Urdd Gobaith Cymru are currently celebrating their 100th anniversary in style by working with their partners to promote events such as the National Schools Rugby 7s and the Urban Games - whilst also marking their birthday in fine fashion by breaking world records.
The Urdd is Wales’ largest youth organisation and they have provided opportunities for more than four million young people to enjoy sporting, cultural, volunteering and residential experiences through the medium of Welsh.
Many children growing up in Wales would have gone on school trips to places such as Llangrannog and Glan-llyn, whilst also taking part in sporting events or Eisteddfods organised by the Urdd.
The Urdd and its supporters honoured the milestone by breaking the Guinness World Record for the most videos of people singing the same song uploaded to Facebook and Twitter in a one-hour period.
There were 1,176 videos of people singing “Hei Mistar Urdd”, posted to Twitter and over 800 to Facebook. The songs were uploaded on the 25th January which is the official birthday of the Urdd.
“We wanted to do something really significant to mark and celebrate the Urdd’s centenary and it needed to be something that could involve all our members, past and present,” says Sian Lewis, who is the chief executive of the Urdd.
“Achieving two Guinness World Records was just the thing. It was great to see all our members ranging from schools, sporting clubs, volunteers and businesses taking part.
“It was an opportunity for us to thank everyone who has played a small or significant part in making the Urdd an important movement for the people of Wales.”
The Covid-19 pandemic proved to be a challenging time for the Urdd but they are now looking to the future and have a range of new events and plans in place to round off their centenary year.
“There is no doubt that the period since March 2020 has been the most challenging in our history,” adds Lewis.
“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to close our camps and our regular community, sporting and cultural activities had to stop.
“However, we are rebuilding, and the year of our centenary will be one to remember, with the plans of every department reflecting our spirit and ambition.”
Sport plays a pivotal part in promoting the Welsh language for the Urdd and their sports director Gary Lewis was pleased to have been able to have offered a service to young people during the pandemic.
“During Covid, we offered digital sports lessons through a project called Actif Adref,” says Lewis.
“This gave primary aged children the opportunity to try a range of different sports such as gymnastics, football, rugby and basketball and it was great to link up with different partners such as Sport Wales and the FAW.
“Over 2,000 children and young people engaged in our weekly online sessions and it was important for us to show our commitment to young people during the pandemic and to make sure they didn’t miss out.”