The Ukrainian American Youth Association (UAYA) has been a vital factor in the life of Ukrainian-American communities for nearly 50 years. During the last half-century it has guided Ukrainian youth toward becoming knowledgeable and active members of their Ukrainian and local communities as a whole.
Among the objectives of the UAYA are to offer Ukrainian youth opportunities for social interpersonal contact and mutual support and to stimulate their spiritual, intellectual, social, cultural, educational and physical development.
Membership in the UAYA is divided by age into five categories: sumeniata - toddlers to age 7; molodshe yunatstvo - children to age 13; starshe yunatstvo - teenagers to age 18; druzhynnyky - young adults through age 50; and seniory - seniors and alumni over age 50.
From September to June, sumeniata, molodshe yunatstvo and starshe yunatstvo attend weekly meetings at which a structured educational program is conducted by trained instructors. The program includes instruction on Ukrainian culture and history; arts and crafts; sports and recreational activities. Many chapters offer other organized activities such as sports teams, choirs, theater troupes, dance ensembles, and even marching bands.
During appropriate times of the year our members participate in special events such as instruction in the art of making pysanky - the traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs, the holding of Ukrainian Christmas and Mothers Day pageants, observing historic events, etc. Also, guest instructors and performers conduct special programs of instruction and recreation for our youth.
All of these activities take place at local Ukrainian community centers where the UAYA has at its disposal classrooms, performance halls and recreational equipment. The UAYA also conducts field trips for its youth to other cultural and recreational sites throughout the country.
During the summer months our youth attend camps ranging from recreational and sports to cultural and training camps for new counselors. These campgrounds are located in New York (2), Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Some members even attend camps outside the U.S. The Ukrainian Youth Association has nearly a dozen campgrounds scattered between the Americas, Europe and Australia. Likewise, regional events are held several times a year for UAYA youth. In this way, young Ukrainian Americans are able to meet their counterparts throughout the country and the around the world to exchange experiences and to make lasting friendships.