BARABOO, Wis. – Following a two-year hiatus as a result of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on in-person gatherings, the Pobratymy fraternity of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization held its 54th annual meeting (rada).
Although the fraternity’s membership is centered primarily in the Chicago area, the weekend meeting attracted fraternity members and friends from as far away as Michigan, Pennsylvania and California. The 54th rada was held September 28-30 at the American Ukrainian Youth Association (AUYA) campground “Beskyd” near Baraboo, Wis., a location which has graciously hosted these events for many years.
The rada was preceded on Friday by a day-long canoe trip on the Wisconsin River where the intrepid canoeists had to contend with ferocious headwinds, making the normally smooth paddle quite difficult. Participants were rewarded for their effort by sightings of six American bald eagles whose majestic flyovers were exciting to watch. Less adventurous members spent the day golfing at a nearby course.
That evening, members and prospective candidates of the fraternity shared stories, anecdotes, jokes and updates on their family and professional lives which they had been unable to do in person over the past two years. Participants rekindled old friendships and welcomed the next generation of scouts who share the Pobratymy mission of promoting the ideals of Ukrainian scouting.
The formal meeting on Saturday included a review of activities of the past two years, changes to the organization’s by-laws, formal acceptance of three new members, election of a new leadership and development of a work plan for the coming year. The latter is particularly important because the Pobratymy have developed a relationship with potential new members in Ukraine and many of them joined the meeting via a Zoom call to provide the U.S. attendees with information about their activities in Lviv and other cities in Ukraine. It is currently anticipated that new members from Ukraine will be inducted into the fraternity with a ceremony to take place sometime next summer.
For the first time in many years the rada also elected a new “bratukh,” a ceremonial post which carries with it the responsibility of invigorating the flame of the fraternity’s traditions and spirit of Ukrainian scouting.
The rada also included a meeting of the Pobratymy Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity that since its inception in 1992 has donated more than $150,000 to further the principles of Plast and Ukrainian scouting worldwide. This year’s donations were targeted to support the activities of Plast in the Chicago area, the renovation of Plast facilities in New York City and assistance for campers from the recently reactivated Plast group in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
The Saturday evening activities included a traditional campfire during which time the fraternity honored the memory of one of its long-time members, Joseph Mycyk, of Chicago, whose funeral in August 2020 could not be attended by many due to the pandemic. Mr. Mycyk was fondly remembered as a dedicated leader of many youth camps and canoe trips, a tireless scouting activist, a selfless professional who donated much of his time as an architect to Ukrainian institutions in the Chicago area and an individual who had an unparalleled knack for good humor.
Members of Pobratymy are active in Plast and Ukrainian community organizations and churches throughout the United States, Canada, and, hopefully soon, in Ukraine. For over 50 years, the members of Pobratymy have assisted in preparing Ukrainian youth for life by upholding the ideals of scouting. Readers can learn more about the Plast Pobratymy fraternity by visiting the organization’s web site at www.Pobratymy.org, or by following the fraternity’s Facebook page: “Pobratymy – Побратими.”