Young people talk about YMCA’s Why Not Campaign


YMCA believes in the power of inspired young people and aims to bring to life the voices of young people through the “Why Not” campaign.

YMCA WA CEO Ross Kyrwood said “Young people have and always will shape the future, but only when they are inspired, empowered and heard. We hope that through this campaign YMCA can be the vehicle to highlight important issues that young people care deeply about.”

The inspiration for the campaign was born from the “YMCA Voice of Young People in Australia Report 2017” which has revealed the primary issues facing today’s youth where they feel unheard and powerless. The issues are Youth unemployment ranking first (87%), closely followed by marriage equality (86%) and mental health (80%).

Oscar Kaspi-Crutchett is a sixteen year old high school student who is very passionate about marriage equality.  Oscar said “As someone who is in a same-sex relationship, the issue of equal marriage rights isn't just political for me. It's personal. Not being able to have the option of marriage available for me and the person I love really hurts. I believe the achievement of marriage rights needs to happen as soon as possible.”

Tia Sandhu is twenty years old and manages YMCA WA’s Mike Barnett Sports Complex she said, “There is a lot of work to do around mental health and I think we’re only starting to scrape the surface by talking about it now. I’m a huge advocate for trying to break down the taboo of talking about mental health in the workplace, and in the last year I’ve dealt with a lot of my own mental health battles as well as those close to me.”

Alex Pannell is a 21 year old university student who said “I think the high unemployment rates are a big problem for people with university degrees and for those who are going into trade and other fields as well. I also think the increasing prevalence of workforce casualization and part-time work has also led to a significant issue especially for people aged 23-24 who are looking to buy their first home and things like that.”

Adam Kovalevs is 21 years old and was the youngest person voted onto Local Council for the City of Swan. He is urging young people to get involved in the campaign.  

Adam said “It is easy to feel that the voice of youth is overlooked or undervalued, it may even be true at times. This is why I encourage people to take advantage of opportunities that are presented to be heard. Speak up for what you believe in, be an active part of the conversation and support others to do the same.”

“The YMCA Why Not campaign provides a genuine platform for young people to not only be heard by people of influence but to become people of influence.”

International artist Boy George officially launched the campaign with the reimaging of the hit YMCA song by the Village People.

Ross said “By embracing the song in a new light we want to show the community that we are here for young people and they are not alone in the issues they are passionate about. The song talks about young people realising their dreams and acknowledging they can’t do it by themselves.”

The campaign encourages everyone to visit where people can read more on the issues.

Ross said, “We acknowledge that YMCA doesn’t have all the answers to these issues, but we believe young people do – and we need to hear their voices and ideas.”  

Category: Youth