Year In Review
Wow! What a thrill to reflect upon another successful session of Camp Bar-V-Nok, the annual Ukrainian Orthodox Church Camp held out at Pigeon Lake, Alberta. This year's session, which ran from June 28 - July 11, marked a change in leadership and welcomed camp alumni Dobr. Erin Haugen as Director and Fr. Peter Haugen as full-time camp Chaplain. Despite the inevitable bumps that come with changing hands, camp was a huge success complete with a total of just over 70 campers ages 7-14 for two weeks filled with Ukrainian culture, language, religion, sports, crafts, bandura and more.
The campers and counselors awoke to the ringing buzzer every morning and started the day with a vigorous exercise session. During the day, campers were grouped by age and attended various sessions. Sessions included crafts, singing, religion, waterfront, Ukrainian dancing, and bandura. This year, our camp was very fortunate to have Fr. Peter Haugen out for the entire two week period during which he taught religion, led prayers before and after all meals, led daily morning and evening prayers, as well as served the Divine Liturgy on both Sunday and the final Saturday.
In the evening, campers were placed into house leagues (the teams, who each chose their own name, were Team for Ісус, Козак Domination, Козаки Вуси, Бжілки, and Дисепикнони of Destruction), where they participated in events such as Disney skit night, house league cheers, water regatta, Olympics, hockey and soccer tournaments, stomp, sand castles and the ever popular Turks and Cossacks. In these events, the house leagues had friendly competition in collecting points for their team.
Many special events were held throughout camp. We were fortunate that His Grace Bishop Illarion paid a visit with Rev. Fr. Mykola Sawchenko on July 7th during which time they served a Moleben and stayed for lunch and a visit. His Eminence also brought a special gift: an Icon for each child. Other events included a talent show to showcase campers' talents and interests, a carnival night complete with games and prizes, the annual hike to Mulhurst Bay and of course any Ukrainian camp would not be complete without a good zabava, (actually two!), which saw the campers and counselors dancing up a storm!
The Camp Bar-v-nok kitchen was one again under the leadership of Cook Dennis Donohue whose meals were, as usual loved by everyone. We also thank our many parent volunteers who made time to come out and help in the kitchen. This year marked the first time in Bar-V-Nok history where for the first 4 days we had all Men volunteers! Special thanks to our additional 'special guest' instructors including Roseanne Chernezky who taught bandura, and Betty Corlett who made pickles and dough-art with the kids. Their time, skills and dedication is greatly appreciated.
Our counselor team worked very well with the campers providing strong leadership while acting as positive role models. They also took turns leading the sessions. The counselors for this year included Katrusia Pohoreski, Katie Serediak, Tanya Pacholok, Katie Samycia, Tania Mukanik, Kasia Zubkow, Emily Dacko, Adriana Horobec, Noah Nahachewsky, Stefan Kruhlak, Daniel Serediak and Tony Naciuk. Jessica Derewianka returned this year as our life guard and provided an extra counselor wherever needed.
The session ended with the signing of autograph books, camp slideshow, and the traditional lighting of the cross on Friday night. On Saturday July 11, before everyone said their farewells, family and friends were entertained by a concert of bandura, singing and dancing performed by the campers.
Camp Bar-V-Nok 2009 was indeed an enjoyable and educational experience for all who attended full of happy memories and good times. Friendships were formed that will continue for many years to come. Speaking for myself, it was a challenge and an honor to step up as Director after my many years as camper and counselor, and the memories I take with me I will treasure always. What a wonderful place, this heaven called Bar-V-Nok.
- Written by Dobr. Erin Haugen