Making the best of an unexpected situation – a look at virtual CYM Camp in Canada

    Stefany Stadnyk.

    Along with many others, you may find yourself dealing with a continually changing environment during an unprecedented time. COVID-19 has impacted work, home, family life and those long-awaited summer plans – no more travelling or summer camp.

    Challenging times mean getting creative in the way we deliver our youth programs, especially summer camps. The weeks usually spent away from home doing things such as learning, singing, swimming and spending time with friends is no longer a reality this year. In fact, it is looking a lot different as we are mandated to physically stay apart from each other.

    During this challenging time, parents now must be educators, friends and the list goes on. The good news is parents can ensure children have an opportunity to take part in an interactive educational experience during the summer months.

    After many months of planning, the Board of Directors of the Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada (often referred to by its Ukrainian acronym, CYM) had to share the unfortunate news that all in-person and overnight camps were cancelled due to COVID-19 – the first time camp was cancelled in almost 70 years. Despite the disheartening news, the Board of Directors rolled up their sleeves, pivoted and began planning a new virtual program. After many meetings and a lot of hard work over a short period of time, plans for two Canadian CYM virtual camps were revealed.

    The first round of camp, ‘Vyshkilnyj Tabir’ (the Youth Leadership Development camp), will take place July 6-17, 2020. The camp session is open to youth ages 15-18, who are already active in CYM and interested in becoming counsellors. The program will consist of daily 90 minute sessions held online, where various educators from around the world will conduct interactive and interesting lessons. Topics to be covered include: personal development, child psychology, ‘CYM-oznavstvo’, as well as discussions of current events in Ukraine in historical context. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to work on projects utilizing their newly gained knowledge. An exam will be administered at the end of the camp session. As you can imagine, such an endeavor is not inexpensive, however the team of volunteer counsellors have decided to donate a portion of the camp fees to support CYM’s local branches and campgrounds.

    The second round of camp, the annual ‘Vykhovno-Vidpochynkovyj Tabir’ (i.e. recreational camp) will take place July 20-31, 2020 and is open to youth ages 6-13. This program will consist of daily 60 minute sessions also conducted online. Under normal circumstances, this program allows participants to spend their summer vacations in a fun and friendly atmosphere. In addition to daily educational sessions, participants have the opportunity to take part in a variety of recreational activities, such as swimming, soccer and other sports, singing, arts and crafts and much more. Given the current circumstances, camp will look and feel quite different this year. Participants will celebrate the 95th anniversary of CYM’s founding in 1925 and travel (virtually) to all the countries where CYM exists! As noted above a portion of the fee will also be donated in order to provide financial support for CYM’s local branches and campgrounds.

    We are very sorry we won’t be able to meet in person this summer, but we hope you join us for the virtual camps! For more information, please refer to our website. We look forward to seeing you all again in the fall!

    Stay safe, stay healthy and have fun!