Scouts in Conception Bay South, N.L., have been making Easter eggs this spring, connecting with Ukrainian culture and doing their part to help relief efforts in the war-torn country.
Members of the 1st C.B.S. Scouts group in the Kelligrews neighbourhood spent last weekend creating more than 20 pysanky, intricately decorated Easter eggs originating from Ukraine and Poland.
Diane Coombs, who helped organize the egg-making, said the activity was a way to learn about Ukrainian culture while making an age-appropriate gesture of support for people in Ukraine, who have been under siege since Russia invaded the country in February.
"The pysanky, being kind of the thing that Ukraine is well known for, was something that we could do as scouts," Coombs told CBC News, adding that the group — which also represents Beavers and Cubs — has made fundraising for Ukraine a focus for this season.
"They all felt very pleased with what they had done and they felt like they were accomplishing something that was actually going to make a difference."
Pysanky are created using a kistka, a wooden tool used to pen a design onto the egg using beeswax. The wax is then heated, which melts the design onto the egg before it is dyed.
"The meaning and symbology behind it, it's really deep. The history of it and looking at the artwork is absolutely phenomenal," Coombs said.
Ben Butler, 11, said he had a lot of fun creating his egg, which features a heart and a spiral of protection.
"It was really fun, it was like so fun. And it was fun to do it for Ukraine," Ben said Monday. "I'm hoping they get a bunch of money and probably build a home a bit in Ukraine. So then they'll be safe."
The eggs will be auctioned off over the course of the next week with funds going to the National Organization of the Scouts of Ukraine.
Support is more than symbolic
The group has a connection with the country, which Coombs says helps the group stay aware of the world around them.
"One of our scouters actually has a classmate who is from Ukraine… He asked if he could buy the egg for his friend, and I said 'Well, we'll take care of that," she said.
"Just as a little symbol to them to let them know that we are aware, and we hope that they feel supported."
The group's Beavers and Cubs also did their part, raising more than $600 through auctioning off paintings of sunflowers they created earlier this month.
"The kids are hearing about it in school and at home, on social media and [on] YouTube. So we really wanted to bring the focus to it during our programming so that they can be aware," Cubs leader Sarah Eddy said.
"We talked about being good humans, being kind to others."
Sunflowers are the official flower of Ukraine, and have been a symbol of the resistance in Ukraine.
The pysanky auction will continue into next week, as Ukraine follows the Orthodox Christian calendar, and Easter will be celebrated April 24.