This year’s NSW stanytsia’s summer camp, “Hoverla”, was based at the Alpine Activity Centre in picturesque Jindabyne, gateway to the Kosciuszko National Park and Australia’s alpine ski resorts. The town’s location, on the shores of Lake Jindabyne, provides excellent opportunities for fishing, canoeing, boating, as well as hiking and abseiling in the adjacent bushland. The motto of the camp “the mountains are calling – I must go” was echoed in the activities presented to the camp’s fortunate participants.

Around 70 people took part in the camp, with plastuny from Brisbane, Canberra and Perth joining their Sydney based colleagues to enjoy the excellent facilities offered at the Alpine centre. Owned and operated by NSW scouts, the centre includes two spacious dormitories with amenities blocks, a large modern commercial kitchen, and a dining hall that accommodates 100 with lovely views of Lake Jindabyne in the distance.

The camp leadership consisted of:

Komendant: pl.sen. Handzia Shuhevych

Pysar: pl.sen.Halia Lawriwska

Sergeant at arms: pl.sen.Jarema Iwanec

Instructors: pl.sen.Mikkal Sveum, Fernando Charnis, Ben Low

Main chef: pl.sen. Viktor Zubenko

Intendant: pl.sen.Danylo Harasymiw

Komendant UPYu: pl.sen.Orysia Spinner

Bulava Members: pl.sen.Elena Booth, pl.sen.Hryts Huzij

Komendant UPN: Oleksyn

Bulava members: pl.sen.Tomas Miljenovic, Danny Kasanczuk, 

Komendant Ptashata: pl.sen. Myrosia Iwasyk

Bulava member: pl.sen.Anastasia Iwanec

Komendant Tativky: pl.sen.Tanya Karlijchuk

First Aid: Yuliia Pashkevska

The camp location was chosen so that novatsvo and yunatstvo could fully engage with nature within the surroundings of one of Australia’s most picturesque national parks. The programme included a 3-day hike to the peak of Mt. Kosciuszko by yunatstvo. This was particularly relevant to the camp’s overall theme – Mt Hoverla in Ukraine being the highest peak. At 2,061 m it is slightly lower than Australia’s Kosciuszko, which stands at 2,228 m. 

On Saturday 30th December the majority of the camp’s participants, covering all ages, travelled via chairlift from Thredbo to Charlotte Pass to hike to the peak of Mt Kosciusko where a group photo was taken with the Ukrainian flag and bratchyk Tomas’s “trembita”. Everyone then returned to camp, with yunatstvo remaining on the mountain to continue their adventure.

Prior to leaving camp yunatstvo had enthusiastically coordinated their own meal preparations for the hike and were instructed on how to efficiently pack their rucksacks with all the required equipment. Now it was time to put theory into practice as for many of them, this was their first extended overnight hike and as a result, quite challenging.  An absolute highlight of the hike was coming across some residual snow on the mountain and the fun and snowball fights that ensued. Several yunaky have joined us from Ukraine, so for them it was particularly poignant to be reunited with snow again. The experience reminded some of them of being in the Karpaty – especially the crisp, cool air.

Yunatstvo celebrated New Year’s Eve on the mountain while novatstvo enjoyed a party back at camp. A fun trivia night was organised and presented by Tayissa Oleksyn and her husband James.

Meanwhile, novatstvo also enjoyed hiking, with an excursion to the Illawong Suspension bridge, plus abseiling at the Guthega Quarry and several outings onto Lake Jindabyne to practise and perfect their kayaking skills. They were extremely fortunate to be under the expert guidance of some very experienced NSW Scouting Adventure Activities Guides – Ben Lowe and Fernando Charnis. 

On the last day of camp novatstvo enjoyed a fun day at Thredbo where they participated in an “Amazing Race” challenge, riding both the chairlift and the gondola, playing in the river and finishing in the indoor pool.

Our youngest group, Ptashata, enjoyed learning new songs, mastering arts and crafts and also joining in on the hiking. They even managed to complete the hike to the peak of Mt Kosciusko, which is a major feat for adventurers of such a young age.

Downtime at camp was spent playing games, crafts, enjoying vatra, outdoor sports and building on the camaraderie that is established through shared experiences. 

The parents even managed a few excursions to the nearby distilleries.

One of the best things about Plast’s summer camps is how children grow through these shared experiences and become more confident. Whether it’s conquering a fear – of heights while abseiling, of being underwater when learning how to right a capsized kayak or when dealing with the challenges presented by carrying a heavy pack over many kilometres while remaining positive and finding the inner strength to inspire others who might be struggling.

This is the way lifelong memories and friendships are forged and we are truly blessed to be a part of it.

Thank you to all involved who worked harmoniously to create this unique experience for our children.

Halia Lawriwska

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