The fun begins...
This year's Praktychnyj Tabir (commonly referred to by participants and alumni alike as "River Camp")
began on 7 July 2001. The opening ceremonies took place near the Ellenville resort's "old" camp barracks and were led by National Executive
President Yury Nakonechnyj and Camp Commission head, Andriy Bihun. Soon komendant Myron Soltys and his staff
(Roman Fontana - bunchuzhnyj, Roman Iwaskiw and Olia Tsizh - obozni) were leading the troops back to their campsite-to-be to
start construction on their home for the next two weeks.
With each new day, the campers became more and more accustomed to the struggles of camping in the wild.
They worked together to build a wooden gate, flagpole, tables and sinks, water gathering devices, standing lamps and many other
necessities of camping life.
The third day of River Camp brought our campers on a trip to Bonticou Crag
Learning to find their way through the terrain, our campers led the way, showing their komanda that they could
find the appointed target using just maps and compass. Of course, along the way they met up with a bit of a
surprise -- a steep vertical wall of rock! But this did little to deter the now experienced travelers, who climbed the cliffs
to reach the top in record time.
Quick - hide me!
On that same day, bunchuzhnyj Roman taught a course in camouflaging.
After a discussion about motivation and techniques, each camper took on the task of masking his or her face,
lest they be spotted by the enemy. The men in the group attentively watched the women applying the face paint,
claiming that the ladies had much more experience in this particular art form...
I can't float...
The following day started with a lesson on the open water. The topic of the day -
drownproofing and lifesaving! It's not that easy to stay afloat in your clothes and gear, yet you may some day face the need to
help a buddy in trouble in just such a situation, hence the need for this particular lesson. Campers learned how to
take advantage of air trapped between their skin and clothes, to stay afloat in those crucial first moments upon entering
the water. They also learned to tie off their pant legs and fill that item of clothing with air, making a pillow to help
them from going under... All in all, it was an excellent session in the pool!
You burn me up!
Fire has become a necessity for humans in the millions of years (or thereabouts) since we discovered its existence.
Especially with this summer's strange weather patterns, fires were a must at our camp not only for light but also for their warmth. But how
to light the thing without maches? River camp lessons included various techniques for lighting in a number of environments, with and without
matches and other flamables. But fire can also be a dangerous thing, so we face the need to know how to safely put out our fires
once they're no longer needed. One sure thing after that lesson - here'll be no firest fires in River Camp!
At the waterfall
A six-mile hike to a local waterfall was a magnificent experience to behold. After easily finding their
way with map and compass, our campers relaxed and enjoyed the scenery, nature, and all the blueberries they could eat from bushes along the way!
A surprise awaited them at the end -- how better to end such a journey that with a beautiful rainbow at their destination!
On Sunday, as we might expect from our sumivtsi (whose credo is God and Ukraine), a day of rest began with a
Liturgy, celebrated by Father Ruslan Lyubeznyj. This was a first for River Camp, whic has in the past celebrated the Liturgy
with the rest of oselia's civiliazation -- this year, our services were conducted in the wild, as the partisans did in the
forests and mountains of Ukraine. Father Ruslan's reward for battling the elements with us was an official
A fishing we will go
A beautiful morning. Again, we gather for travel. Where to? Today, our wanderings bring us to the lake for a ay or fishing.
It's just like a fairy tale! The fish are fighting each other to jump onto our campers' hooks. Some of our youth use
fishing poles and tackle, others simply fishing line and their hands, but success arises at every turn!
After the day of instruction in this fine art, stomachs began to do the talking. The smell of grilled fish permeates the
air and sighs of contentment sound in the breeze...
Another trip (this was beginning to become a trend!)
Lake Minnewaska is a place worth traveling to. Of course, the rain that greeted our fearless campers might have
discouraged other hikers, but not the CYM crowd! A total of 6 miles of trail lay behind them at the end of the day
which saw River Camp trek from Minnewaska to Lake Awosting and back. On the way, a leisurely rise to Castle Point
was in order, though the fog seemed to get in the way of a good view... By nightfall, those tents and sleeping bags back
at oselia were beginning to look pre-t-t-t-y appealing...
Across the river and up the mountain
A day for learning to tie everything in sight into one of many new knots! The assignment: to get to the other side (of the river, that is)!
Being the experienced campers that one might expect by now, everyone made it successfgully across by rope and by skill,
and not a single sumivets or sumivka fell tumbling into the furious river rapids of the mighty river!... Having faced the river,
rappelling from the tops of soaring mountains turned out to be no difficult challenge the same day! Our river campers
have come a long way in the two weeks at camp, and have learned many a valuable lesson to take home with them!
...we'd like to share some of the experiences and excitement we had at camp! Click on the links at the top of this page to
see photos of us!