Ukrainian Youth Association

Image - An emblem of the Ukrainian Youth Association (SUM).

Ukrainian Youth Association (Спілка української молоді; Spilka ukrainskoi molodi, or СУМ; SUM). An émigré youth organization established in Germany in 1946 by members of the OUN (Bandera faction) to attract those who did not already belong to other youth groups. Its initiators hoped to emulate the traditions of the Association of Ukrainian Youth, an organization allegedly active in Ukraine during the 1920s. In its statutes it sets itself forth as a patriotic organization whose slogan is God and Ukraine.

Initially SUM consisted of young men and women of 18 to 30 years of age. In 1948 groups of 12- to 18-year-olds were formed; they were followed by groups of 6- to 12-year-olds. In the 1950s members over 30 began to stay on, and the association came to consist of four age-groups: the junior youth (6–12), the senior youth (13–18), the druzhynnyky, or full members (19–35), and the senior members (over 35). It was soon organized along a three-level geographical scale, with local urban centers, national executives, and a central international executive that oversaw edification. In 1946–7 it was active mainly in Germany and Austria; it spread to Belgium in 1947, and then to Canada and Great Britain in 1948, the United States in 1949, and other countries (including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, and Paraguay) in subsequent years. In 1952 it was active in 14 countries and had a membership of more than 8,000. As a result of the gradual stabilization of émigré life in the West and extensive organizational efforts, SUM became the largest Ukrainian youth organization. In 1962 it had 10,500 members (of whom 3,200 were senior members and 7,300 were youth); in 1969, 13,700 members (with 4,500 and 9,200 respectively). Of the 1969 total, 1,800 senior members and 3,100 youths were active in the United States; 1,000 and 2,400 respectively in Great Britain; 750 and 2,500 in Canada; 430 and 570 in Australia; and 520 and 630 in other countries. By 1978 membership had declined to 11,780, and by 1987 to 7,290. The United States has consistently had the largest number of SUM members, followed by England, Canada, and Australia.

Every four years SUM sponsors world jamborees. Some of these have taken place in Munich–Gomaringen–Rome (1972), Montreal (1976), Calgary (1980), Los Angeles (1984), and Rome (1988). Every summer the association runs summer camps in England, Belgium, France, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Argentina, using their own facilities.

The highest administrative body of the organization is the SUM Congress, elected by the Central Administration (before 1958, the Central Committee). Congresses were convened annually until 1949, after which they were held every three years. They are now held every five years. By October 1973, 10 congresses had been held. In 1946–9 the Central Committee was headed by M. Serdiuk; he was followed successively by Symon Vozhakivsky, O. Kalynnyk, and M. Fil. The Central Administration of SUM has been headed by O. Koval (1958–78), Ye. Hanovsky (1978–88), and Y. Roshka (since 1988). In 1949 the Central Edifying Council (Vykhovna rada) was formed from the ranks of senior counselors and pedagogues to serve as an advisory body. It has been headed successively by P. Chuiko, Mykhailo Kushnir, Danylo Chaikovsky, Z. Sahan, Bohdan Stebelsky, O. Koval (1978–88), and Ye. Hanovsky (1988–). In 1978 the headquarters of the Central Administration was moved from Brussels to New York. Other members of the central or national executives over the years include T. Buiniak (Canada), O. Chubaty (Australia), Ya. Deremenda (Great Britain), Ye. Hanovsky (United States), V. Kosyk (France), V. Lenyk (Germany), and H. Oshchypko (Belgium). Younger members who rose through the ranks of the organization and joined its executive at the 10th Congress included A. Bandera, M. Frankevych, R. Mirchuk, M. Pidhirna, R. Shuper, B. Yurkiv, and M. Yurkiv-Yavrotska. Many pedagogues and political activists also worked as counselors, editors of SUM publications, lecturers, and camp instructors, including P. Bashuk, S. Fostun, P. Kizko, O. Koval, I. Krushelnytsky, Y. Serbyn, Petro Mirchuk, V. Mykula, Leonid Poltava, Dmytro Shtohryn, Slava Stetsko, Hryhorii Vashchenko, H. Vaskovych, and Ivan Vovchuk.

The association’s ideological and educational program combines Christianity and nationalism. Apart from helping its members develop religious and national consciousness, it encourages them to support Ukraine whether, as previously, in its liberation struggle or, as after 1991, in its drive for the democratization of the newly independent state. Attention is also paid to the teaching of Ukrainian history and culture. The organization’s instructional methods are set out in various manuals, educational materials, and periodicals. Activities are conducted in groups of various sizes (junior youth are organized into roï, senior youth into kureni), as well as in the course of educational conferences, summer and winter camps, and sporting events.

SUM also provides the young with the opportunity to participate in choirs, dance and instrumental ensembles, theater groups, applied arts groups, and other cultural activities, as well as organizing sports competitions and clubs (soccer/football is particularly popular). Some SUM ensembles have gained wide popularity in the community and have traveled to émigré centers in various countries. These include the Prometei and Dibrova choirs, the Baturyn band (conducted by V. Kardash, M. Dliaboha, and O. Brezden), and the Verkhovyntsi dance ensemble (directed by Y. Klun) of Toronto; the banduryst kapelle of Detroit (V. Potapenko, conductor); the Krylati dance ensemble of Great Britain (O. Buriak, director); and the Krylati sports club of Chicago. SUM commonly takes part in national celebrations, anniversaries, and political demonstrations. Its members have also conducted mass actions in defense of Ukrainian political and religious prisoners.

SUM has acquired a number of facilities, such as meeting halls and summer camping grounds. The more notable include the resort in Ellenville, New York, the Veselka resort near Toronto, Verkhovyna near Montreal, Bilohorshcha near Sudbury, Tarasivka in Great Britain, Frankopole in Belgium, Tarasivka near Melbourne, Lemkivshchyna near Sydney, and Veselka near Buenos Aires. In some centers SUM has established and runs Ukrainian schools, of which there were nine in the United States in 1970.

SUM periodicals include Avangard (est 1947), the official organ of the Central Administration; Na varti (est 1949 in Canada); and Krylati (est 1963), a youth journal. In addition a number of émigré newspapers carry ‘SUM pages,’ including Shliakh peremohy, Homin Ukraïny, Ukraïns’ka dumka (London), Svoboda, Ameryka (Philadelphia), Vil’na dumka, and Ukraïns’ke slovo (Buenos Aires). Other materials are published by the Central Administration (such as Biuleten' Tsentral'noï upravy SUM and the irregular Zapysky vykhovnyka), national executives, and certain regional centers. The central SUM publishing house has published a number of works on edification of youth (particularly by H. Vashchenko), some fiction, and a series of youth-, children-, and family-oriented books.

Leading activists in SUM national centers through the 1980s have included A. Lozynsky, Ye. Kuzmovych, Ya. Petryk, Y. Roshka, and R. Zvarych (United States); Ye. Cholii, Mykhailo Figol, I. Mytsak, V. Okipniuk, and M. Shepetyk (Canada); M. Finiv, V. Karpynets, M. Matviivsky, and V. Shliakhetko (Great Britain); M. Duda, B. Kachmarsky, I. Khokholiak, Z. Koval, I. Levytsky, and P. Osmalsky (Belgium); A. and V. Haidamakha, S. Kostiuk, V. Panchuk, R. Shuper, and L. Vilych (Germany); I. Kopchuk, P. Naumiak, I. Pasternak, and L. Vitoshynska (France); I. Kohut, M. Moravsky, and S. Romaniv (Australia); and M. Rokush, R. Savchuk, and O. Stryga (Argentina).

SUM na chuzhyni: Zbirnyk-al'manakh (London 1954)
Pravyl'nyk iunatstva SUM (Brussels 1961)
Pravyl'nyk druzhyn SUM (Brussels 1967)
Materiialy 10-oho Kongresu SUM (Brussels 1973)

Hryhorii Vaskovych

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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