As the festival was getting under way, on Friday evening, July 11, the Ukrainian National Foundation, the UNA’s charitable arm, and the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee held the “Spirit of Maidan Gala,” a dinner and show benefiting the UUARC’s aid to families of the fallen, injured and missing victims of terrorist aggression against Ukraine. Appearing at that elegant $200-a-plate event held under the stars on the Lviv lawn were the festival’s three top stars.
The UNA presence at the festival included an information booth manned by Home Office employees who shared their knowledge of all the UNA has to offer with countless visitors. This year the staff prepared almost 1,000 signature UNA yellow bags that contained the “UNA and the Community – Partners for Life!” magazine and an array of UNA promotional items. In addition to the information booth, the Ukrainian National Association sponsored a children’s area filled with balloons, coloring books and crayons that also offered free face painting.
The UNA was represented also at many local festivals throughout the country, including those in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
The UNA highlighted its annual scholarship program with two releases in its newspapers during 2014. Special sections in The Ukrainian Weekly and Svoboda were published in May offering congratulations to the 57 scholarship winners (who received a total of $13,175 in scholarships) for academic year 2013-2014. And, in October, the 51 scholarship winners for 2014-2015 (a total of $12,775 was awarded) were introduced to the newspapers’ readers.
The focus was on our community’s youngsters in December, when the UNA’s newspapers published special color sections featuring Christmas cards designed by young artists as part of the annual UNA Christmas Card Project. Twelve of the designs were chosen for the UNA’s 2014 Christmas cards. It was the second year that children’s designs graced the cards, sales of which benefit Soyuzivka, where numerous children’s camps and programs are held. The project is headed by UNA Events Coordinator Oksana Trytjak.
As for the older set, UNA Seniors and friends met on June 8-13 at their annual conference at Soyuzivka during what has become known as UNA Seniors’ Week.
Another annual event at Soyuzivka, the Miss Soyuzivka contest, was held on the weekend of August 9-10. The winner of the 58th annual pageant was Solomia Pylypiw of Randolph, N.J., a member of UNA Branch 269 and a graduate of Rutgers University’s Business School. Two candidates received identical scores, resulting in a tie for first runner-up: sisters Nadiya and Nataliya Pavlishyn of Astoria, N.Y. Nadiya attends Stony Brook University, while Nataliya is a student at Hunter College. Both sisters were born in Sambir, Ukraine, and immigrated to the United States at early ages. The evening’s second runner-up was Natalia Kudryk of Livingston, N.J., a student at Penn State University.
We would be remiss if we did not mention the popular camps held at Soyuzivka during the summer. This year’s crop of camps included Tennis Camp, “Tabir Ptashat” (a day camp for preschoolers), Chornomorska Sitch Sports School, the Roma Pryma Bohachevsky Dance Camp and the Dance Workshop for more advanced students, as well as Heritage Camp and Discovery Camp. Session 2 of the Roma Pryma Bohachevsky Ukrainian Dance Camp recorded the largest group of participants in dance camp history: 104 students. Campers and staff together amounted to 140 people.