Ukrainian-Australians have two very active youth organizations – “CYM” also known as the Ukrainian Youth Organization and “Plast” which is the Ukrainian Scouting Organization. Both have their origins in Ukraine and both have a common motto – “God and Ukraine”.
Plast, the older of the two groups, commemorated its 105th year of existence this year. Both have their own camp grounds – CYM near Buxton, Victoria, and Plast has Camp Sokil in the Otway ranges near Geelong. CYM also owns a camp on the Colo River near Sydney, New South Wales.
Bishop Peter and all the clergy visit each camp every year and spend days camping with the youth and their families. Bishop Peter announced that he has been attending these camps now for 23 years.
This year, camp attendance was up at both camps which were held from 26th December 2016 to 2nd January 2017. Both had about 200 participants.
- Plast Camp 2015-2016
- Bishop Peter and Fr. Ihor Visit Sokil Plast Camp
- Father Ihor Bakaj and Bishop Peter visit Plast Camp “Sokil,” near Geelong
Bishop Peter and Fr. Brian Kelty attended the CYM camp then the Bishop, Fr. Ihor Bakay, Fr. Alex Kenez, Fr. Peter Struk, and Deacon Edward Kostraby along with Sr. Maria Moravski SSMI, Sr. Lucia and Macryna OSBM attended the Plast camp.
Fr. Simon Ckuj attended the CYM camp near Sydney.
The Divine Liturgy and Catechetical discussions were held in both camps.
Bishop Peter, in his time at the CYM camp, had hour long sessions with each of the groups at camp from the youngest to the young adults and parents. This year he discussed the role that our faith or lack of faith has on our society.
At the Buxton camp in addressing the youngest group, the young people themselves showed a very mature understanding of the theme. In their own words, they said that their Christian faith made them happy, gave them hope, trust, strength, and unity with God. They appreciated the fact that their sins were forgiven, that they could meet Jesus personally in Holy Communion. When talking about the Ukrainian community, they said that belief gave it unity, culture, identity, and family and united organizations.[AFG_gallery id=’122′]
When asked about the role faith had in Australian society, they contributed by referring to unity of purpose, safety and happiness, law and order, and respect towards each other as examples of a society influenced by belief in God.
When the Bishop asked them what they could do in the light of their faith, they responded that they should actually believe, say thank you to God, pray, and acknowledge that they were children of God.
The adults who sat in on the class noted that they were very impressed at the spiritual maturity and general awareness of these young ones.
The Chapel at the Plast camp has, in the last few years, been renovated. The roof was replaced and other improvements were made. Deacon Michael Zylan’s family along with the Furyk family created a set of icons for liturgical services that will stay at the camp. The icon of St. George was restored. Bishop Peter, along with Deacon Edward, and all present rededicated the chapel.
The Chapel plays a central role in the life of the camp. It is the focal point. It tells us who we are and what our youth organization stands for – “God and Ukraine.”