Welcome to our Core Team page! To give you a better idea of who’s working hard to bring Unity 2014 to you, check out the pictures and bios below (p.s. it is a work in progress, so keep checking back for more additions of core team members):
Margaret Batty: My first experience with Unity was in Ancaster 2009. I went to Ancaster for my own reasons – see friends I travelled with to Australia, make new friends and see the sites in Ontario. God had other plans for me though and the four days I spent in Anacaster were filled with life changing moments that I will always be grateful for having. Unfortunately I was unable to attend Unity 2012 in Pinawa but once I heard Alberta would be the next host province for Unity I knew I wanted to be part of the excitement. I’ve been volunteering my time to organizations within our church since I was 14 but I am thrilled for this new experience, to be part of the Unity core team. Currently I work for the Alberta Government within the Culture Ministry as a Budget Officer and plan to attain my Certified Managerial Accounting designation. Lastly, a shout out to everyone reading this – Unity 2014: Faith Forward is something you should NOT miss!!
Cyril Kennedy: I have never been to Unity before, I decided to join the planning committee because I was invited to, and because I think it will be my first step in taking over the world (muahahahaha!). Over the years, I’ve done different stuff in church, such as being a camp counselor, a youth group member, a volunteer tree planter, a cantor and reader (I was ordained as a reader in 2012), a seminarian, and working at the Edmonton Eparchial Summer Camp. My other interests are history and world religions, dance hall reggae, dancing in general, sci fi movies, talking to people about interesting things, and reading on the bus.
Beth Mayko: My involvement with Unity all started in 2009. A good family friend strongly encouraged me to go to Unity 2009 in Ancaster, ON, attesting to what a great experience she had in the past and what a great faith building opportunity it would be for me. Now, for anyone who didn’t know, I am really shy and it takes quite a bit for me to come out of my shell. My initial thoughts were “No way! You want me to travel across the country and attend a national young adult event by myself where I don’t really know anybody? You have got to be kidding me!” But talk about the Holy Spirit working its magic! My initial doubts were quickly turned into hopefulness and I took a leap of faith, registered for Unity and bought a plane ticket to Ontario. A couple of months before we left, I met Millie and the rest of the Alberta group, making me feel even more confident that this might not be a total disaster. And what an experience it was! To this day, I still can’t believe how much fun I had and how many wonderful and incredible people I met! It was so encouraging to be around so many other people who are just like me! People trying to get through the same challenges in life and demonstrating such strong faith that you couldn’t help but admire them. People that still have an impact on me today and thanks to social media, I am still in contact with. Well, needless to say, when word got around that the next one was going to be in 2012 in Manitoba, I knew exactly where I was going to be that summer (and taking my sister Erin with me)! And once again, I was not disappointed! The list of kindred spirits in my life grew even longer! I am now excited to be part of the planning team for Unity 2014, which just so happens to be in my neck of the woods this time. I am blessed to be working with such a great group of people and cannot wait to have others experience Unity with me! Now, it is your turn to take a leap of faith and come and join us in 2014!
Erin Mayko: I attended Unity 2012 in Pinawa after hearing all of the amazing things that my sister Beth had to say about ’09. I experienced the same feeling of community, fellowship, and friendship after my first Unity experience that she had raved about after hers. The friends I made and the support I felt after this event helped me through my first year of teaching mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I chose to be on the Unity 2014 planning committee so that I can help to create an experience for others similar to the one I had.
Andrij Nykyforuk: Pryvit! I’m Andrij and I did not give in my bio by the required deadline, so Joyanne has been kind enough to write one for me. I went to Unity 2012 in Pinawa and had a kickin’ grand time hanging out with some priests, sisters, and bishops (not to mention courting my now-wife, Mariya). I’m stoked for Unity 2014 because if I’m not, my wife will hurt me for it. But in all seriousness, it’s going to be a great event. In my spare time I enjoy watching CuteRoulette (that baby sloth is adorable!). Looking forward to seeing you at Unity in Camrose!
Mariya Nykyforuk-Balukh: My name is Mariya, jane-of-all-trades and now a priest’s wife-to-be.Unity 2013 was the first Unity I attended, and boy, am I glad I did! In the three days we had together, not only did I get a chance to meet new people, learn new things and deepen my experience with God, I also got to know (and begin dating long-distance) my now husband Andrij.
I want to be on the planning committee because I have seen first-hand the value of Unity in providing a sense of commUNITY to our Ukrainian-Canadian Catholic youth. 🙂
Damian Rudiak: I’m Damian and I’ve never been to Unity before, but here I am planning one of my own (not quite singlehandedly, but pretty close). I hope that everyone enjoys themselves this year as we’ve been working tirelessly trying to make it as far out as possible. Do people still say far out? Anyway, along with being surrounded by a bunch of really smart people when it comes to church stuff and spirituality I think I’m more excited to hang out with you! And I can’t do that if you don’t come, so you should probably fill out the registration form, otherwise you’d be depriving me of my Unity experience. (Not to sound selfish or anything.) I like to talk…a lot, so when you’re at Unity feel free to come up and say hello provided you don’t have anywhere to be for the next 30 – 45 minutes. Can’t wait to see you there!
Joyanne Rudiak: My first Unity experience was in 2009 in Ancaster, Ontario. I decided to go because I’d just been to World Youth Day the previous year and had an absolute blast pilgrimmaging (yes, I’m making that a word) with like-minded young adults from across Canada. Just like WYD08, I had a wonderful time making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and learning more about my faith. I couldn’t wait for Unity 2012 in Manitoba, and being in Pinawa for that very event did not leave me disappointed. As a result, when I learned that Unity 2014 would be held in Alberta, I was ecstatic! I couldn’t wait to get started on planning my favourite national event! Of course, life has a funny way of panning out and in the midst of planning I decided to move to Dublin, Ireland for a wee bit, returning just in time for the crunch to begin.
I really don’t know what else to say. I’m kind of crazy, highly dramatic (which will be hilarious when I begin studying theology at the Sheptytsky Institute in the fall), and always eager to learn as much as I can about people and my faith. I also love dancing, singing, and eating just about any kind of dessert.
I truly believe Unity is one of the best national events for young adults the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada holds, and I can only hope that our team can provide you with as amazing a weekend as I have been privileged to experience. God bless and see you there!
Julian Savaryn: Julian participated in WYD 2011 in Madrid as well as Unity 2012 in Pinawa, Manitoba. Both experiences were very rich – a time of growth spiritually and otherwise. He enjoys playing cello, hiking, and cooking. After studying music for three years at the U of A, he began law school at the same university. Having recently graduated, Julian began articling in June 2013.
Andrew Schietzsch: Hi, I’m Andrew. I went to Unity in 2012 and had a pretty good time. I’ve been coming to the Unity 2014 meetings to make sure that you will all have a pretty good time in 2014 as well. My hobbies include mountain biking, volunteering, and lawn darts. I’d like to combine all three one day. I’m not really that interesting, but that’s okay since Unity will be if you show up.
Millie Schietzsch: CIX! My name is Millie and I am the current Youth Minister for the Edmonton Eparchy. Joyanne selflessly wrote my bio for me so I wouldn’t have to (isn’t that wonderful? She also chose my picture, which was a choice; we did so have colour photos in the 80s). I was at Unity in 2009 in Ancaster and 2012 in Pinawa, and both were highly spiritual and fun experiences. I love seeing all the work that our young adults can do and Unity is proof of what they can accomplish when given the chance. Come out to Unity 2014 and you’ll see what I mean! God bless!
Taras Tymkevych: I’m excited to be part of Unity 2014. I became more involved with the Edmonton Eparchy Youth Group after WYD in 2013 in Brazil. I met amazing people and because of them I strengthened my faith as I think you will too when you come to Unity. If you are flying in, it’s very likely that I will be the one driving you to and from the airport. I think that task came upon me because of my love of cars. Anyway, I also like dogs, martial arts, and I’m currently working as a project coordinator for a building company.
Tobias Underwood: I am currently in my final semester of academic studies as a seminarian in Ottawa (Praise the Lord!). I was in Pinawa for Unity 2012. Alberta is my home, and will always be very close to my heart. We have the wonderful opportunity to welcome and host youth from across Canada right here in this beautiful province for Unity 2014. I am looking very forward to welcoming you all to Alberta! Can’t wait to see you there!! Praise the Lord!!!
Robyn Watt: I’ve never been to Unity before. I’m looking forward to Camrose next year, and am more than happy to be helping with planning Unity 2014. After completing graduate school in far off Toronto, I’m happy to be home in Edmonton and am excited to welcome everyone to big sky-Alberta!