When you hear the opening line, “Young mind, there’s no need to feel down”, it feels instantly familiar. And yet, it feels new and exciting.
On 28 August 2023, Canadian band Walk off The Earth released a new take on the 1978 song made famous worldwide by The Village People. Working with YMCA Canada, this “Y.M.C.A.” version adapts the lyrics to spotlight Y Mind, a youth mental wellness program that is now available in 20-plus associations across Canada.
“The reception to the song has been very positive”, said Kelly Hardy, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for YMCA Canada. “When you work at the YMCA and hear the song, it may be cheesy or funny. But there’s a sense of pride, too. And with this version, I think it reminds people of why they are proud to work at a charity providing this type of programming”.
From the beginning
In January 2023, YMCA Canada received CAN $6.9 million from the Government of Canada to support its Y Mind and Mind Medicine programmes. Y Mind started successfully in British Columbia, and the grant enabled the YMCA to scale that programme across the country.
They reserved a portion of the grant for public relations and discussed campaigns to bring awareness to youth mental health in general and the Y Mind programme specifically. Having previously worked with global communications firm Edelman, YMCA Canada enlisted their support to promote Y Mind, and they came up with the idea of reimagining the “Y.M.C.A”.