“Passport Through Ukraine” Summer Camp at the UHEC

September 1, 2023
Campers and UHEC Education Team Mia Naumenko and Oksana Pasakas
Painting a Prymachenko style lion.
Virtual Campers painting Hutsul style planters

This past August, students aged 5-10 “traveled” through Ukraine during the “Passport Through Ukraine” Summer Camp–an event offered by the Educational Programs Department at the Ukrainian History and Education Center in Somerset, NJ. With “passports” in hand, participants traveled to 5 regions of Ukraine to learn about the culture, art and land of the area. Every morning there was a short lesson on the region and its history, followed by a curated craft to complement the lesson.

The participants began their week in Western Ukraine where they learned about the Carpathian Mountains and the Hutsul people by making a Hutsul-style painted pot. At the end of the week, they planted sunflower seeds in their painted pots. On Tuesday, they traveled to Kherson, where they made a watermelon beaded-keychain. On Wednesday, they learned about the artist Maria Prymachenko and painted their own colorful lion on canvas. On Thursday, participants explored the nature and wonders of Eastern Ukraine and while learning about Ukrainian agriculture, they used fresh vegetables and fruits as stamps on a canvas tote. Their week concluded with an exploration of the city of Kyiv and learned about Ukraine’s independence. Their final craft of the week was a patriotic varenyk ornament.

The program took place in two formats–in person and on-line. In person participants came each morning for 4 hours to Somerset, NJ, while virtual campers received a craft box in the mail with all the supplies needed to participate during the week and joined via Zoom during an afternoon session. All participants have access to on demand videos where they can watch (or rewatch) the lessons at their own pace after the class. In addition to making crafts and learning about regional Ukrainian traditions, campers had fun playing games, learning Ukrainian songs and dance steps, and non-Ukrainian campers learned some Ukrainian words and phrases.

“Passport Through Ukraine Summer Camp” is a part of the “Crafts for Kids @UHEC” workshop series, with programs geared towards school aged children, utilizing art and historical artifacts from the Center’s collections. Workshops are held year-round, both virtually and in person. A seasonal subscription box will be launching this fall, with curated crafts and lessons geared specifically to educating youth through hands-on learning.

To learn more about UHEC’s programs, or view past events, visit www.ukrhec.org/events. Email education@UkrHEC.org or call (732) 356-0132 for program information, events, or workshops (at the UHEC or at your location).

The UHEC and its programming are supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and made possible by the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission. UHEC arts programming and activities are also made possible by funds from the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.