Urdd Gobaith Cymru is a National Voluntary Youth Organisation with over 55,000 members aged 8-25 years. Since 1922, the organisation has provided opportunities for children and young people to enjoy experiences through the medium of Welsh. A team of 210 staff and 10,000 volunteers deliver arts, sports and social opportunities for the children and young people of Wales.
The Urdd has always been a part of my life. From singing cerdd dant solos to competing in The International Pan Celtic Festival. From using my voice on the Anglesey youth forum to giving members a voice as president. From Paris to Patagonia, the list of opportunities the Urdd has given me is endless. Growing up, I was shy and kept myself to myself, but the confidence I've developed, thanks to the Urdd, has shaped my future.
I am now proud to be part of a team driving the Urdd into the new century as 2022 marks the movement’s centenary. 55,000 young people are members of the Urdd - it is Europe's largest youth organisation. The ethos established back in 1922 is just as strong today – simply, enjoy a wealth of opportunities through the medium of Welsh while remembering to give something back to the community.
The Residential Centre in Cardiff has recently been home to refugee families from Afghanistan. In March we organized a conference calling for equality for women in sport. By now over half the Urdd members are from non-Welsh speaking homes. The Urdd is racing on into the next century and breaking down all barriers along the way.
From Wales to the world
On 18 May every year the young people of Wales send a peace and goodwill message to young people all over the world. This is the only message of its kind in the world - and it is delivered in 65 languages. Over the years the Message’s topics have included the atomic bomb, refugees, poverty, war and violence and this year the message focuses on the climate crisis. The message’s reach is now unbelievable thanks to social media.
The Urdd has also established a transatlantic partnership with Alabama. I was one of the lucky ones who visited in April and was given the opportunity to perform and learn more about civil rights history and gospel singing culture. We also hope that the University of Alabama at Birmingham Gospel Choir will be able to travel to Wales to perform in 2023.
The doors of the four Urdd residential centres are open to all. From families to groups of friends, to those looking for adventurous experiences. Set in beautiful locations across Wales, from the Ceredigion coast to the shores of Llyn Tegid and a city centre experience in Cardiff Bay – Urdd holidays really offer something for everyone.
Wales’ first environmental camp will open in Pentre Ifan, Pembrokeshire this year.
Pentre Ifan will be a digital escape encouraging young people to connect with their environmental and cultural landscape and experience a more sustainable lifestyle. Young people will grow and harvest their food from the garden kitchen and cook along in the green-powered outdoor kitchen.
The Triban Triangle
The Urdd National Eisteddfod is one of Europe's largest travelling festivals with over 15,000 children and young people competing each year. But there's more to the Eisteddfod than just competing, with a whole host of gigs, workshops and acoustic performances to entertain in Denbighshire. An exciting addition this year is the Triban Festival on the last weekend of the Eisteddfod with bands, street food and a bar.
Clubs and competitions
As well as running 300 weekly sports clubs throughout the year, as part of the centenary celebrations, the Urdd Sports Department hosted Wales' largest youth rugby tournament in partnership with the Welsh Rugby Union this year, and from 17-19 June Cardiff Bay will be transformed into the home of the new Urban Games event, with competitions such as BMX and scooting, wheelchair basketball and skateboarding.