Green Grove Camp

A summer camp for Ukrainian Orthodox children ages 7-13

Teen Program Final Report 2016

by admin - October 18th, 2016.
Filed under: Reports.

Written By: Tammi Bohle – Director

This year’s theme was immigration and settlement, to commemorate 125 years of Ukrainian immigration to Canada.  We were blessed with wonderful participants, excellent speakers and presenters, and great weather.  From August 21-28, 2016, 16 young people (ages 14-18) came together for this program, which were from Saskatoon and other locations in Saskatchewan, and one came from as far as Calgary! We were also very fortunate to have had Father Patrick Powalinksy with us all week, which provided a wealth of information, guidance, and leadership, in both the daily religion classes as well as informal interactions with the youth.  

Father Patrick provided an educational and interesting tour that Ukrainian settlers took when settling in the district area of St Julien, Lepine and Tarnopol. Many of the students found their family names on these historical markers. They were able to enter and appreciate pioneer churches and understand the struggles of these immigrant settlers.  We were privileged that Father Patrick was able to spend full days with the camp youth, teaching them many things about the Orthodox faith and tenants of the church.  Each teen received a book, A Guide for the Domestic Church, which examines different topics regarding Christian living, worship, and special religious ceremonies and observances.  Each participant also received handmade wooden ladders to practice the good virtues we Christians all have to work on. The students put them to practice with their politeness, helpfulness, and caring nature to each other. Each teen also received a beeswax candle and a cross that can be worn daily. This week was a learning experience for all participants, including Father Patrick, who learned how to paddle a canoe!  

This year’s program was successful because of the large number of talented and knowledgeable volunteers who took the time out of their lives to share various aspects of Ukrainian culture and religion. Nicole Lacoursiere shared her expertise on how to make a vinok and all the females were able to make their very own to take home. We were very fortunate to find experts to come and teach the young people how to make Orthodox prayer ropes, a very challenging process of knotting, which forms a bracelet and reminds the wearer of daily prayer. We are very thankful that Sister Sophia, Sister Antonia, and Sister Veronica from St. Joseph’s Home in Saskatoon were able to give their time and patience to teach each participant how to make their own prayer rope. They also presented the camp with a beautiful icon which is on display in the dining hall. The Sisters were touched and honored to have been able to spend time with the young people, discussing the importance of prayer and living a Christian life.  Shannon White Gabrush spent time at Green Grove, sharing her knowledge of Ivana Kupala and allowing the youth to act out some of the ancient rites which included making flower wreaths and dancing the arkan around the fire.  Marnie Howlett shared her experiences working at a camp in Ukraine through Dopomoha Ukraini – Aid Ukraine , and the benefits of volunteering at both their summer and winter camps. Patty Boyenko showed some of the teens how to make mushroom gravy, Leah Bellafontaine assisted in all areas of making varenyky, and Sally Maruschuk taught everyone how to make homemade buns.  As well we had Jennifer Uhryn and Andrew Gorel take the time to teach everyone the art of wheat weaving (a difficult task for some).

Coinciding with the immigration and settlement theme, Cheryl Beaudoin taught the young people how to make varenyky, dill pickles, and raspberry jam (with a large thank you to Kathy Addley for the raspberry donation).  The youth also had an opportunity to visit Vera Trembach’s garden to learn how to pick cucumbers and dill, and were also able to harvest onions and garlic from “Baba’s Garden”, which was planted outside the office in the spring of this year.  Along this theme, we had an excellent presentation from Ashley Halko-Addley, who shared interesting information regarding the different waves of Ukrainian immigration over the last 125 years in Canada as well as the history of internment camps.  

Other activities and events from the week included Glostick Capture-the Flag and Mantracker, card games and board games, yoga and stretching, making personalized t-shirts, and our first annual Ukrainian Olympics, which was very entertaining.

Each day began with “Pobut”, which is an opportunity for the young people to beautify the camp and leave it looking a little better than when we arrived.  Some of the things done were organizing and cleaning various rooms and buildings, sanding and painting doors and the bell tower, and adding floral decorative accents around the camp.  Everyone participated in helping with chores and duties around the camp, since there is a focus on maturity and responsibility, where each person helps out when needed.  An expectation is for all youth to leave technology at home, so they are not distracted by outside friends and influences, and can focus their time and energy at developing new friendships and learning about their culture and faith.  By looking at the smiles and active participation, it appears that this freedom from their phones allows teens to devote time and energy to each other.

The camp would not have been successful without the many people who supported it and devoted time and energy to ensuring it would meet the needs of the program and our participants.  A special note to the staff, which includes Father Patrick Powalinsky, the counselors Katherine Prytula and Ashley Halko-Addley and the head cook/co-coordinator/friend-extraordinaire Cheryl Beaudoin.  Many volunteers came out to assist us this week, and along with those mentioned earlier who shared their knowledge in teaching, were a couple who gave their time and energy to make the program just a little better with their efforts and smiles, so a big thank you to Trudy Kapiniak and Leah Bellafonatine for your help in the kitchen and around the camp.  We are very grateful for the grant received from the UOCC, which helped to support the goal of providing activities to teach young people about the Ukrainian culture, traditions and their heritage as well as explore topics around the Orthodox faith.  Thank you to the Board of Directors of Green Grove Camp who have been very supportive of this new initiative in trying to create a community that young people will feel a sense of belonging. As well there is gratitude and thanks to all the countless others behind the scenes, who have provided advice, suggestions, manpower, and legwork in helping create another successful year.

We are already planning for next year’s program, which will run August 20-27. 2017.  The focus will be on Ukrainian arts, literature, and music.  We are excited about offering another excellent learning experience to young people and hope that each year gets bigger and better.

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