ORGANIZING LITHUANIAN YOUTH IN CANADA – FIRST STEPS 1950-1974

The World Lithuanian Youth Association celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.  It was established during the Second World Lithuanian Youth Congress in 1972 and the Canadian Chapter was formed in 1974.  How did Canada’s Lithuanian youth organize and then eventually become part of the world-wide umbrella youth association? 

FIRST WAVE

Immigrants from Lithuania to Canada prior to the end of World War II, in the late 1940’s organized themselves into benevolent societies.  Their aim was to address immediate concerns regarding employment, housing, maintenance of culture, and promotion of social activities.  Although not numerous, youth had opportunities to attend local Lithuanian language/heritage schools, join choirs and folk dancing groups, as well as sports clubs.  Social events and commemorations organized for them by community elders provided opportunities for further youth social interactions.

The largest wave of immigrants from Lithuania occurred in 1947-48 when the ‘Displaced Persons’ (DP) or refugees fleeing from the horrors of WWII started arriving in Canada.  In one of the earliest editorials published in the weekly newspaper, The Lights of Homeland (established in Toronto, Ontario in 1949), E. Genaitis focuses on the importance of education and proposes that a fund be established to support students wishing to attend universities.  This wave of new immigrants had benefitted from the educational and cultural institutions of an independent Lithuania and from the many high schools and cultural clubs that functioned in German DP camps as well as from the Baltic University established by Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian refugee professors in Hamburg, Germany.  E. Genaitis viewed education as most important for survival of the Lithuanian nation in the diaspora.


Lights of Homeland 1950.VI.01

EARLY YEARS

Post WWII immigrants found that a number of organizations, Lithuanian language heritage schools, sports clubs, and choirs were already established in larger Canadian centres. Unlike the earlier wave of immigrants whose focus was on integrating into their new homeland and less so on higher education, their focus was on promoting education and maintaining their language and heritage.  The newcomers had little in common with the earlier immigrants and established a number of organizations focused on academic pursuits:

Lithuanian Organization of Academics (A. Bajorinis, Pres.)

  • Established in 1948-49 in Toronto with 5 members
  • Organized a few lectures, discussions, picnics, concerts
  • Ceased functioning in the summer of 1950

Lithuanian Academic Youth Group

  • Established in 1949 in Montreal
  • Engaged in the same activities as the Toronto group, but in addition, set up a literary prize and a scholarship fund

University of Toronto Lithuanian Students Association

  • Established in 1950 in Toronto by a group of students
  • Existed for one year

University of Toronto Lithuanian Student Club (TULSK)

  • The Club replaced the previous University of Toronto Students Association
  • A Group of 12 students organized lectures, discussions, social events that were open to everyone

Canadian Lithuanian Students Association (CLSA) (G. Šernas, Pres.)

  • Established in 1953 – it was a first attempt to coalesce student activities
  • Chapters were established in Montreal, Toronto, and London
  • The Central executive’s mandate was:
    • to build membership by increasing contact with all the chapters as well as individual students
    • to establish statutes for the organization based on those of the Lithuanian Students Association in the United States
    • to give voice to Lithuanian students in the Lithuanian Canadian and Canadian communities

Canadian Lithuanian Youth Association bylaws, 1950’s
LMAC archives 675-D.1

CLSA Chapters started attracting new members.  Activities included maintaining the Lithuanian traditions of gatherings to mark “initium semestri” and “finis semestri”, organizing public lectures as well as social events that provided opportunities to promote and showcase rising new talents.

Independent Lithuania 1960.IX.21

 

FIRST STUDENT CONFERENCE IN CANADA

Honey Harbour, Ontario, in the summer of 1955 was the scene of the first student conference/camp weekend organized by the Canadian Lithuanian Student Association (CLSA). Students from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, gathered to discuss issues, set guidelines for future activities and to strengthen personal and organizational ties.  B. Vaškelis was elected as the new President and outlined issues that needed attention:

  • CLSA activities are not engaging people enough. There is little sharing of information and activities are too localized.  This results in low interest and lack of enthusiasm to join or to participate.
  • Generally, students are passive, immersed in studies and want to blend into their university communities.
  • To help solve these issues, we must: 1) elect enthusiastic people to lead the local chapters, 2) organize events and share information across chapters to broaden interest, and, 3) to establish a financial accountability mechanism at the central executive level of the CLSA.

Lights of Homeland 1955.VIII.18

The central executive of the CLSA worked in conjunction with the Lights of Homeland newspaper to establish a monthly column - “The Student’s Path” as a venue for expressing concerns, to share information and to answer questions of interest to students.  In addition, they kept close ties with the US Student’s Association and with their Latvian and Estonian counterparts.  In the 1950’s, the CLSA competed with other organizations to get the attention of students and for membership.  These included the ideological and cultural organizations:  Lithuanian Scouts and the Catholic Students Association “Ateitis”, as well as sports clubs and a variety of folk-dance groups and choirs.

Lights of Homeland 1955.II.10

MOCK STUDENT TRIAL

In 1956, the CLSA Montreal chapter (V. Bruzgelevičius, Pres.) organized for the public, a mock trial whereby ‘typical’ Lithuanian university students were charged with being too passive towards the Lithuanian community in Canada and towards the Lithuanian nation.  The students were asked if they understood that they were Lithuanian and what obligations this identity carried with it – to them as ‘refugees’ from Lithuania and also, what obligations they would have in the event that Lithuania became free and independent again.  The students had an opportunity to defend themselves with the help of ‘legal’ representation and to call witnesses to plead their case.

Students:M. Bilevičiūtė
V. Šipelis
Judges:J. Žmuidzinas
A. Gražys
H. Nagys
Prosecutor:Mr. Viliušis
Defence:Dr. Daukšas
Witnesses:Miss Ciplijauskaitė
Miss Kibirkštytė
Mr. Lukoševičius
Mr. Mališka
Mr. Balsys

Over 200 people attended the “trial”.  The students were accused of 10 ‘crimes’ and were convicted of 3 offences.  They were found 1) guilty of not attending higher level Lithuanian academic courses, 2) not publicizing the political situation in Lithuania within their university community and 3) of losing the use of the Lithuanian language.  The sentence stipulated that the students had one year to correct the three offences they were found guilty of and that because of inconclusive evidence the remaining charges were dismissed.

Independent Lithuania 1956.III.14

Lights of Homeland 1956.IV.19

SNAPSHOT OF CANADIAN LITHUANIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS 1956-57

Per Bronius Vaškelis, CLSA President

Number of University Students
Canada total80-90
Toronto40
Montreal25
Ottawa4
London8
Winnipeg3

In 1957, the CLSA objectives were clear:

  • To unite all Lithuanian Canadian students
  • To foster social interaction and promote Lithuanian cultural heritage
  • To work with the Lithuanian Canadian Community (LCC) by having a youth representative on the executives of local LCC chapters (3 CLSA members were elected to sit on the LCC National Council)
  • To liaise with and represent Lithuanian students in Latvian, Polish and Ukrainian student organizations

Relations with the US Students Association were close.  Both groups recognized the need to share information through a newsletter and to organize common events such as the North American Youth congress of 1957.  However, they stopped short of forming a federation.

Student Characteristics
Of the known number of Lithuanian students across Canada, approximately 60 belonged to the CLSA and were active in the Lithuanian community and youth organizations.
Some had graduated from high school in Lithuania or Germany (the ‘older group) but the majority graduated from high schools in Canada (the ‘younger’ group).
The younger group participated less in the Lithuanian community and had less contact with Lithuanian students in general.
Men focused on studies in engineering while women focused on biology, psychology, or sociology.
Students in Toronto demonstrated a higher degree of acceptance of Canadian cultural influences and maintained weak or no ties with the older students.
In Montreal the Student Group of Academics maintained Lithuanian student traditions enthusiastically and effectively.
Students in London Ontario showed little interest in Lithuanian activities.

Draugas 1957.V.18

Draugas 1957.VII.20

Efforts to recruit new students to join CLSA continued on a Canada-wide basis.  Canadian Lithuanian Student Days were organized in the fall of 1962.  The Lithuanian Canadian Community’s national executive also began to focus on unifying student and non-student youth activities and in 1963, they established a Youth Section on the National Executive of the Lithuanian Canadian Community (LCC) (V. Piečaitis, Representative. LCC Youth Section).


Student dance 1964, in Toronto
L to R: Antanas Rinkūnas, D. Tamulionytė, H. Steponaitis
LMAC collection

 

Independent Lithuania 1964.II.12

YOUTH SYMPOSIUM

At the Lithuanian Canadian Community National Board’s annual meeting, Nov. 28-29, 1964, the focus on youth is reflected in the topic chosen for the main symposium, “The Younger Generation and its Role in the Preservation of Lithuanian Culture in Canada”.  There were three guest speakers:

Fr. Dr. P. Gaida (Editor-in-Chief, Lights of Homeland weekly newspaper)

Youth in the Crossroads of Two Cultures

  • He suggested that the older generation needs to balance the inevitable influence of Canadian culture on our youth with Lithuanian culture by presenting Lithuanian culture as a vibrant, dynamic, attractive option, rather than as a stagnant relic of the past to be studied by archaeologists.
  • Raised in the crossroads of two cultures, Lithuanian youth enrich themselves and as a result, enhance their identity.

Giedra Rinkūnaitė (Youth Representative, Lithuanian Canadian Community National Executive)

Lithuanian Organizations and Youth

  • She maintained that youth finds it difficult to comprehend the older generation’s expression of Lithuanian culture and finds the over-abundance of organizations in the community confusing and superfluous.
  • There are 62 Lithuanian organizations in Toronto alone. This results in many conflicts.  This turns the youth away from the community.
  • University students have a multitude of options open to them in Canadian society - they can meet many academics other than Lithuanians during their studies and can find an affinity with other ethnic groups to keep them busy.

Audrius Šileika (President, Toronto Lithuanian Students Association)

Integration of Youth into Lithuanian Life

  • He stated that the older generation with its out-of-date organizations and varied ideologies is not understood by youth. The older generation shows no interest in discussing issues of concern to Lithuanian youth, for example, the fact that youth finds itself to be a small minority in an environment that is not conducive to maintaining the Lithuanian culture.
  • Existing organizations should focus on maintaining Lithuanian culture and let ideologies become more current by evolving over time. Political discussions should be more modern and the number of ideological organizations in the Lithuanian-Canadian community should be reduced.
  • Youth, even if they speak in imperfect Lithuanian, should be allowed to express their ideas, without criticism of the use of the language.  They should be respected and they should be given more meaningful and substantial roles to play in the community.

Correspondence from the Canadian Lithuanian Community President, Dr. P. Lukoševičius regarding the Youth Symposium and the Youth Congress
LMAC archive collection

WORLD LITHUANIAN COMMUNITY FOCUSES ON YOUTH

Focus on youth became a priority for the LCC’s parent organization, the World Lithuanian Community (WLC) in the 1960’s.  The President of the WLC J. Bačiūnas, raised the idea of having a worldwide congress of Lithuanian youth.  At the same time the Lithuanian Students Association (LSA) was planning a North America-wide youth congress and became interested in the WLC’s idea of holding a larger scale congress. In the summer of 1964, the LSA organized meetings at Camp Dainava in Michigan and invited youth organization representatives and youth press representatives for brainstorming consultations.  By December of 1964, with the support of the Lithuanian Student Association, the WLC developed a plan to proclaim and celebrate 1966 as the Year of Lithuanian Youth with the following objectives:

  • To assess the current situation of Lithuanian youth
  • To find ways to engage more youth in Lithuanian activities
  • To inspire youth to fight for Lithuania’s independence
  • To encourage social networking
  • To invite the entire Lithuanian community to attend the First World Lithuanian Youth Congress to be held in Chicago and Toronto June 30- July 3, 1966

There was a schedule set up suggesting themes for your activities for each month of the year:

Moteris 1965.VI.16

The plan also tasked the WLC to establish a First World Lithuanian Youth Congress Committee to organize the Congress. It suggested the Committee start by organizing a series of regional conventions, hold various events throughout the year in preparation for the Congress, and culminate with the First World Lithuanian Youth Congress in Chicago and Toronto in July.  The first regional convention was scheduled for October 8-10, 1965 in Canada, followed by Australia in January 1966 and the United States in July 1966.  The Congress Organizing Committee included Giedra Rinkūnaitė, the youth representative from the Lithuanian Canadian Community national executive and Audrius Šileika, President of the Toronto Lithuanian Students Association.

Implementing the objectives outlined by the WLC, the Lithuanian Canadian Community (LCC) formally established a Youth section on its national executive.  The Youth Section established its own central executive and had youth representatives in all LCC chapters across Canada.  The Youth section was to help organize the First World Youth Congress by fundraising for South American delegates and by collecting signatures for a petition to the United Nations to denounce Soviet colonization in Europe and restore Lithuania’s independence.  The Youth Section worked in conjunction with the Canadian Lithuanian Students’ Association, and met their target of signatures for the petition in time for the Congress’s opening in July.

FIRST CANADIAN LITHUANIAN YOUTH CONGRESS


First Canadian Lithuanian Youth Congress poster
LMAC archive collection

The Youth Section of the LCC was established in early 1965 (Giedra Rinkūnaitė, Pres.) and immediately began organizing the First Canadian Lithuanian Youth Congress.  As a communication vehicle, they published a newsletter, “Dūmai “, (Dalia Skrinskaitė and Vida Tamulaitytė, editors). Together with the CLSA, they organized Canadian Lithuanian students to participate in various political demonstrations in the USA.  The objectives for this group were: to energize youth, to increase youth activities and participation in the Lithuanian community and to be a source of succession for the executives of the national LCC and its local chapters.

Canadian Lithuanian Community Youth Section newsletter “Dūmai”, first issue, 1966
LMAC archive collection

The organizing committee for the Canadian Congress was mainly composed of youth.  The itinerary for the Congress included a Talent Showcase, Art Exhibition, and an Academic Session. The Congress Program booklet included an overview of youth activities across Canada.

Organizing Committee L to R: S. Masionis, A. Bušinskaitė, H. Steponaitis, E. Daniliūnas, D. Skrinskaitė, Prof. R. Vaštokas, A. Šileika, R. Stirbys, G. Beresnevičius, A. Rinkūnas, St. Kairys, G. Rinkūnaitė, E. Čuplinskas, Fr. J. Staškevičius, Dr. J. Sungaila

LMAC archive collection

Congress Information Brochure
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Lithuanian press headlines

Invitation to the Congress
LMAC archive collection

Click below to see the full program.


Congress Program
LMAC archive collection

At the same time, the Canadian Lithuanian Students’ Association (CLSA) asked a fundamental question:  should we establish the CLSA as an organization independent from the United States Student Association? This was a serious question as the number of university students in eastern Canada had reached 250-300.  By January 1966, the student conference in Toronto confirmed that CLSA is re-established with chapters in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton, Ottawa and that there is a need to work closely with the US student’s association.  Toronto was chosen to host the 16th North American Lithuanian Student Association annual meeting in November 1966.

FIRST WORLD LITHUANIAN YOUTH CONGRESS, CHICAGO/TORONTO 1966


First Lithuanian World Youth Congress Poster
LMAC archive collection

The Congress schedule was ambitious and included:

  • an academic component (lectures, meetings, discussions) analyzing issues for the Lithuanian community worldwide and locally
  • cultural components: concert, literature and poetry evening, art exhibition
  • a religious component: special services for Catholics, Protestants
  • a political component: Petition to the United Nations supporting Soviet decolonization and independence for Lithuania
  • a social component: banquet/dance
  • sports components: basketball, volleyball, table tennis tournaments
  • FINALE North American Lithuanian Song Festival in Chicago, IL with 1,000 choristers

Click below to see the programs.

First World Lithuanian Youth Congress Event Programs
LMAC archive collection


CLC Youth Section members and Canadian Youth Representatives to the Congress
L to R: Renata Jankutė, Živilė Šleikytė, Giedra Rinkūnaitė, Audrius Šileika, Aušra Sapijonytė, Rimas Navikėnas, Alius Viskontas, Paulius Žygas (LSS Pirm.), V. Čegytė, Vida Tamulaitytė
LMAC Archive collection

At the end of June, 120 youth representatives from 13 countries attended a leadership camp at Camp Dainava, Michigan.  Canada was represented by Giedra Rinkūnaitė, Dalia Skrinskaitė and Audrius Šileika.  The rest of the Congress was open to students/youth from 17 countries including 2,000 from the United States and 300 from Canada.  On July 8th, there was a march to the United Nations in New York and demonstrations at the Soviet Embassy. The Canadian youth delegation attended the demonstrations and met with Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations to present the Canadian petition condemning Soviet colonization in Europe and to request the restoration of freedom and independence to Lithuania.

Leadership Camp program
LMAC archive collection

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Scenes from the Leadership Camp, at Dainava
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Congress Closing events: (L) Giedra Rinkūnaitė and Rita Narušytė lead the Canadian delegates (R) Giedra Rinkūnaitė reads the Congress Resolutions which were translated to Lithuania via the Voice of America
LMAC archive collection

The First World Youth Congress delegates worked hard to analyze the issues facing them and presented their Declarations and Resolutions to the World Lithuanian community:

  • This was the first time the focus was on the Lithuanian youth diaspora worldwide and the delegates requested the WLC continue these Congresses.
  • Youth delegates in the diaspora declared their allegiance to Lithuania and proclaimed its right, as stated for all nations in the UN Charter of Human Rights, to practice its cultural, religious freedoms and free speech.
  • The Congress pronounced that these rights and freedoms apply to Lithuania which has a long history as a country with its own culture, and traditions.
  • The World Lithuanian Youth Congress considered the current occupation of Lithuania resulting from a secret pact between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany as an illegal, forced act which has turned Lithuania into the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic - a satellite of the USSR with all of the consequent components of colonization – exploitation, eradication, loss of national identity and moral devaluation.

RESOLUTIONS

  • To hold World Lithuanian Youth Congresses in the future as the venue to draw youth to meet, develop plans and objectives for its activities across the diaspora. The Congress asked the WLC to continue to be the organizer.
  • To acknowledge the critical role of the Lithuanian press and express special support for the publication of the academic journal - “Lituanus” as well as the Lithuanian Encyclopedia in English.
  • To establish youth groups wherever possible.
  • To establish a World Lithuanian Student Association. Activities to be coordinated by a World Lithuanian Student Representative Group.

Click below to see the full text of the resolutions.

First World Lithuanian Youth Congress Resolutions
LMAC archive collection

In fulfilling the mandate from the Congress, the World Lithuanian Community established a Youth Section and a committee to organize the Second World Lithuanian Youth Congress.  A series of meetings were held to consult with organizers of the First Congress, WLC executive members, representatives from youth organizations in the United States and Canada.  Representing Canada: E. Sičiūnas, B. Čeponkus (chair of LCC’s Youth Section), G. Breichmanas, J. Kuraitė, J. Čeponkutė (LCC Executive).  By 1970, the committee was ready to organize the Second World Youth Congress.


Establishment of the World Lithuanian Community Youth Section
LMAC archive collection

SECOND WORLD LITHUANIAN YOUTH CONGRESS CHICAGO/TORONTO, 1972

Jaunimo darbas ir širdis -
Lietuvių Tautos ateitis!

The Chair of the Second LWY Congress organizing committee, R. Sakadolskis outlined the rationale for holding a second world youth congress.  The First LWY Congress illustrated how important it was to bring Lithuanian youth together and include them in Lithuanian community activities.  The Second LWY Congress should evaluate what has been achieved since the First Congress, and based on that experience, set new objectives for the future.  The First Congress showed that a large-scale mobilization was possible and necessary while the Second Congress needed to bring in even more delegates, especially those from outside of North America.  The date was set for June 30-July16: Opening weekend in Chicago, Study Days in Kent State University in Columbus Ohio, Lithuanian Heritage camp at Camp Romuva in Huntsville Ontario, Canada, and the Closing weekend in Toronto.  Canadians Gediminas Breichmanas from Hamilton Ontario was tasked with organizing the camp program while Joana Kuraitė from Windsor Ontario, was a member of the Presidium of the II PLJ Congress.


Organizing Committee of the Second World Lithuanian Youth Congress
First row L to R: V. Kleiza, Z. Acalinaitė, A. Zaparackas, R. Kviklytė, V. Samoška Second row L to R: V. Kamantas, A. Aglinskas, R. Staniūnas, G. Rinkūnaitė, R. Sakadolskis, K. Sabalauskaitė, A. Razgaitis, A. Kubiliūtė, G. Gedvila, Kun. K. Trimakas, D. Tallat-Kelpsaitė,  P. Razgaitis
LMAC archive collection

Like the First Congress, the program included academic, cultural, religious, political and sports components and Congress attendees were also invited to the Fourth North American Lithuanian Folk-Dance Festival held on July 2nd in Chicago.

Second World Lithuanian Youth Congress Event Programs
LMAC archive collection

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Scenes from the Congress Camp, at Romuva
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Closing ceremonies in Toronto
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Just as at the First World Congress, so at the Second Congress, political activism was encouraged.  During the Congress, a project to collect signatures by delegates in each country participating in the Second Word Congress, was begun.  The petition for presentation to the United Nations demanded independence and the right to self-determination for Lithuania.

We protest the injustices perpetrated against the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia by the Soviet Union as crimes against national self-determination, world peace and freedom.  From the forced occupation of the Baltic States in June, 1940, and continuing to the present day, Soviet dealings with the Baltic States have been in flagrant violation of international law and human rights.

We therefore demand that the question of the illegal Soviet occupation and subsequent annexation of the Baltic States be brought before the United Nations General Assembly immediately, and that the Human Rights Committee of the U.N. begin an investigation of the continuing violations of human rights by the Soviet Union in the Baltic States.

A smaller number of elected delegates from participating countries attended the Study Days at Kent State University in Ohio.  Of the 250 elected representatives, 90 were from the United States, 35 were from Canada, 61 from South America, 42 from Europe and 22 from Australia.  After much hard work, the delegates concluded with the following:

RESOLUTIONS

The Congress establishes the World Lithuanian Youth Association (WLYA) that will function according to the constitution and bylaws of the World Lithuanian Community.  The Association will encompass Lithuanian youth organizations as well as individuals.

  • Each country will establish a division of the WLYA. Where possible, the local country will include the president of the Lithuanian Youth Association as a member on its Executive.
  • A central WLYA information centre will be established in Chicago, IL.
  • The Third World Lithuanian Youth Congress will be held in South America in 1975.
  • Per request of the delegates from South America, teams of volunteers will be established by the executive of WLYA and WLC to help organize the Third World Youth Congress in South America.
  • Support for Lithuanian families with young children.
  • WLYA’s executive was asked to put a greater focus on Lithuanian heritage education.
  • Increased financial support for efforts to maintain Lithuanian culture was requested.
  • WLYA’s executive was tasked with establishing a committee to work specifically on political issues.
  • WLYA was asked to establish study groups to study various issues as they come up

Second World Lithuanian Youth Congress Resolutions
LMAC archive collection

Lights of Homeland 1972.VII.27

LAST PHASE – THE CANADIAN LITHUANIAN YOUTH ASSOCIATION FORMS

Many of the II World Youth Congress delegates now took on the task of establishing the new WLYA organization within their country.  The new and first WLYA president, Fr. Antanas Saulaitis SJ ensured that the Information Centre, under the leadership of Mindaugas Pleškys, was established in Chicago.  It started publishing a newsletter broadcasting local youth activities across the diaspora.

Over time, the result of successes in establishing the World Lithuanian Youth Association (WLYA) chapters locally, was the demise of some student groups.  For example, the North American Students Association reduced its activities to an annual meeting.  Whereas, there was a re-establishment of others, e.g. the Toronto University Lithuanian Students Association was re-established in 1972.  There was no effect on many others, such as the Lithuanian Scouts or Lithuanian Catholic Youth Association “Ateitis”, etc., as dual membership did not present too many time constraints or ideological barriers.

World LC President, Bronius Nainys (on the right) accepts a donation to the Third World Lithuanian Youth Congress from Almis Kuolas, President of the Canadian LYA (on the left)

LMAC archive collection

As a follow-up to the Second World Lithuanian Youth Congress, many of the delegates to the Congress from Canada and the US as well as other interested youth convened for a meeting in Cleveland Ohio on December 28-31, 1973.  The objective was to work out in more detail the role for the newly created World Lithuanian Youth Association that would replace the current Youth Sections as representatives of youth and to develop a process to integrate the Youth Association into activities of North American youth. The final Resolutions clearly established both the Canadian Lithuanian Youth Association (CLYA) and Lithuanian Youth Association of the United States. The Lithuanian Canadian Community (LCC) national executive’s Youth Section representative at the time - Almis Kuolas of Toronto Ontario was tasked with organizing a convention of Canadian Lithuanian youth and with establishing a protocol and bylaw changes by which a new Canadian Lithuanian Youth Association would become the “spokesperson” for youth concerns and its president would become a voting member of the LCC national executive. This work was completed by 1974 when the first executive of the Canadian Lithuanian Youth Association (CLYA) was elected and the statutes were adopted by the Canadian Lithuanian youth convention.  Almis Kuolas was elected as the first President of the newly established CLYA and in that role joined the national executive of the LCC.  Local chapters of LCC followed suit, and where possible CLYA youth representatives joined local LCC executives, thus becoming spokespersons for Lithuanian youth in Canada.

Prepared by: Lithuanian Museum-Archives of Canada
Editing and translation: Gabija Petrauskienė

Sources
Gaida Pr. Et.al., „Lithuanians in Canada“, Toronto, 1967
Canadian Lithuanian Community, Canadian Lithuanian Days commemorative programs
Canadian Lithuanian Community, Kanados lietuvių organizacijos, Toronto, 2002
Spauda.org digital newspaper and magazine repository
(Independent Lithuania, Lights of Homeland, Moteris, Draugas)
LMAC archive collection

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