Plast scouts in Philadelphia join hands as they end their year of activities.

Philadelphia Plast celebrates a fun-filled year

PHILADELPHIA – Over this past academic year, Plast Philadelphia was a very active, vibrant community reflecting the Ukrainian scouting organization’s mission of being faithful to God and Ukraine, helping others and living by the Plast code. The year began with the unveiling of our new “domivka,” the room that is the central meeting place for all Philadelphia scouts. One of the older boy scout troops (the Wild Goats) led the volunteer project with the help of their advisors, Oleh Luba and Marc Chuma, to remodel the room into an area that could be used for both meetings and as a community space. Replacing old, stained ceiling tiles was only the beginning. From repainting the room with fresher colors to replacing worn and discolored carpeting with modern hardwood flooring, the room was transformed.

Plast scouts stand guard at the “Plashchanytsia” (Holy Shroud) at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Church in Mount Kisco, N.Y. From left are: Larissa Pawliczko, Mykola Pawliczko and Mark Myskiw.

Plast Yonkers participates in Good Friday and Holy Saturday services at two parishes

YONKERS, N.Y. – Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization of Yonkers, N.Y., participated in the Good Friday evening service on Friday, April 14, at the Holy Protection of the Mother of God Parish in Mount Kisco, N.Y., headed by the Rev. Taras Chaparin. The traditional service was followed by a procession of children carrying the Holy Cross and the Holy Shroud, or “Plashchenytsia.” They circled around the church three times with Father Taras before laying the Plashchenytsia down at the altar. Children then stood on each side of the Plashchenytsia as parishioners went up to pay their respects to the Lord. Members of the Yonkers branch of the Ukrainian American Youth Association and young parishioners also participated in the procession. On Holy Saturday, April 15, members of Plast Yonkers, as well as UAYA Yonkers, also participated at St.

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Wilmington celebrates its communicants

WILMINGTON, Del. – On Sunday, June 4, five children received their First Penance and Holy Eucharist during services at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del. The children had studied under Mary Kennedy to prepare for their first confession. Seen above are: the Rev. Volodymr Klanichka (pastor), Ms. Kennedy and the first communicants (from left): Elena Ivanna Bilyk, Sophia Andrea Bilyk, Sophia Mary Dingler, Zoryana Kaitlyn Hellenga and Phillip Serhiy Kuzhanov.

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Hillside children honor Mother of God

HILLSIDE, N.J. – On Sunday, May 7, the children of Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Hillside, N.J., honored the Blessed Mother by processing with flowers, singing a hymn to Mary Immaculate and crowning Mary, the Theotokos. The children also concluded their religious education classes for the season; they resume the classes on Sunday, September 10. Seen above are children who participated in the procession.

In Washington (from left) are: Juliana Babycheva, Anna-Liza Medynska, Adrian Kebuz, Liudmyla Mazuka (the Ukrainian ambassador’s wife), Ambassador Valeriy Chaly, Diana Savchyn, Anastasiya Stolyarchuk and Natalie Hrytsay. The students are in the seventh through ninth grades of the Ukrainian Heritage School of Philadelphia.

Youth Civics and Public Policy Club at Ukrainian Days in Washington

JENKINTOWN, Pa. – On March 8, six members of the American-Ukrainian Youth Civics and Public Policy Club, a program of the Ukrainian Heritage School of the Philadelphia area, traveled to Washington to participate in Ukrainian Days, an advocacy event organized by the Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS) of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA). Our group included Julia Babycheva,  Anna-Liza Medynska, Adrian Kebuz, Diana Savchyn, Natalie Hrytsay and this writer, Anastasiya Stolyarchuk. Our first taste of the life of politics in Washington was a briefing session about the purpose and strategy of Ukrainian Days. Presentations by two prominent foreign affairs specialists, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John E. Herbst (currently the director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center of the Atlantic Council) and Ambassador William Courtney (currently adjunct senior fellow of the RAND Corporation), laid a factual and foreign policy-oriented foundation for UNIS Director Michael Sawkiw’s review of pertinent bills that the Ukrainian American community is striving to pass through Congress.

Ruslana Orysia Makar, dressed as St. Princess Olha, stands before her informative poster about the ruler of Kyivan Rus’.

I was St. Princess Olha of Kyiv

HARTSDALE, N.Y. – I am a fifth grade student at Sacred Heart School in Hartsdale, N.Y., in Westchester. My teacher recently gave my class an assignment to choose any historic hero that changed the world. She wanted to make this a “wax museum” effect. Since I wanted to share my Ukrainian heritage, I decided to select the first and only Ukrainian female ruler of Ukraine – St. Princess Olha.

Campers summit Seneca Rocks holding a Ukrainian flag.

A first: Plast Rock Climbing Camp in 2016

When Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization’s regular three-week summer camps end, it is often the case that Plast scouts head to camps with specialized themes. This year in addition to Morskyi Tabir (Sea Scouting Camp), which took place at Kellys Island, Ohio, on Lake Erie, there was a first-of-its-kind Rock Climbing Camp at Seneca Rocks, W. Va. Campers hailing from California to New York City, and points in between, descended on West Virginia’s Rock Climbing mecca – Seneca Rocks. Most of the campers knew each other, having camped together at various Plast campgrounds over the past few years. Rock Climbing Tabir 2016 was the brainchild of Dartsia and Marko Jakubowycz, who have climbed extensively in the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area.

Matej Handzy is flanked by the U.S. national director of maritime and aviation scouting, Markian Kuzmowycz (left), and his father, Damian Handzy.

Passaic Plast member earns rank of maritime eagle scout

PASSAIC, N.J. – Before the summer begins, branches of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization look back at the accomplishments that they made over the past year. Plast Troop 31, based in Passaic, N.J., was lucky to have one of its members, Matej Handzy, lead by example this year when he received one of the highest specialized ranks in Plast: maritime eagle scout. At his first Morskyi Tabir (Plast Sea Scouting Camp) in 2013, Matej did not quite know what to expect when he began working on the first of the 39 tasks and projects that are required in order to receive this rank. The required tasks varied from simple ones, such as learning various sailing knots and the history of sea scouting, to more difficult projects, like building a mast and a fully functioning dock. After three summers of hard work, Matej became the 27th recorded recipient in the world of the Plast rank of maritime eagle scout.

Members of the Barvinok Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and students of the School of Ukrainian Studies, both based in South Bound Brook, N.J., pose for a photo during the “vechirka.”

Youths enjoy “vechirka” at Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey

WHIPPANY, N.J. – On April 16, here at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey, a “vechirka” (dance) was held for the youth of the metropolitan area. The vechirka was planned by the Plast girl scouts of the Newark, N.J., branch, with the sponsorship of the Plast sorority Ti, Shcho Hrebli Rvut. It was the second annual teen dance sponsored by the sorority. About 50 young people from various organizations, including Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization, the Ukrainian American Youth Association, the Iskra Ukrainian Dance Academy and the Barvinok Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, as well as the Schools of Ukrainian Studies in Whippany and South Bound Brook, N.J. attended the event. The entertainment was provided by DJ Mark Mulyk, assisted by Matt Yuen, who played great music that included the ever-popular Kolomiyka which brought everyone out onto the dance floor.