YMCA Canada Promotes Healthy Kids in Unified Brand Platform


YMCA Canada

The just-released 2015 YMCA Canada Healthy Kids Report reveals that 85 percent of Canadian parents find it an effort to be healthy role models. Furthermore, 35 percent don’t think their 6- to 12-year-olds are getting enough physical activity on a weekly basis.

The YMCA commissioned Nielsen for the study of 1,760 individuals in Canada, which was focused on the developmental and health needs of children during the critical middle years and the importance of good role models.

YMCA Canada

Key findings from the study:

  • 71 percent of parents surveyed said they were role models for and have a lot of influence on their child.
  • Only 28 percent of those who said they were a role model to their child identified themselves as “excellent’ role models for their children, ranking outside influences as higher including athletes (56 percent), coaches (51 percent) and teachers (38 percent).
  • Parents find it difficult to lead healthy and active lives, with only half surveyed saying they get more than the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise per week.
  • Only 42 percent of parents say their child gets the recommended 7 hours of physical activity per week.
  • 46 percent of parents cite lack of time as the biggest barrier to participating in activities with their children.

YMCA Canada

“A good starting point for parents who want to promote active living with their child is to have an open conversation together on how to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle,” saistated Virginia Dimoglou, Assistant GM, YMCA, in a press release.

“This is why we’re promoting #convoswithourkids over social media as well as providing tips and encouraging parents to make simple changes to model healthy behaviours for their families,” she added.

Kids have their own ideas about what makes them healthy, as seen in this video.

The Y is also hosting YMCA Healthy Kids Day across Canada on June 7 to reinforce the research. “Children between the ages of 6 and 12 are at an important stage of their development and this is a key time for instilling healthy behaviour and habits,” stated Scott Haldane, President & CEO, YMCA Canada. “While parents may find it difficult to find time in their schedules, local YMCAs offer a wealth of family-friendly programs and activities that can make getting active together easier.”

YMCAs have been in Canada for over 165 years, and the Canadian YMCA Federation is made up of 50 independent Member Associations serving more than 2 million people in 1,000+ locations each year.

“Back in 2011, each of our independent Associations had their own visual and verbal identity,” Meghan Reddick, VP Marketing and Communications, YMCA Canada, told brandchannel. “While each Association was independently supporting and nurturing the potential of kids, we weren’t collaborating on campaigns like this. It would be challenging to get everyone aligned.”

The YMCA worked with Interbrand to create the underlying masterbrand across Canada with a common visual and verbal identity.

“Fast forward to today, we are now able to implement campaigns like this across Canada that truly resonate in all markets,” said Reddick. “Collaboration is key. As a Federation, collaboration is in our DNA. We’ve been sharing and engaging for hundreds of years. However, with our new brand strategy, it makes it easier to implement campaigns like YMCA Healthy Kids Day.”

“When you combine the power of all our 50 Member Associations, we can tap into our dedicated staff and volunteers to become brand ambassadors also,” added Reddick. “Collectively, with full- and part-time staff, the Y in Canada has more than 22,000 staff and 27,000 volunteers serving more than 2.3 million people annually.”

“In the digital space, it’s even more important to be aligned. So social is a big strategy of ours. We are promoting YMCA Healthy Kids Day via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, using #YMCAHealthyKids. By working together under one masterbrand strategy, we can have a greater voice to affect change, helping Canadians achieve their health goals.”

The YMCA encourages families across Canada to connect with YMCA.ca/HealthyKids to find out more about their local YMCA Healthy Kids Day activities on June 7.

YMCA Canada


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