Bishop David Motiuk

Bishop David Motiuk

September 8, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The Edmonton Ukrainian Eparchy is holding off on the sale of Camp Oselia for now but the sale remains an option as the eparchy tries to carry out its 25-year pastoral plan.

"We are reviewing everything, all of our personnel, all of our resources, and trying to align it with our 25-year pastoral plan," explained Bishop David Motiuk.

This has made supporters of the camp nervous enough to launch an online petition to save Camp Oselia. More than 350 people have signed the petition.

The eparchy has two diocesan camps: Camp St. Basil at Pigeon Lake and Camp Oselia at Wabamun Lake. Motiuk says the eparchy, which covers all Ukrainian Catholic parishes in Alberta, is wondering if it needs two camps.

He speaks of the possibility of combining all camp activity at Camp St. Basil, which has been undergoing major renovations.

"They put about $1.6 million into a brand new dining facility and a multipurpose area; this year they have a chapel, classroom facilities and in the next few years they hope to build a brand new dormitory," the bishop explained.

He hopes the dorms will be multi-purpose, not just for children, "but to hold clergy retreats there, our ladies' retreats and (some) youth functions. We would like to house our deacons' program there (as well) if we can get that up and running."

Motiuk said the eparchy plans to look and see how the new Camp Basil facility shapes out to determine whether it can offer combined programming for the entire summer, "rather than two weeks here and two weeks there," as it is now.

"These (two camps) are huge facilities to operate for just two weeks."

CHILDREN'S CAMPS SPLIT

Currently, children's programming is offered at Camp St. Basil the first two weeks of July and at Camp Oselia the last two weeks of July.

Camp St. Basil also offers an eparchial altar servers' camp. Camp Oselia offers a teens' camp in August, which didn't run this year because of low registration.

Several week and day camps also run throughout Alberta, mostly operated by the eparchy's parishes.

A final decision on Camp Oselia won't be made "until we see how the dormitories are shaped up at Camp St. Basil," Motiuk said.

"They still have their old dormitories. They have to work on some concepts, develop some architectural plans and raise the monies; so next year for sure," he said.

The eparchy has never tried to sell Camp Oselia. Nevertheless, it has received several offers over the years.

The eparchy has a society that provides assistance in the oversight of Camp Oselia.

"(The society) is developing a plan which is not where I want to go. They want to spend what could amount to millions of dollars to renovate it," the bishop said.

TIME TO DECIDE

"We've come to the point where we have to decide if we want to keep two facilities or we want to combine programs in one. It's about stewardship, the appropriate use of resources, both financial and human resources."

Camp Oselia sits on more than 100 acres of land on the northwestern shore of Lake Wabamun. The dormitories and washrooms were built about 15 years ago. The hall is decades old "and that's about all that we have out there. There is a caretaker house but that's quite old as well."

The online petition was published by Sheldon Ostopowich. The WCR tried but couldn't reach Ostopowich.

The petition background, however, warns of the consequences of losing Camp Oselia, which has been around for more than 60 years.

Ostopowich encourages supporters to sign the petition and to share their vision for an upgraded and improved future for Camp Oselia. "There is absolutely no reason why Camp Oselia should be sold, and it is up to all of us to make it a place of evangelization and a place of Ukrainian culture."

INPUT WELCOME

Asked about the petition, Motiuk said, "It's always good to hear what the faithful are thinking."

However, he said, both the eparchy's college of consultors and its financial council are asking the same question: "What's the future of two camps within the eparchy?"

The bishop said he is saddened by the disunity that the question of Camp Oselia has stirred.