On Friday, children were bustling in the courtyard of the President’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania ‒ it was due to the Olympic Picnic, which has already become a tradition inviting everyone to celebrate the International Children’s Day together.
For the second year in a row, the initiative of the country’s First Lady Diana Nausėdienė and the National Olympic Committee of Lithuania (LNOC) brought together more than 350 children, including 58 children from Ukraine living in Lithuania and attending the Ukrainian Centre and the Gravitas Schola School. During the event, participants were invited to try different sports activities and experience the joy of movement through games.
“We have gathered here today because we all like to spend time actively and exercise. We don’t need to be convinced that it’s not only enjoyable but also good for our health. It is more difficult to convince others that sport builds self-confidence, teaches respect for oneself and others, motivates healthy lifestyles, brings joy and brings communities together. I hope that more children and families start loving sport. The common goal of parents, teachers and coaches is to create a happier, more sustainable and healthier future for children,” Mrs Nausėdienė expressed her delight, joining the children after her welcome speech and trying out all the activities together with them.
President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda greeted the children and joined in the activities together with the First Lady, paying sincere attention to all participants.
Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, expressed his gratitude for a warm welcome of Ukrainian children at the event and celebrated together with the young athletes.
Olympic champion, LNOC President Daina Gudzinevičiūtė also paid a visit to the event and tried out the activities together with the participants, in her welcome speech inviting the children to discover the joy of sport.
“On this symbolic day, I am especially delighted to witness how much joy physical activity brings to children and how much they enjoy playing sport. I would like to thank the educators who help the little ones experience the joy of movement and contribute to a healthier society.
I am glad that Ukrainian children are also taking part in this celebration, who feel taken care of, loved and, most importantly, safe in Lithuania.
This is the second year in a row that we have been celebrating the International Children’s Day at the President’s Office. We are extremely grateful to the President and Ms Diana not only for jointly fostering this beautiful tradition together, but also for their wholehearted support for the promotion of children’s physical activity. Their support inspires both us and the educators to work even harder to ensure that the little ones have enough motivation to play sports,” said Ms Gudzinevičiūtė in her welcome speech.
Mindaugas Bilius, President of the Lithuanian Paralympic Committee, who also paid a visit to the young athletes, thanked them for their sincere partnership and for the inclusion of children with special needs.
Olympian, track-and-fields athlete, javelin thrower Edis Matusevičius, canoer Artūras Seja, marathon runner Asta Garunkšnytė, and Olympian, canoer Mindaugas Maldonis were among the Lithuanian athletes who came to the festivity to show attention towards the children and share motivation.
The event culminated in a symbolic awards ceremony, during which all participants were declared winners and awarded commemorative medals. Immediately afterwards, everyone was invited to sit down on the lawn of the Courtyard of the President’s Office to enjoy healthy snacks and chat with the guests.
The country’s First Lady, who invited children to the courtyard of the President’s Office for the second year in a row, being an active supporter of the LNOC’s Olympic education projects, is the patron of the projects Lithuanian Children Games and the Olympic Month, and constantly speaks about the importance of physical literacy in Lithuania.