Discover little-known venues in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv

KYIV – Given the Ukrainian capital’s prolifically storied history, there is no shortage of buildings that have a story to tell or areas with historic significance. The best part is, access to them is free. All that is needed is pocket change for public transportation rides that cost less than 50 cents and good footwear for walking. LYSA HORA (BALD HILL)

For example, an entire day can be spent exploring the legendary spooky woods of Lysa Hora, or Bald Hill. Practitioners of the occult and pagan rituals favor this urban forested area of 137 hectares situated about 500 meters from the Vydubychi subway station.

Plan to have a wonderful time at Soyuzivka Heritage Center

KERHONKSON, N.Y. – The 2017 summer season at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center is almost here. Summer will kick off with campers coming to enjoy the variety of our ever-popular camps: Tennis camp (celebrating 51 years), Plast’s “Tabir Ptashat” day camp for 4- to 6-year olds, two sessions of Ukrainian Heritage Day Camp, Discover Your Heritage camp, Chornomorska Sitch Sports School, and the Roma Pryma Bohachevsky Ukrainian Dance Workshop and Dance Camps. Each year over 600 children attend our summer camps. We look forward to seeing everyone again this year! This year Soyuzivka has added an online registration option to make it easier to register your child for camp: 

Throughout the summer in the Soyuzivka dining room, there will be several specialty nights each week.

Kick off the season at Soyuzivka’s Tennis Camp

KERHONKSON, N.Y. – The time is now to start planning and registering for Tennis Camp at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center this summer. The camp – where participants can learn the sport of tennis from knowledgeable and dedicated teachers while also having lots of fun – has a long history, going back 50 years. The Tennis Camp, nestled at rustic Soyuzivka in the beautiful mountains of upstate New York state, begins on Sunday, June 25, and ends on July 6. The overnight campers stay at Camp Lviv; day campers, who stay with their parents at Soyuzivka or nearby, are also accepted. The campers come from many different parts of the United States, as well as Canada and also Ukraine in recent years.  They come from not knowing each other to becoming friends and experiencing “the magic of Soyuzivka,” a special place for Ukrainians.

Enroll in the Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute’s 47th session

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For upper-level or graduate university students of Ukrainian heritage, students from Ukraine, or professional, government and military specialists who need to hone their skills, the Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute (HUSI) will hold its 47th annual session at Harvard University’s main campus on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass. This year’s program will run for seven weeks, beginning on June 17 and running through August 5, and will offer three courses. The program offered by HUSI is the first of its kind in the world and is recognized for its many contributions to Ukrainian studies. It is run jointly by the Harvard Summer School and the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI).

Study abroad – in Lviv – with the University of Alberta

EDMONTON, Alberta – Leading specialists in the fields of second language acquisition and language pedagogy affirm that study abroad programs are the most effective way of learning a language. Such programs are designed to enrich learners’ educational experience through immersion into the target language and culture. The most important and engaging aspect of study abroad courses is that learning takes place not just in the classroom, but outside as well. The environment itself becomes a “living textbook.”

Such courses are part of the language programs at the University of Alberta, too. Specifically, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies (MLCS) offers a number of language and culture courses in Italy, France, Russia and Ukraine.

Enjoy magical moments with music at the Grazhda

JEWETT, N.Y. – Don’t let the false prophets persuade you that classical music is dead or dying in America.  Although its central position, which it held in American culture in the mid-twentieth century, was gradually taken over by pop and rock music, classical music is very much alive, vibrant and spirited. Case in point: the Music and Art Center of Greene County (MACGC), a small, summer festival of classical music in the beautiful Catskill mountains, is entering its 34th year of existence. Its internationally renowned musicians and the audiences are passionate about performing and listening to live music. On July 8, a fund-raising concert will take place at the Grazhda Concert Hall.  It will feature the operatic soprano Vira Slywotzky, cellist Natalia Khoma and the artistic director of MACGC pianist Volodymyr Vynnytsky.  They will perform works by Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Strauss, Puccini and Sonevytsky. On July 22, the Grazhda will resonate with the sounds of Spanish music by Paganini, Fauré, Barrios, Albeñiz and Piazzolla played and sung by a group of chamber musicians – Viriginia Luque, classical guitar; Filip Pagody, violin; Natalia Khoma, cello; and Marta Bagratuni, cello and vocals.

Bring your bandura to Kobzarska Sich

EMLENTON, Pa. – Aspiring bandura players and long-time bandura enthusiasts will converge this August 5-19 at All Saints Camp in Emlenton, Pa. Since 1979, over 1,000 bandurists have made Kobzarska Sich (KS) a temporary home in their musical journey. KS is organized by the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America. This year, participants will have an opportunity to learn from Oleh Sozansky and Taras Lazurkevych of Lviv, both Merited Artists of Ukraine and well-known for their “Bandurna Rozmova” duet.

Build a treasure chest of lifetime memories at Plast’s camps

EAST CHATHAM N.Y. – Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization is dedicated to developing character, citizenship and leadership based on time-tested scouting principles of love of God and country, and assistance to fellow citizens. This scouting organization’s summer programs are key to its educational approach. Summer is quickly approaching, and children of Ukrainian descent are making plans for their summer vacation. Plast scouts have many choices. There are regular three-week camps with a variety of offerings, including sports, pioneering, hiking and other activities culminating in merit badges, as well as counselor-training and special-interest camps.

TRAVEL: A grand Asian adventure

Have you ever dreamt of going on an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime adventure?  The kind of trip that concludes with stories and memories you’ll treasure forever?  I have always wanted to travel to China and other Asian counties.  So, when Zenia’s Travel Club LLC advertised her in-depth experience to Asia and China, I was on board.  After all, how many times will most of us brave 20-hour one-way flights? Because the trip consisted of 26 days of travel, I thought it might be a small group, but remarkably, 30 curious wayfarers signed on for Zenia’s “Grand Asian Adventure.”

Undaunted, on October 22, 2016, a congenial group of Ukrainian Americans boarded an All Nippon Airlines flight from JFK to Singapore via Tokyo on our very first leg of an enriching journey. In Tokyo, although I didn’t expect to see kimono-clad geisha’s strolling down the Ginza, I wasn’t prepared for the astonishingly contemporary city with its mix of traditional temples and ultramodern neon skyscrapers. For example, the aforementioned Ginza, an international shopping mecca, stands near the serene grounds of the Imperial Palace. Aside from the cosmopolitan vibe of the city, what stayed with me was the striking cleanliness.

Take advantage of UAYA’s invaluable growth experiences for youths

NEW YORK – The Ukrainian American Youth Association (UAYA, or “CYM” in Ukrainian) is part of a global network of Ukrainian youth organizations that strives to provide opportunities for Ukrainian youth of all ages to affiliate, grow and identify as members of one large Ukrainian community. Thus, an important aspect of UAYA’s mission involves the planning and organization of youth camps at various sites around the country. The organization offers a variety of camp experiences for children age 2-17 at four different CYM sites (oseli) across the United States: Oselia CYM in Ellenville, N.Y., Oselia Beskyd in Baraboo, Wis., Oselia Kholodnyj Yar in Fillmore, N.Y., and Oselia Khortytsia near Cleveland. The Huseniata half-day camp for children age 2-3 introduces children to the Ukrainian camp experience and provides early learners a developmentally appropriate Ukrainian discovery experience within a supportive and playful environment. This camp is offered at Oselia CYM in Ellenville and runs in two consecutive week-long sessions.

Prepare for the 2Rika invasion and a spectacular summer at “Oselia CYM”

ELLENVILLE, N.Y. – Another summer approaches as the membership of the Ukrainian American Youth Association prepares for a stellar summer of festivals, concerts, camping, outdoor recreation and outdoor dances in Ellenville, N.Y., at what is popularly known as “Oselia CYM.”

George Mykytyn, president of the Ukrainian American Youth Association’s national board, states: “We are very enthusiastic this year about the changes and new initiatives being launched by a new Oselia board under the newly appointed leadership of Teodor Bodnar, long-time member. Volunteers under the expert supervision of Mr. Bodnar are starting with a renovation of the Café as a developed space focusing on family use by our parents and their children. New initiatives also include upgrades to the electrical systems and a large new TV in the renovated Café that will broadcast programming and events from Ukraine.”

The festival season kicks-off with the annual Lemko Vatra produced by the Organization for the Defense of Lemkiv-shchyna. This colorful festival scheduled for the weekend of June 24-25 is unique in its style and entertainment focusing on the deep cultural traditions and heritage of Lemkivshchyna and the Carpathian regions of Ukraine. A focal point of this summer’s events is the seventh annual Nadiya Ye!

Attend the Lemko Vatra Festival at “Oselia CYM”

ELLENVILLE, N.Y. – The Organization for the Defense of Lemkivshchyna (known by the Ukrainian-based acronym as OOL) invites all to the Lemko Vatra festival, which will take place on June 24-25 at the Ukrainian America Youth Association’s grounds (popularly known as “Oselia CYM”) in Ellenville, N.Y.

This festival brings together individuals who wish to celebrate the unique cultural aspects of the Lemko region. This year, the Lemko Vatra will commemorate the 70th anniversary of Akcja Wisła, the forced relocation of Ukrainians within Poland in 1947. Festival events will include two days of performances by musicians, singers and dancers from the United States, Canada and Europe. It will also feature a History & Heritage Tent complete with informational books, maps and on-site genealogy experts. On Saturday, a Vatra Cup soccer tournament will be organized during the day on the Oselia CYM sports field.

Make Tryzubivka part of your Ukrainian summer

HORSHAM, Pa. – Tryzubivka’s festival grounds, sports pub, banquet hall and 40 beautiful acres of parks, streams, picnic groves, sports fields and other recreational facilities beckon to be a part of your Ukrainian summer. The most popular community event – over 3,000 now attend – at the Tryzub Ukrainian American Sport Center is the Ukrainian Independence Day Festival, outdoor summer concert and “zabava” (dance) scheduled for Sunday, August 27, commencing at noon, in Tryzubivka’s luscious fully shaded festival glade. To celebrate the 26th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, the artists – dance troupes, musicians, singers and ensembles that have performed in previous years – have again created a fresh dynamic and integrated collaborative program. (See ad on page S9 for details.) Two new featured artists will join the Tryzub family of performing artists: Honored Artist of Ukraine Iryna Lonchyna, a singer-songwriter; and a full contingent of the Crimean Tatar ensemble Efsane (Crimean Legend).

Sign up for the Ukrainian Folk Dance Workshop in Lehighton

LEHIGHTON, Pa. – The 28th annual Ukrainian Folk Dance Workshop sponsored by the Ukrainian American Heritage Foundation (UAHF) of the Lower Anthracite Region will be held at the Ukrainian Homestead, located at 1230 Beaver Run Drive in Lehighton, PA from Monday, June 26, through Friday, June 30. The camp runs daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes dance instruction, folk singing, sports, crafts and swimming.  Beginner instruction is offered to children age 5 and up, and advanced workshop instruction is available for experienced dancers ages 11 through adult.

The workshop is under the artistic direction of Pennsylvania Master Artist Andrij Dobriansky.  Roman Mykyta of the Maryland Ballet will serve as assistant instructor. The camp will conclude with a performance on Saturday, July 1, at 7 p.m.  The performance is open to the public free of charge.  For more information on the camp, contact Paula Holoviak at 570-708-1992 or Sandra Duda at 610-377-7750, or email  Forms and information are also available on-line at The camp is supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, through its regional arts funding partnership, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA).  State government funding for the arts depends upon an annual appropriation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.  PPA is administered in this region by the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.

Visit the Ukrainian Homestead in the Pocono Mountains

LEHIGHTON, Pa. – A summer visit to the Ukrainian Homestead in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania encompasses natural beauty, outdoor recreation for the whole family, shopping and gourmet dining, all with a Ukrainian touch. The Homestead has been owned and operated by the Central Executive Committee of the Organization for the Rebirth of Ukraine (known by the Ukrainian-based acronym ODWU) since 1958. Located at 1230 Beaver Run Drive in Lehighton, Pa., the Ukrainian Homestead is ready to welcome overnight visitors and day trippers.  The kitchen will be open on the weekends, featuring sumptuous Ukrainian delicacies, and the pool and picnic grounds will be open in late June.  Casual and fine dining, hiking and biking tours, boutique shopping and train excursions are just five minutes away in the picturesque historic town of Jim Thorpe. The summer season kicks off with a picnic on Sunday, May 28.  The Ukrainian American Heritage Foundation dance camp runs June 26 through June 30.  A finale dance performance is offered on Saturday, July 1, at 7 p.m., followed by a “zabava” to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend.