September Newsletter

CYMKivtsi's view and thoughts of the recent Sobor that celebrated the UOCC



          This past month, on August 9 – August 12, 2018, our CYMKivtsi from several provinces participated in the 100th Anniversary Celebratory Sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
          As the goal of CYMK-UOY is to promote the Orthodox faith, Ukrainian culture, leadership, and fostering a sense of belonging for our youth, our selected CYMKivtsi were very passionate about attending the centenary celebration for the church that they were raised in. CYMKivtsi from Saskatchewan and Toronto participated and collaborated with other Ukrainian Orthodox youth from Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Edmonton for a weekend of activities together.

          The youth that travelled far distances were really looking forward for this event, as they heard comments and had reviewed itinerary suggestions for months leading up to the Sobor that this would prove to be a very appealing function, to go out to the Saskatchewan prairies. They were not only excited to participate in the Sobor but also learn about their countries rich Indigenous culture. The program seemed to cover different aspects that were engaging for the CYMKivtsi and youth.
          There are two sides to every story. I am very hurt and feel that the good CYMK name has been tarnished in this derogatory way, by random e-mails I have been receiving from individuals I don’t even know on behalf of CYMK.

          Originally, National CYMK reached out to the planning committee of the youth program. Once this was established, National CYMK volunteered to provide funding/sponsoring an event(s) for the youth program, but apparently this initiative was dismissed.

          The youth program was scheduled, which appealed to many youth, and was distributed to all locals. This enticed more CYMK members to pay out of their own pockets to fund flights, accommodations, registration, and other expenses to attend Sobor in Saskatoon, because the program for the youth promised a hive of activity and adventures that will remain memorable to the youth, for this special 100th year Jubilee. The CYMK members also knew that they had to attend liturgies and religious ceremonies of the program. Besides this, they were promised exciting excursions.

          We must keep in mind that the attendents of the CYMKivtsi and youth were a cross-section of ages, ranging from 10-25. You cannot satisfy every single person by pressuring them to remain with their elders at church all weekend.

          Confusion ensued the minute we arrived. 9 youth members arrived from Toronto on Thursday afternoon (August 9th, 2018). Nobody from the youth organization, youth planning committee, or other executive members approached me or the youth. We were literally left to our own devices to find out how to get food and get taxis. I made numerous efforts, on the youth’s behalf, to find out when and where we had to be for the next few days. I feel that it was not my duty to reach out to the organizers, but they should have officially greeted and introduced themselves to us. The youth were provided a program, that only stated adult excursions. After all, most of us had arrived without parental guidance, and many younger ones for the first time ever. We did attend the USRL AGM and the Evening social. Here, we reached and met the other UOCC youth. However, we were not approached by many adults here either.

          Friday morning, after a 3-hour liturgy, we were told that the original program had completely changed. I was made aware that there might be some changes at the last minute, but the changes that were made at that time were quite substantial, which impacted the youth. Leading up to the Sobor, the program kept changing, to the point where other CYMK members from other locals decided not to attend because they did not appear optimistic as to the organization of the program. I made a suggestion, with it being the summer months, the youth would be more excited to venture outdoors for their program (such as the original program which listed Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Dream Catcher Craft, Tipi Raising and Cultural Awareness with the First Nations and Clergy, Apex Trampoline Park, Remai Modern Art Gallery Tour, Forestry Farm, Forestry Zoo, etc.). However, even though the committee asked about my opinions, had many phone calls with me, and e-mailed me several times, they ignored and dismissed all of my suggestions.

          After the mass, I was told by other youth that there was a youth program which entitled us to remain in the basement for several hours making candles, instead of the original program. All of the youth were opposed to this. As the CYMKivtsi who participated and traveled with their own time and expenses (over $1000) for a program, being told that their program had changed, and hearing that the adults were going on excursions collaborated and were all in agreement to use their own finances, and select one of the ideas from the promised old program, and go to the trampoline park. Transportation, food, and entrance were strictly funded by every youth individually.

          The CYMKivtsi did participate in as many liturgical services as they could. Naturally, there are sponsors who have subsidized some of the delegates to cover some expenses related to this Sobor event. We do very much appreciate those. However, a portion of the youth had covered this trip through their own personal funding. The only difference that we did not follow, regarding the program, was that we attended a Trampoline park, instead of making candles or participating in the water bottle project. The youth did cover their own transportation and flights, they covered their own hotels, they paid registration, and the trampoline park and extra food they needed, for instance during breakfast or Super in the evenings were paid by the CYMK Executives.

          As the Jubilee Committee member, during the planning phase of the Sobor youth program, I assumed this would provide me a platform to negotiate with other organizations, to make this a successful trip. I bargained on behalf of the CYMKivtsi because I am a youth and I know what appeal to youth to enjoy in a program that has been tailor-made to this kind of centenary. I, along with our passionate youth felt we did our best for the amount of support and assistance we received at the Sobor, but returning from the event and reading these e-mails made me open my eyes and reviewed and accepted these as constructive criticisms rather than a personal attack on myself. I returned with wonderful memories, however, the e-mails made me feel like my good character and presidential position has smeared my good name as the President of CYMK, which is not very encouraging for the youth, and is not in my opinion, a Christian way to go about supporting and educating our youth, who are the future of tomorrow and the next generation of the next 100 years of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. 

          As president, I have spent so much of my free time to be a great leader. I am a full time student at the University of Toronto. I do not work but choose to use my spare time entirely on CYMK issues of trying to grow our organization through voluntary work, and always moving forward with a positive optimism.

          Personally, I am content at how many CYMKivtsi were able to travel long distances for this event. The fact that we, as youth, were able to all get together in this beautiful setting of the picturesque Saskatoon prairie province, is memorable. We should support them. Together with this group, and everyone who participated, I felt very close to God and felt his presence as he was guiding us every step of the way to have enjoyed and celebrated the religious nature of the event as youth.

          As the youth program for the CYMK-UOY group at the Sobor celebration did not run as smoothly as it could have done, I will take the scenario and use it as a learning curve in order to get better results at the next religious function, initiative, or convention. Nevertheless, I would like to thank everybody who took their time and effort to participate, the organizations, and all the committees. There in fact were people there that we knew were approachable during our challenges as we feel we are all a very close Ukrainian Canadian Orthodox family

          A Liaison or chaperone for the group of CYMKivtsi and youth would have made situations at the Sobor a little less challenging, however, it was great to meet new youth of the Ukrainian Orthodox church of Canada, introduce several of them the CYMK, and the events that our youth did participate in, they did enjoy greatly.

          As a member of many committees, I know the amount of dedication and commitment that goes into planning an organization, running an event, and especially a large convention such as this one. I would like to thank those who did take time in making a youth program, those who spent time on fellowship for the guests, and those who hosted and emceed the event, also the wonderful performers. It was wonderful to see many of our Alumni CYMKivtsi singing in the Saskatoon choir. I am also very honored to be given the opportunity to greet the clergy and the guests at the banquet on CYMK-UOY’s behalf. It was a great platform to bring awareness of CYMK-UOY, which is a priority goal to get more members and support.

          To conclude, I have been sent several reports and comments by other Presidents whom were present at the Sobor Celebration in Saskatoon. The first is by Ola Pokolenczuk, our Toronto CYMK President, and the other is by Reece Smith, our Saskatchewan CYMK President. These will be presented below. I am very thankful and appreciative for their assistance during the Sobor and their efforts in organizing many of their local youth group members to participate. The best way to go about this, is to introduce youth to the church, the organizations around the church, and more significantly, to the youth working with them on this journey forwards. It is always important for our youth to collaborate and practice to be the strong Ukrainian Canadians our next generation needs.

          Please keep CYMK, our future Ukrainian Orthodox generation, in your prayers. We will need your continued blessings as the youth of today continues to grow for the good of tomorrow.

Gods Blessings,
Yours in CYMK/UOY
National CYMK President,
Tanya Buciora

Long Branch
The Saskatoon Sobor provided our youth and CYMKivtsi with the opportunity to celebrate, meet, and connect with youth from outside our usual provinces. The banquet on Saturday evening was exquisite, although a little long. The performers and speakers were engaging and wonderful to watch. Being able to see our National President, Tanya Buciora, be given a chance to speak on our behalf at the banquet was an experience we will all remember. It is amazing to know that the youth do have a place and are encouraged to participate in events like this.
            The Sobor weekend had the chance to have such great potential, but the CYMKivtsi were majorly disappointed with the actual turn-out. Initially, only three CYMKivtsi from Toronto were supposed to fly out to spend their weekend in Saskatoon, but after we had received the first copy of the youth program, many more of our youth were excited and made the trip out to participate in it. We all flew to saskatoon, many without the financial support from CYMK or any of the other organizations, in hopes of a fun, engaging and exciting youth program involving museum trips, a trampoline park, learning about Aboriginal culture etc. When we landed on Thursday morning, the inorganization of the event was already becoming clear. There was no one there to welcome us but we were told via Tanya Buciora that we were all to sit in at the meeting the older organizations were having. We were not given any transportation and we had to fund our own taxi’s to get to the meeting. We sat through the meetings and attended the social afterwards only to get back to the hotel and have to find our own place to eat dinner.
            When we woke up Friday morning we weren’t given a chance to eat because there were only two shuttles available to take us to the church service. While there, we found out that the service was to be over three hours in length. We had children with us who were hungry and could not stand through a service that long. Our older CYMKivtsi decided to leave the service a little early so that we could go bring back some breakfast using our own transportation. When we got back we finally found out that our previous youth program had been changed completely. After spending over $1000 each for plane tickets to fly to Saskatoon, we were informed that we, the youth, were expected to spend both days under the church working on crafts and plays while the adults were to go on excursions. To say we were disappointed would be a major understatement.
            We had decided that after the service was finally over, the CYMKivtsi and whichever youth were allowed/wanted to join us, would go to the trampoline park and spend some time there. It had been a very long morning and the plan for the rest of the day was nothing short of unexciting. We had come to Saskatoon excited for the program planned for us, so when we found out that program had been changed without letting us know or even asking for any of our opinions, we took it upon ourselves to do at least one of the things on the first version of the program. While we did not participate in the candle-making, instead going to the trampoline park, we were more than happy to join in handing out water bottles to the less fortunate on the street. This event was not in the program and was something that was not mandatory but we agreed to participate. On our way back from the trampoline park there was a major accident on the highway meaning we were stuck in traffic for a half hour longer than initially expected. When we had finally returned, those who went to hand out the water bottles were already on their way back. We were disappointed to find out that we had missed the opportunity but even though we weren’t there, our lack of presence went unnoticed. No one had come up to us wondering where we were and no one had paid much attention to us the rest of the day either.
            The CYMKivtsi felt unneeded throughout the event. The only recognition we had received throughout the event was at the banquet on Saturday. But even then, we had come to the dinner only to find that there had been no table reserved for any of the youth. If the choir had not been so generous as to let us sit with them, the youth would have been forced to sit spread out throughout the entire hall. Our participation or lack thereof in any events went fairly unnoticed until after the Sobor where emails had been sent from attendees finally making their opinions on our actions known. We were spoken of in a negative light and Tanya Buciora was getting the worst of it. This on top of how we had been treated throughout the Sobor severely disappointed and hurt all of us.
            The issue that there seems to be no bridge between the youth and the older organizations is something that is brought up at every meeting and convention. Our older organizations and the parishes don’t seem to understand that the only way this bridge will ever come to be is if the youth start to be included and treated as a branch of their organizations rather than a whole separate group. We as youth, the CYMKivtsi, would love to be more involved with our older organizations, and we try our best to make our events more inclusive rather than splitting everyone into distinct groups. There is no connection between us. We cannot be expected to happily move onto other branching organizations once we have gotten too old to be a part of CYMK when while we are here, we are ignored. There is never a sense of priority given to the youth when we are invited to these kinds of events. We feel as though we are more of a nuisance, something our older organizations are forced to squeeze into their programs.
            If there will ever be a chance for all of our organizations to become closer and the transition between being a part of CYMK to move forward to any of the other organizations, there has to be a change in the way things are run. We cannot continue on these separate and exclusive paths. We as youth are always grateful for the opportunities we receive and the encouragement we have to participate in events like these. We want to be a part of these great Ukrainian organizations and we want to be given the chance to speak out and help make some kind of change for the better. But for anyone to be able to accomplish that, we have to start to get to know the people behind the names we have been emailing or reading about. If our only real connection is the ones we have behind our screens and telephone calls, then how can we expect anything to ever change for the better.
          First and foremost, the greatest challenge, in my opinion, was the lack of communication that left us (the youth) confused and not knowing what to do or where to be. The first youth program created featured so many fun and interesting activities for us, but then the entire program was scrapped and replaced by something much less attractive. Furthermore, I wasn’t even aware of this change of program until Friday morning when I had arrived at the church and the Sobor was already underway. Maybe that was primarily my fault for not looking hard enough, but the night before I had been searching the CYMK and TYC websites looking for an updated agenda. When I arrived expecting a day of field trips and found out we would instead have the option of making candles, sitting in on the symposium or touring old churches I was very disappointed. That being said, we were able to transform the otherwise uninteresting day into something a little more exciting by taking matters into our own hands and doing our own thing (courtesy of my family’s vehicles). The Saturday, however, was much better activity wise, although it is worth mentioning still a little confusing and opaque. This could simply be our fault once again, but it was unclear even which church was hosting the luncheon. The bus tours were a good way to socialize with the other youth, but really nothing more in the sense that there isn't much to see around Saskatoon anyways. However, the boat cruise was more enjoyable. Finally, there were good intentions around the banquet and its program (calling the speakers to give shorter greetings and updates rather than lengthy presentations, and mixing in acts of entertainment), which were certainly appreciated, but my only criticism would be that it was still too long. I understand, however, that with an event with such magnitude requires many speakers, and that something shorter is near impossible. My overall impression of the Saskatoon Sobor, despite a total change in the schedule, and at times being unsure of what we were supposed to do, is that this celebration accomplished its goal to bring together youth and make new friends. Isn't that what CYMK is all about? 
What the locals have been doing!
Winnipeg Senior CYMK had a nice, relaxing summer and as a group, we are now ready to start the year of activities off with a bang!
  • In August we went and volunteered as a group at Winnipeg Harvest, a local food bank serving our city’s population. We had a great time touring the building, learning about all of the offered services that Winnipeg Harvest provides, and ended the afternoon off with sorting bread and baked goods for those in need. It was a great experience of giving back to our community.
  • Coming up on September 22nd, we will be running a Perogy Fundraiser as our project to help raise funds for UCU Helps Ukraine, formerly known as Unbroken Blossoms Campaign. We are coming together with our Junior CYMK youth, and other members of our parishes to make almost 300 dozen varenyky! We believe this is a great way for us to connect with our fellow youth and the parishioners who live in the Villa attached to our church, while supporting a worthy cause.
Happy September!
-Marissa Antoniuk, President
          The Alberta CYMKivtsi are looking forward to our upcoming Annual AUSRL Convention, this October 2018. To extend this event, our Alberta Provincial CYMK is sponsoring a fun activity for the CYMK and other Ukrainian Orthodox Youth, out at the Edmonton Corn Maze on Friday October 12th in the evening. The Convention will be taking place at St. John’s Cathedral in Edmonton, AB, on Saturday October 13th. The program will start off with a moleben, followed by the annual meetings for each organization. In the afternoon, the CYMKivtsi and youth will be taking part in a service activity, while the parents and advisors are encouraged to attend the Archive Workshop along with the other Convention attendees. This year, we are excited to have our National CYMK President, Tanya Buciora, here in Edmonton to represent National CYMK, and meet with the Alberta locals during this event. There are 4 CYMK Pillars: Faith, Culture, Leadership, and Fellowship, and we aim to share these with the youth throughout our Convention weekend and upcoming events!
          For more information about this Convention or to register, please contact us through our Alberta CYMK email address at! We hope to see you there!

Alberta CYMK Executive -  Larysa Kuchta as President, Marco Kruhlak as Vice-President, Roxoliana Tsisar as Treasurer, and Rachel Zukiwsky as Secretary and Communications.

Ми є чесні молодці!
Будем щиро працювати, Добре діло продовжати,
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