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Plast-Canada greets new members

Mar 19, 2024 | Community, Featured

New Plast members take their Plast oath
Bohdan Kolos for NP-UN.

In the first days of March, there was an uplifting atmosphere and a general feeling of anticipation as delegates arrived at the Plast Toronto Huculak Centre for the Annual General Meeting of Ukrainian scouts of Plast-Canada.

There is always excitement before a Canada-wide Plast meeting, especially when it is in person. It is an opportunity to renew old friendships and make new acquaintances from different parts of Canada, the USA, or even abroad.

Plast has members from across Canada, from Moncton in the east to Vancouver in the west, and in many larger cities in between.

During the official opening of the Annual General Meeting, the participants solemnly remembered the recently killed fifty Plast heroes, who “didn’t break their Plast oath” and died in the war defending Ukraine's sovereignty. The Plast chaplain again acknowledged their loss the following day by reading their names during the Divine Liturgy.

The purpose of any AGM is to review the work done in the previous year and, more importantly, to plan the work for the future.

Among the reviewed reports were Plast camps for junior and senior youth in 2023, including those in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Algonquin Park in Ontario, and the Plast camps of Baturyn (Montreal) and Plastova Sich (Toronto). Many Canadian Plast members also participated in the cross-border USA-Canadian Jamboree near Cleveland, Ohio.

AGM delegates shared their impressions of the worldwide Plast gathering in Poland in November 2023, and their visits with Plast groups in Krakow and Warsaw. They described the growth and organization of new Plast centers in Europe, their efforts to reach and support the growing number of displaced youths outside Ukraine.

Plast activity is about learning and practicing leadership skills throughout the year and preparing for the summer outdoor nature challenges. Plast councillors and coordinators, together with mentors, presented their plans to prepare for this year's summer camps. Plast youth share the responsibility to seek out interesting locations for their camps and events, and to create programs full of challenges for their members, considering the safety and level of experience of their members.

The greatest realization for this year's attendees at the AGM was the recognition that the significant increase in Plast-Canada membership over the past two years has been due to the influx of new Plast members from Europe. These new members need to be introduced to appropriate scout training and programs. New Plast scout branches need to be formed.

Ihor Michalchyshyn, Plast member from Ottawa and on the executive team of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), presented the delegates with statistics and information gathered from government sources, the UCC and the Ukrainesafehaven.ca website.

He described how, over the past two years, more than 250,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Canada from Europe. Most of them are young people who may not return to Ukraine after the war. Many have settled in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba, where Plast branches already operate. However, new Plast groups are being formed in places like Vancouver, Kitchener-Waterloo, Moncton, and other smaller cities.

Ihor Michalchyshyn concluded, “Our task is to be ready to accept these new potential members.”

Others continued the discussions, wondering if we could find enough experienced counsellors, mentors, and volunteers for this grass-roots organizational work and whether we could supply sufficiently appropriate training. Most felt that Plast-Canada leadership could face the challenge and succeed.

At the conclusion of the AGM, the nomination committee presented their proposals for the next President of Plast-Canada and the new National Executive which were elected unanimously.

The new Plast National Executive

Newly elected President Katrusia Dolishna addressed the delegates and made her closing remarks. She thanked the assembled for their trust on behalf of herself, the newly elected Executive, and Rada. She continued that it gave her “great satisfaction to be in this position because she will have the opportunity to work with long-time acquaintances, friends, Plast co-workers, as well as young, ambitious, cheerful mentors/leaders who willingly volunteer to share their experiences and knowledge! “

Katrusia Dolishna stated: “Looking ahead, there will be big challenges—not only for the existing branches but also with the development and retention of new Plast groups across Canada.

And, of course, we must continue to help our brothers and sisters in Ukraine because they are defending our homeland!

A new stage in the history of Plast in Canada has begun. I urge everyone to engage in true cooperation! “

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