrated their desire to preserve the Ukrainian spirit for years to come. Hopefully everyone remain actively involved in their branches over the course of the year and will return to Camp Weselka in 2013!
Honor of Ukraine – Ready to Defend!
Luba Kostiw - commandant