CYMK-UOY NATIONAL EXECUTIVE REPORT

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, 2018

The Youth of Today are the Leaders of Tomorrow – Nelson Mandela

 

Attending an Eastern youth retreat, I was given a book by Elissa Bjeletich and Caleb Shoemaker titled ‘Blueprints for the Little Church.’ How do we as Orthodox parents keep our children in the church throughout their lives? Well, I would like to keep in mind what Elissa and Caleb affirmed in their literature that and I quote, “it all begins with involving them in the life of the church from birth onwards – in the parish and at home.” In their chapter ‘Growing Up’ the header quote really stood out to me: “our teenagers have to reach on their own, the stage of adult conviction about the faith. This does not mean in isolation, but from their own experience. They have to emerge as Orthodox adults because they believe that Orthodoxy is true – that it shows us how God is and how we are. Only such a faith will be enough to preserve them in Orthodoxy throughout their life.” Therefore, this provides us with further understanding the vital role of CYMK-UOY and that providing our youth this positive experience is essential, as we represent the future of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada. 

 

This year’s Annual General Meeting marks a significant accomplishment and celebration: The 100th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. As we all conceive the importance of our youth, many of us being former alumni of CYMK-UOY, and others still working within the CYMK-UOY organization in the current year, we are all aware that CYMK-UOY and the Ukrainian Orthodox Youth of Canada play an eminent role in the evolution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada over the past 100 years, and will continue to be the future and as the Church goes forward for the second 100 years.

 

A few months back I was sent an anonymous CYMK-UOY package with various interesting newsletters, statutes, articles, and booklets. Reading through these commentaries made my heart warm. The passion, devotion, and dedication that was put into raising the church made me realize how special the community that we are a part of today really is. A photograph titled “The 50th Anniversary Youth Choir” really allured me. With tears in my eyes I understood at that moment the history of our church. How powerful this organization really is. Being elected the National CYMK-UOY President for the terms of 2017-2019, I knew the role I would have to acknowledge, and the work I would have to perform, in order to maintain and grow our current locals and organization that are present in that one picture.

1968 CYMK-UOY Choir for the 50th Jubilee

2017 CYMK-UOY members at the Winnipeg, Manitoba Convention – getting ready for the 100th Jubilee

Under the picture, it reads, “The leaders of our Church today were the Youth of our Church when it went through its formative stages. Consequently, it is incumbent for the Youth of today to create the foundation for the further development of our Church over the next 50 years” (Сумківець 1968: 16). Many CYMK-UOY advisors and CYC Executive may be present in this one picture. --- And it hit me. We are positioned at the exact year of this “next 50 years.” From the 50th Golden Jubilee, to the 100th.

 

We have made it.

 

It is meaningful to consider not only the past term, not only the past 50 years – since this picture was taken, but also the past 100 years that has taught us the leadership, morals, and values of what it means to be a Ukrainian Canadian Orthodox member.

 

“I have heard the common argument from young people of Ukrainian background, that they are now Canadians and out of loyalty for Canada, they are severing all their ties with the past. What they fail to understand is that retaining their cultural heritage, they are not dividing their loyalties between Canada and Ukraine, but developing and enriching Canadians own cultural life… These traditional celebrations are a paramount value in keeping our people faithful to our church” (Victor Petrenko, Сумківець 1968: 2)

 

CYMK-U.OY. HISTORY AND LOCALS

 

Some background and history of our Ukrainian Orthodox Youth Organization: Our organization CYMK-UOY was founded in 1931 as the youth organization of USRL/CYC becoming the first Ukrainian Youth organization in Canada. The branches across Canada are based in UOCC parishes with parish Priests serving as Chaplains to provide spiritual leadership and guidance. In 1975 the UOCC Sobor, designated CYMK-UOY as the youth organization of the UOCC.

 

Founded in 1931, CYMK-UOY exists primarily to provide youth of the parishes with a social base and a sense of community where they can learn and practice their faith, learn and develop as community leaders, and learn and practice the culture of the Ukrainian Orthodox community. The youth group is unique in that it is self-governed and manages its funds, albeit with mentorship from parent, parish and priest advisors. 

 

CYMK-UOY is made of local youth groups in parishes across Canada. In 2016 and 2017 a major effort was made to revitalize various CYMK-UOY branches. Plans are underway to continue this initiative across Canada. Currently we have 7 locals involved with the CYMK-UOY organization: within Alberta we have the St. John’s Cathedral which has been a long-standing support for CYMK-UOY and St. Elia’s Church in Edmonton with is a newly-joined branch of CYMK-UOY. In Saskatchewan we have the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Saskatoon. Manitoba’s CYMK-UOY group resides in the Joint Cathedral, in Winnipeg. In the East we have three CYMK-UOY locals, St. Demetrius Sobor in Toronto, St. John the Baptist in Oshawa, and St. Sophie Cathedral in Montreal, Quebec. Oshawa and Montreal are our newest CYMK-UOY locals which have been developed over the past two years. The CYMK-UOY Branch in the Decent of the Holy Spirit Sobor in Regina is currently being initiated by our Saskatchewan regional representatives and National Executive. British Columbia remains vacant and expectant.   

 

MISSION STATEMENT / PURPOSE

 

Our organized events are aimed at promoting the Orthodox faith, Ukrainian culture, leadership and fostering a sense of belonging for youth. 

 

Participating in CYMK-UOY, a faith based organization, is valuable to every member as we are able to remain close with our family and friends gaining opportunities and knowledge that is unique and beneficial for our development. These events help reunite our members with experiencing the four CYM-UOY pillars: Faith, Culture, Leadership, and Friendship, as created by the Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association in 1934. As stated in Hebrews, Chapter 6, verse 10, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”  

 

As members of CYMK-UOY, we are honest, sincere and hard working Ukrainian Orthodox Youth. We are reminded of this during our every recital of the CYMK-UOY Klych:

Ми є чесні молодчі, бyдем шуро працювати, добри ділo продoвжaти!

 

As the President of the National CYMK-UOY Executive and having been the Long-Branch Local Secretary and President for several years, I have realized how significant this phrase really is. During the last few years, I have learned and comprehended the amount of dedication, commitment, allegiance, devotion, time and exertion it takes to dominate and prevail success. It takes a group, not one individual to win, but most importantly, it takes a family. Enjoying moments as a CYMK-UOY group is a paramount quality which helps us grow within our bonds, companionships, trust, culture, and spirituality.

CURRENT EXECUTIVE – WHO WE ARE

 

In 2017, at the Winnipeg CYC Convention, Toronto members were elected to form the CYMK-UOY National Executive for 2017-2019 term, as we now have the experience and proficiency of what it takes to carry out this initiative. However, we no longer have the assistance of youth coordinators, and our Executive group has increased with Lesia Buciora as my essential Vice-President and Event Planner, Michael Lukcazyn is our National Treasurer, Liza Oravec is the Secretary, and Natalia Lukcazyn, our media-coordinator. Our past experience with conducting meetings, and knowing these members personally through family and friendships, I am confident we will not disappoint our members.

 

Pani Natalka Olynyk Kowalenko and Leo Atamanchuk are our National CYMK-UOY advisors, who share their expertise, support, and guidance. It takes courage and patience to run a National Executive, and I am proud of our accomplishments through our energetic and bold team work.

Fr. Bohdan Hladio has been our National CYMK-UOY chaplain. Every CYMKivets is very fortunate and thankful for the passion he carries towards our organization. We truly yearn his leadership, knowledge, and dedication.

 

MEMBERSHIP: As of the term 2018, we have increased to 84 CYMK-UOY Members and 16 CYMK-UOY Advisors. Our members have become more experienced and active, and the National CYMK-UOY Executive is especially proud of our newest Local branches: Oshawa and Montreal, who are patiently learning the procedures and leadership skills of maintaining a youth group.  

RECENT WORK AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS / CURRENT INITATIVES

 

Recent Projects: Many initiatives or projects that were executed by the CYMK-UOY National Executive and their local executives included the collaboration with the Help Us Help the Children Campaign, where we collected hundreds of shoes, boots, and donated funds for orphans across Ukraine; Our Toronto and Winnipeg Conventions, consisting of successful youth programs; Eastern and Western Eparchy retreats to open new locals, such as Montreal, Oshawa, and Ottawa; We sent our Long-Branch treasurer, William Kowalenko, to the Ukrainian Orthodox League of the USA’s Convention in Rhode Island to observe and introduce our Canadian organization; Our ongoing collaborations with the MUNO organization, and recent augmentation to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, where Liza Zienchuk represented CYMK-UOY in the UCC AGM in Vancouver in October 2017.

 

Current Initiative: The National CYMK-UOY Executive is working with the Ukrainian Credit Union on the UCU Helps Ukraine Project. Following the Revolution of Dignity 2013/14, the fierce battle for Ukrainian Independence and Statehood continues, as the fourth year comes to a close where Ukraine’s armed forces continue to hold the line against Russia and its proxies who have invaded Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Ukraine’s favorite sons and daughters continue to be shot at, wounded and killed by Russian artillery and heavy weapons, standing firm against the Muscovite aggressors. Ukraine’s bravest continue to return from the battlefield maimed or worse, while the west waffles in providing Ukraine with much needed lethal defensive weapons. 

 

The Unbroken Blossoms Project is an initiative that works with Ukrainian injured soldiers who are in need of medical assistance and rehabilitation after being injured in the Euromaiden, Crimean revolution, and other combat happening in eastern Ukraine. I, National CYMK-UOY President Tanya Buciora, have personally visited some of these rehabilitation centers in Ukraine during this summer, and members of the Toronto Local have spent some immediate time with some soldiers from the Broken Blossoms campaign two summers ago. Former National CYMK-UOY President, Liza Zienchuk’s father, Michael Zienchuk is also on the committee for the initiation, and assisting with the emergence, of this project. 

 

It has come to the National CYMK-UOY Executive’s awareness that the Ukrainian military soldiers who are fighting for Ukraine’s freedom, and those in rehabilitation healing from their wounds, could really benefit from our financial and spiritual assistance. As a Ukrainian organization, assisting with raising funds for those who continuously risk their lives fighting for Ukrainians freedom is just a small part CYMKivtsi can undertake, and is an initiative we have undertaken this year.

 

Long Branch CYMK-UOY have also hosted a retreat in Oakville on June 2 of this year, a prelude to the Eastern Eparchy Special Liturgy and concert on June 3rd celebrated in Oakville, Ontario. Local CYMK-UOY members from the Eastern Eparchy came together to celebrate the centenary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. Members from Long Branch, Oshawa, Ottawa, and Montreal were all present, partaking in the youth program on the 2nd of June, and assisting with the concert as choir performers, singers, dancers, bandurysty, and stage assistants for the concert on June 3rd.

 

National CYMK-UOY is proud to announce that it enjoys beneficial and satisfactory monthly communication with all Local Presidents, Executives, and members. With the help of the Media Coordinator Natalia Lukaczyn, and the National CYMK-UOY Executive, over the past year, CYMK-UOY also kept webpage readers updated on CYMK-UOY activities and announcements, detailed monthly newsletters, as well as with our Facebook and Instagram pages, our group chats on Snapchat, Whatsapp, Asana, and email, and our active Website www.http://www.cymk.ca.

 

CYMK-UOY members are also preparing on attending the Extraordinary Sobor in Saskatoon. With a presentation, choir performance, commitment to the youth program, and meeting all UOCC Ukrainian Orthodox Youth in Saskatoon. Our selected members are thrilled to be participating and are looking forward to this celebratory event.

We as CYMKivtsi consider our organization a loving and tight-knit family, however, without these Conventions, it is challenging to keep the strong bonds and friendships our members make throughout the years. The Convention teaches our Youth the importance of religiosity and value of our organization. Seeing all the assemblies come together to share their thoughts and ideas teaches our youth the value of following our beautiful and strong religious faith, and reinforces their importance during activities and educational sessions. Stated by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his message to the CYMK-UOY organization, “This event brings together young Canadians, parish youth workers, council presidents and priests, and CYMK-UOY advisors to explore ways in which youth programs can be improved… You can take pride in knowing that your valuable efforts are helping young Canadians reach their full potential.”

 

We are grateful that we are provided with generous contributions and endowments by SUS Foundation of Canada, USRL Components, and other organizations and leaders. “Let us consider how we may help one another toward love and good deeds, encouraging one another” Hebrews chapter 10, verses: 24-25. Because of your support, we can commit to sending our Youth to these influential Conventions to meet and reconcile with their fellow CYMKivtsi, engage in spiritual events, and learn more about our Ukrainian Orthodox Faith. The knowledge learned at these conventions, and the awareness of the significance of the UOCC celebrated at this year Centenary Sobor, will be continually used during fellowship and shared around our communities.

CYMK-UOY GOALS

 

During 2016, Christina Kowalenko was hired as the National Youth Organizer by the SUS Foundation of Canada and later she was joined by Yuri Haldio as an assistant. Being the Eastern Canada National Representative the last two years, and working with Christina and Yuri personally, made me realize how important their ambitious companionship was and how strongly their assistance dominated our practicing Executive, with maintaining conventions, fund raising, event planning, and media coordinating. There is an immense amount of aid these two charismatic leaders have provided us. Finding and naming a new Youth Coordinator would benefit our current CYMK-UOY Executive. This would enhance the opportunities of an increased dedicated focus to contribute on increasing our youth membership and activities.

 

Another great goal for CYMK-UOY is to encourage more youth involvement in the UOCC; To develop a strategy for increasing youth involvement in the UOCC; To create an action plan for more youth participation in the UOCC; To design an outreach strategy for UOCC youth leadership training, development, and involvement in our church.

 

 

CYMK-UOY looks forward to working with you all during the next term, and we thank you again for being continuously supportive sponsors of CYMK-UOY. We hope you can assist with future projects, continue increasing our Ukrainian Orthodox Youth (CYMK-UOY) membership, and be the passionate, strong, and dedicated Ukrainian Canadians our next generation needs!  

СУМК! СУМК! СУМКівці!

Ми є чесні молодці!

Будем щиро працювати,

Добре діло продовжати, СУМК!

On behalf of the Ukrainian Orthodox Youth in Canada, CYMK-UOY would like to wish the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada all the best on their Centenary and on their Golden Jubilee, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the UOCC. It is because of the faithful, loyal and hard-working Ukrainian Canadians that have kept our Orthodox Church strong in carrying out our culture and religiosity so successfully and actively. We hope all these members will celebrate this commemoration, at the Saskatoon Sobor with the wonderful itinerary that has been lovingly put together. We can create memories together, celebrating the extraordinary past 100 years, and envision the rewarding future ahead. The future is young and we are excited for where it will lead.

Happy Anniversary UOCC and ALL THE BEST!

Respectfully Submitted,

 

National CYMK President,

Tanya Buciora

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