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SOKOL USA

Timeline

A Chronology of Events in the History of Sokol USA By Ellen Kovac, Editor of the Sokol Times, 1994 – 1999

1862
*Dr. Miroslav Tyrs begins SOKOL movement, dedicated to physical fitness, intellectual enlightenment and moral development
1862
1866
*Ivan Branislav Zoch teaches Sokol program and ideals in Slovak despite Sokol being declared illegal by the Hungarian government which was subjugating Slovakia at that time
1866
1892
*First Slovak Sokol Society in the U.S. established in Chicago, Illinois
1892
1896
*Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol (S.G.U.S.) founded in New York City by the New York and Bridgeport Connecticut groups
1896
1898
*First S.G.U.S. Convention, Bridgeport, CT
*Women’s Slovak Sokol Organization founded in New York City
1898
1905
*Fifth Convention, Passaic, NJ. 90 men’s lodges with 2,500 members in the states of Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin
*Uniforms are set for gymnasts
*Slovensky Sokol becomes the official publication, published in Pittsburgh by a literary committee headed by Milan Getting
*Request for permission to organize a unit of only members affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church denied
1905
1906
*First national competitions and Slet, McKees Rocks, PA – Indian Hill Plateau
*Participants mostly from near Pittsburgh and from Lodge 39, Chicago
1906
1907
*VI Convention, Allegheny, PA.
*Twelve districts established
*Courses for Sokol gymnastics instructors initiated
*First representation by an S.G.U.S. team participates in Sokol competitions and Slet in Prague
*15 Sokol Halls with gymnasiums built
1907
1910
*VII Convention and II Slet, Trenton, NJ – City Park Ball Field
*The women’s Sokol organization “Veniec Sokola” combined with S.G.U.S.
*Twenty women and 35 juniors included in the Slet along with 250 men
1910
1913
*III Slet, Cleveland , OH – Park Ball Field
1913
1916
*IV Slet, Chicago, IL
1916
1918
*First official Sokol unit in Slovakia founded
*Almost all Sokol men drafted or enlisted in U.S. Armed Forces or Czechoslovak Legions, operating out of France
*National Slet cancelled
1918
1919
*X Convention, Homestead, PA.
1919
1922
*XI Convention and V Slet, Bethlehem, PA – Lehigh University Stadium
*American Sokol Federation (“Svaz”) formed with American Sokol Organization, established a joint technical board under direction of Jarka Jelinek
*Slovak Sokol Union, with 600 members centered in Chicago area, unites with S.G.U.S.
1922
1926
*XII Convention and VI Slet, Bridgeport, CT – City Auditorium
*1000 participants; 480 competitors
*S.G.U.S. resumed its own Chief Physical Directors, with Karol Bednar and Betty Molnar (Klimow) elected
*American Sokol Federation continued to sponsor 5 future Slets at Soldier’s Field, Chicago, under the direction of Jarka Jelinek and Kate Danko
1926
1939
*S.G.U.S. participates in Czechoslovakia National Alliance dedicated to restoring democracy in Czechoslovakia
*Sokols sponsor Czechoslovak Day at Triboro Stadium, NYC, as a demonstration against the Munich Pact, which sold out Czechoslovakia to the Nazis
*2,300 Sokols perform for an enthusiastic audience of 20,000 *Dr. Eduard Benes, President-in-Exile of Czechoslovakia, is honorary chairman and main speaker
*District M.C. Trenciansly opens camp near New Kensington, PA. District
*Ludevit Stur purchases property for a camp at Potter Lake, WI
1939
1942
*98% of S.G.U.S members were found fit for military duty during World War II compared with 70% of the general population
*Instructors’ Schools for juniors approved due to war
*Women assumed major responsibility for continuation of three Instructors’ Schools each summer
1942
1944
*By war’s end, more than 3,000 Sokols, mostly gymnasts, serve in US Armed Forces, including all Lodge and most District Directors, all Traveling Instructors and Chief Physical Directors
1944
1964
*Sokol USA Headquarters moves from Perth Amboy to East Orange, NJ
*Sokol Woodlands Gymnastic School opens at Barryville, NY, training dozens of future gymnastic professionals
1964
1965
*Sokol USA performs at the New York World’s Fair – Singer Bowl
1965
1966
*XV Slet, New York City, NY – Long Island University Arena
1966
1968
*Slovensky Sokol becomes Sokol Times
1968
1970
*XVI Slet – Diamond Jubilee, Monessen, PA – High School Field
1970
1972
*Annual Winter Carnivals held at Sokol Camps at Potter’s Lake and Boonton
*Eastern, Central and Midwest Area Gymnastic Advisory Boards hold training sessions & intra-organizational meets
1972
1974
*XVII Slet, Binghamton, NY – State University of NY field
1974
1979
*XVII Slet, Bethlehem, PA – Lehigh University Field
1979
1983
*XVIII Slet, Pittsburgh, PA – Civic Arena
1983
2002
*First National Sokol Summer Camp, held at Sokol Woodlands
*YES! (Youth Energizing Sokol) Council formed, with eight young members attending the Sokol USA XXXI Convention as non-voting participants, presenting their ideas and issuing a membership challenge
2002
2003
*XXIV Sokolfest, Valparaiso, IN
*Sokols perform for the community at the Valparaiso 4th of July celebration
*Most popular competition - Fitness Challenge for members of all ages
2003
2007
*XXV Sokolfest, Pittsburgh, PA
2007
2011
*XXVI Sokolfest, Independence, OH
2011
2013
*Sokol USA XXXIV Convention is held in Bethlehem, PA. Delegates vote to merge with GBU Financial Life.
2013
2014
*Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol USA becomes Sokol USA District 4000 - A Division of GBU Financial Life.
2014
2016
*XXVII Sokolfest, Pittsburgh PA. Competitions, tournaments and Slet held at Baldwin High School. First 5K Fun Walk held as a Community Service Project to raise funds and collect food for local food banks.
2016
2017
*XXXV Sokolfest, Pittsburgh PA. Convention
2017
2019
*XXVIII Sokol USA Sokolfest Buffao, NY June 26-30, 2019
2019

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