The Community ACTion Ukrainian Style 2014, Ukraine

Deadline:  31 May 2014
Open to: volunteers from around the globe (age 19+)
Venue: 11-21 July 2014, Ternopil, Ukraine


CACTUS (Community ACTion Ukrainian Style) is an international English language program that involves Ukrainian and international volunteers and youth leaders, and is aimed at promoting civic society development and youth activism in the next generation of young leaders in Ukraine.

This year, the CACTUS Forum will take place in July 11-21, 2014 in the city of Ternopil in Western Ukraine. The forum is prefaced by a three-day staff training period. During this time, staff members learn more about project design, Team Time activities, social events, games, activities, and collaborate with their teaching partners to put final touches on their lesson plans. Each staff member is a team leader, a project design teacher, a teacher of an elective subject (courses agreed upon every June), social event organizer, as well as required to do other small duties such as set up coffee breaks and escort participants to different locations.

The 10 – day forum is a high-energy, all-English speaking forum in which the seventy participants are separated into six teams led by two to three staff members. The teams each have their own name, color, motto, and song. While staff members stress the importance of bonding to participants with their teammates, all participants interact with each other through their various classes so as to increase the feel of a genuine community.

The most important aspect of the CACTUS camp is learning how to identify, design, and implement a community project relevant to the participants. The Project Design classes are made up of participants from roughly the same region of Ukraine so that each participant will have one to two others to collaborate on a project with. There are usually about 12-15 regional participant groups. The teachers and mentors for each group of participants are those staff members that are geographically closest to the regional groups. Mentors assist, but do not lead, the groups throughout the entire project.  During these lessons, participants learn all the steps for creating a project (identifying community needs and resources), designing the decided project (creating an action plan and assigning jobs to each participant), funding a project, and writing a grant. Unlike other current programs in Ukraine, every regional group will have the opportunity to apply for a CACTUS grant in the amount of 300-500 UAH (depending on CACTUS’ funding). After the summer forum, participants then implement their project with the aid of their staff mentors. Once the project is complete, they must properly close the grant.

Aside from Team Time and the Project Design classes, participants choose two extra classes that they are interested in. The list of offered courses varies from year to year according to staff’s desire and knowledge base. However, in its five years, CACTUS camp always offers the immensely popular Spanish language class. This past year, Photography, Spanish, Healthy Lifestyles, African Culture, World Religions, Music, Art and Poetry, Journalism, Professional Advancement, Public Speaking and Rhetoric, the Counselor in Training program, Economics, Psychology, and English Slang and Colloquial Speech classes were offered. Large periods of free time are also included in the schedule. This allows participants and staff members to bond with one another through organized and unorganized activities such as sports, games, art projects, and clubs. In addition, every night features a social event. Planned almost entirely by staff members (with one night organized by Counselors-in-Training), social events vary from scavenger hunts around Ternopil, dances, lectures about social issues, movie night, and so on. Eight out of the ten days are dedicated to classes. On the very first day this year we will also have our all-CACTUS clean-up in Ternopil and use this project as an example for the PDM activities. On a Sunday, staff members will host a picnic for participants that will end with a movie night. The final day of CACTUS will be the community service project presentations.


All volunteers who:

  • are 19 and older;
  • are fluent in English (any other language is a plus)
  • would like to discover Ukraine and meet young Ukrainian activists and people from other parts of the world and help Ukrainian youth make a positive change in their country are eligible to apply.


No special qualification is needed. Staff will be required to teach an elective class, but it is mostly up to them which one to choose.


The program covers accommodation and meals, as well as materials necessary for the lessons and other activities. Transportation to and from Ukraine will be covered by staff.


Please go to and find the link on the homepage  to fill out the CACTUS Staff application online by 31 May, 2014. Applicants will be notified of the outcomes of the evaluation by June 7, 2014 at the latest.


If you have questions, please contact us:




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