Over 300 participate in Canadian Plast's Zustrich-Jamboree 2000

by Oksana Zakydalsky

OTTAWA - Ending the two week Zustrich-Jamboree 2000, over 300 Canadian Plast members left the marvelous grounds of the Scout Camp Awacamenj Mino in Quebec on August 13 and headed home. Although in the last decades Plast Canada had participated in several international Plast gatherings, this was the first all-Canadian Zustrich-Jamboree since 1970 in Manitoba, which had marked that province's 100th birthday.

The site of this year's Zustrich is owned by the Ottawa District of the Association des Scouts du Canada, the Francophone Canadian scouting organization. The 50,000-member Scouts du Canada is the second Canadian member of the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (in addition to the Anglophone Scouts Canada), giving Canada the unique distinction of being the only country in the world scouting body with two official members.

The campers and leaders, who came from all cities in Canada with Plast branches, were divided by age into seven sub-camps. Their separate programs were made up of traditional scouting activities, such as campcraft and hiking, but also included a trip to Ottawa with a visit to the Parliament Buildings and the Museum of Civilization for all campers. The younger groups also enjoyed hikes to underground caves and a horse ranch, while for the older participants went on two- and three-day hiking trips, with canoeing on the Gatineau River.

The wet and occasionally stormy weather sometimes slowed things down, but did not dampen the campers' spirits. At the end, there was a two-day inter-troop challenge competition, organized by Andriy Monczak of Ottawa, which encompassed sports, group and individual activities, and was a highlight of the Zustrich-Jamboree program. First-place winners were the boys of Ottawa Troop 101 and the girls of Toronto Troop 10.

The 800-acre Awacamenj Mino is particularly suited to a Zustrich-Jamboree as it includes wooded areas, where the sub-camps were located, and open spaces, as well as challenges such as a rappelling wall and an obstacle course, both of which were popular with the campers. As the wooded areas are kept thinned out to make camping possible, the campers were allowed to cut down designated trees and were therefore able to try out their skills in building camp structures - something that is rarely allowed at campsites today.

The Zustrich-Jamboree program included a celebration of the Holy Year 2000. Both Bishop Cornelius J. Pasichny, eparch of Toronto and Eastern Canada, Ukrainian Catholic Church, and Bishop Yurij Kalishchuk of the Toronto and Eastern Eparchy, Ukrainian Orthodox Church, came to celebrate liturgies on August 6. They also visited the sub-camps and had lunch with the Zustrich leaders at tables built that week by the campers.

The final campfire saw the return of "Panteleimon Pupchik" (the infamous author of "Life in Plast and How to Avoid It") - his first public appearance since the Zustrich of 1987.

The organizing committee of the Zustrich-Jamboree 2000 was based at the Ottawa Plast branch, headed by Lydia Migus, with Radomir Bilash of Edmonton as the western representative. The organizers received much support from the Sheptytsky Institute of Ottawa, where several of the organizers work.

Before the Zustrich-Jamboree a website (http://www.ncf.ca/plastottawa) provided information and application forms, while during the event photos were made available online. At the end of the Zustrich-Jamboree all campers received an illustrated 12-page newsletter produced on the quick thanks to digital cameras and the desktop publishing talents of Roman Waschuk.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, September 3, 2000, No. 36, Vol. LXVIII

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