The Pavlushkov Branch ("Oseredok") was formed on October 2, 1949 by young Ukrainian immigrants recently arrived from the post World War 11 German "displaced persons" camps. These immigrants had been members of the Ukrainian Youth Association ("SUM") and possessed a natural inclination towards organized life. They especially desired to continue their work in those organizations to which they belonged prior to their arrival in the US. For this reason, it was entirely natural for these young Ukrainian immigrants to renew their "SUM" activities in their new communities.
Central to the ideology of the newly revived emigre' SUM was the concept of self-enlightenment, and this concept was subsequently incorporated into the existence of the newly formed Chicago branch. On the day of its formation, its members selected the branch name of Mykola Pavlushkov, in honor of the originator and first head of the underground Ukrainian Youth Association in Ukraine.
Self-enlightenment in SUM, especially in its new emigre' venues, followed two paths. The first path was educational activity among the membership. Initially this was accomplished through mass meetings of the membership, and later, smaller divisions of membership were organized. These were called "lanky" (literally "links", as of a chain), and they afforded more focused opportunities for educational activity. This method was more broadly applied beginning November 25, 1951, with the formation of the "Odessa Viddil", or youth section, a program for 6 to 17 year old "candidates" for membership. From that time, many older members ("sumivtsi" took on the role of "vykhovnyky" ("educators"), and the curriculum became increasingly formalized into the program that exists today. Over time, summer camping programs were included in the general curriculum, and the Pavlushkov Oseredok has been organizing these annually since the first one was held in 1953.
The second method of self-enlightenment among the "sumivtsi" was achieved through the cultivation of Ukrainian culture and arts. In their new communities, the preservation of Ukrainian culture equated to a fight against the forced russification of Ukrainians in their native land. This battle was fought through the activity of numerous extra-curricular performing arts groups. Soon after its formation, the Pavlushkov Oseredok hosted the creation of various artistic groups. The first such group was the Ukrainian Youth Association Choir, formed in 1949. Before long, other performing groups were organized, including a theater troupe, dance ensembles, a recitation group, a concert band, and even a symphony orchestra.
To a greater or lesser degree, the activities of these various artistic groups continues even today. Even though some of these groups have ceased to exist, others have taken their place, oftentimes dictated by the availability of qualified directors or instructors. These changes were mostly the result of the natural growth and development of the organization's membership; older members would take on duties in other aspects of Ukrainian community life, and their places would be filled by younger members of SUM, often with different interests and a new outlook on activity within SUM. As these varied interests were expressed one or another of these artistic groups would play a dominant role in the Oseredok's community involvement. Most noteworthy is the fact that, throughout the history of the Pavlushkov SUM Oseredok, its dancing groups never ceased their activity. Presently, the well-known dance ensemble "Ukraina" and the three supporting groups of the School of Ukrainian National Ballet have risen to the forefront of the Oseredok's performing arts program.
All of the performing groups that comprised the Pavlushkov Oseredok's cultural arts program have not only hosted their own independent performances, but have also participated in countless community events and celebrations, both within and outside of the Ukrainian community. All of the performing groups have also toured other cities within the United States and Canada with their concerts and plays.
An equally important component of the Pavlushkov Oscredok's activities is the sports program, known in the amateur sporting world under the banner of the "American Ukrainian Youth Association Sports Club 'Wings'" (SC SUM "Kryla"). Throughout its existence, the Pavlushkov Oseredok has hosted such sporting activities as track and field, volleyball, table tennis, bowling, golf, and hockey. However the major sporting activity of the "Wings" sports club was, and continues to be, soccer. Over the decades SC "Wings" has fielded teams in the Major or 1st Division, as well as teams in the junior and youth age categories. The "Wings" soccer teams, as did many of the "Wings" teams in other sporting categories, have won numerous trophies and championships, including many national tournaments hosted by the North American Ukrainian sporting associations USCAK and SUAST.
Today the Pavlushkov SUM Oseredok owns a large, three-story youth center building at 2457 West Chicago Avenue, which it purchased in 1955. Known as "SUM Hall", this building houses the offices of the member organizations of the Ukrainian National Front. The SUM Hall has served as the site of various community and religious gatherings, commemorations, concerts and the like. Until the opening of the Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Cultural Center in 1988, the SUM Hall was the largest facility of its kind in the Ukrainian community of Chicago.
The Pavlushkov Oseredok also owns and maintains the 142 acre SUM campground and resort, purchased in 1961, located in the picturesque Baraboo Hills in south-central Wisconsin 180 miles northwest of Chicago's Ukrainian Village. Originally purchased as a farm, this site has been developed into a modern, comfortable seasonal resort. Despite this development, the land has maintained its original purpose, as the primary site for summer camps for SUM youth from the entire Midwest, and even from as far away as Florida, Arizona, and California. To serve this purpose, the first building built here was a dormitory building to house the young campers.
The SUM campground and resort houses an administrative building and a converted barn, which contains the dining area and a spacious hall. The sporting facilities include tennis and volleyball courts, two full-size soccer fields, and a large swimming pool. Three motel buildings, containing twenty-five guestrooms, have made the SUM resort a popular venue for summer vacationers, sports enthusiasts, and campers' families alike. Graced by its prime location in the rolling hills of southern Wisconsin, amid the natural beauty of the forests and meadows, the SUM campground and resort is a source of joy and pride for the members of SUM's Pavlushkov Oseredok. In recent years, the resort has also been used for wintertime "hikes" for sumivtsi interested in skiing and other winter sports.
Over the 50 years of its history, a number of annual events and activities have become traditional for the membership of the Pavlushkov Oseredok. Among these are the annual SUM Youth Day picnic, the annual bazaar, the annual New Year's Ball ("Malanka") with the presentation of debutantes, the "Yalynka" Christmas program, the "Svyachene" Easter program, the St. Nicholas program, participation in youth rallies ("zdvyhy'' and "zlety") sponsored by its parent organization, the national Ukrainian American Youth Association, summer camps, and the annual "Wings" soccer tournament at the SUM resort, to name a few.
The Pavlushkov Oseredok of the American Ukrainian Youth Association takes special pride in its youth developmental focus within the Ukrainian community of Chicago. Its members have gone on to become priests, state legislators, community and religious activists, successful business people, and professionals of many walks of life. Many of these individuals have remained active as volunteers in various capacities in the Pavlushkov Oseredok executive board and functional committees. Today's membership includes grandchildren of former members, including those who were founding fathers of the Pavlushkov Oseredok 50 years ago. Currently, the annual financial balance sheet has grown to over $350,000, and yet the organization manages to maintain its basic volunteer format.
In its 50th Anniversary Year, the Pavlushkov Oseredok has undertaken a series of commemorative events, including an anniversary concert, held on May 23, this 5Oth anniversary exhibit in the Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago, a major renovation of the SUM Hall, and, of course, a gala banquet.
This text was originally written in Ukrainian by Luka Kostelyna and translated into English by Taras Drozd. October, 1999.