August 3, 2021

Despite living in a world where we can not all be together, the Archeparchial tradition of summer camp continued! From July 4-10, 2021, children and teens had the opportunity to continue to participate in Ukrainian Park Camp virtually. This very well organized event was creatively lead by Fr. Jay Korban, Dobrodiyka Sophia Korban, Fr. Mykhaylo Khomitskyy, Dobrodijka Iryna Khomitska, as well as some very enthusiastic young camp leaders!

As a parent, I will admit, when I saw another virtual opportunity, I was not thrilled. The thought of having my children sit in front of the screen after spending the last two months doing this for school, was not appealing to me. What is summer for, if not to let the children run free outside! Then I saw a post that put things into perspective for me, because despite what I think my children should be doing, screens will always win with the kids:

"We know kids don't need more screen time this summer. But we also know our kids need a safe way to create, play, complete challenges, explore faith, and most importantly hang out with new friends! So sign up for a virtual camp that's outside the box and full of surprises!" - Sophia Korban

... and what a surprise it was! It all started from picking up a large U-Haul box for each of my children, 7 & 10 ( keeping in mind that the whole camp cost my family a fraction of what the items in the box did).

On the first Sunday, both parents and children gathered in front of their screens to have the opportunity to open their camp kits all together virtually.

From here, the young campers were introduced to their "cabins" by finding a little mascot as well as bags of daily activities and challenges. Monday to Friday the young campers had a nice routine of logging into Zoom, praying with all the campers, break out rooms into their cabins to work on a bag of daily activities and catechism time with emphasis on the Holy Spirit.

The week also included special guest appearances from Metropolitan Lawrence Kristina from Kazka Dance Collective...

... and, of course, camp would not be complete without some campfire songs "live" from Ukrainian Park Camp!

Finally, the week concluded with a traditional camp Liturgy live from St. Basil's Ukrainian Catholic Church where camper participation was even made possible...

... as well as blessing of the Icons they created.

The week was filled with some well thought-out contemporary activities. Highlight of the week for me was the new children's Liturgy Book they received as well as the Icon activity.

Highlight for my campers were the bag of "canteen" treats, camp t-shirt tie dye and daily challenges that had to be submitted for cabin points creating some friendly sibling rivalry.

My prayers go out to all those involved in making this possible! As a mom of three kids, this turned out to be a very easy way to keep my children busy in a fun, creative, healthy and spiritual way! The Holy Spirit was truly present here!

Lesia Wozny

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