July 17, 2016

       On Sunday, 17 July, the second week of the Archeparchy’s summer camps for youth and children came to a conclusion with a Divine Liturgy and concluding ceremony.

       The large wooden church in the heart of Ukrainian Park - St. Volodymyr Chapel – was filled beyond capacity as the campers, counsellors and other staff were joined by the parents and families of this week’s children that would be going home today. All of these people were joined, of course, by the many long-term campers that stay at their cottages and trailers at Ukrainian Camp through the summer, or who come in for the weekends. It is an inspiration to see one of our churches filled with so many joyful children and young families - all singing the responses to the Divine Liturgy with their whole hearts!

       This Sunday Fr. Michael Kwiatkowski came from Winnipeg and was joined by Hierodeacon Paisy from Holy Resurrection Monastery in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin who happened to be visiting with family in Manitoba. During the Divine Liturgy, the children added about a dozen petitions of thanksgiving for the camp and the organizers, but also for other individuals and causes that are important to them. Their loud and clear responses, whether reciting or singing, were amazing. At different times during the Liturgy, the children sang some unique songs taught to them by Sister Ruth Aney, SSMI.

       At the close of the Divine Liturgy, Camp Director Joan Lewandosky introduced the concluding ceremony by sharing with everyone gathered some details about the previous week and the program that the children experienced.

       As mentioned in an earlier article (July 15) about Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak’s visits to the camps both weeks, the theme of the camps this year was that of film making. The logo printed on the 2016 t-shirts designed by Walter Kulyk, “Lights! Camera! Camp!” encapsulated the spirit of the program. The children actually made short films on a variety of topics following  the process right from the screen-writing to the performances to the film editing in the end. There was a presentation of the films and the winning films and actors were acknowledged at a gala Academy Awards-like gala evening where the best received a “Golden Pysanka” trophy.

       This concludes the camps organized by the Archeparchy itself, however, there are others camps that take place at Ukrainian Park throughout the summer. This includes the camps held by the Ukrainian scout organizations – SUM and Plast – as well as specialized programs such as a Ukrainian Dance camp.

       Oh… and by this Sunday the fish-flies were all gone! It was a pleasure that there were no insects… except for a few babky flying around (no, not flying grandmothers, that’s Ukrainian for dragonflies).

       It was obvious that during both weeks the children not only had a great time, but they made friends with people that they would otherwise have never met. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a common Divine Liturgy at one of our churches in the city sometime before school starts again? (sorry for mentioning the “s” word in the middle of summer) It would give an opportunity for all of this year’s campers to come together just to refresh the friendships that they made and remember the experiences that they had.   

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