As the Y celebrates its 175th anniversary this week in London, influential young people from all over the world will meet to discuss current issues and bold ideas at YMC175. Jayden Parsons is one of a handful of Australians who will attend on behalf of the Y in Australia.
As a rather opinionated teenager, Jayden was first introduced to the Y after his high school suggested he take part in the Queensland Youth Parliament. During his tenure, Jayden was so struck by the impact that the program was having on himself and the young people around him that he began looking for ways to give back to the organisation.
Soon enough, Jayden was presented with the opportunity to participate in the Y’s Inspired Leaders Program. Not long after that he became a member of the program’s facilitation team, before finally moving into his current position as Youth Development Coordinator and founder of his own original program, ‘mYnd-pump’.
mYnd-pump aims to involve young people in physical activity as a means of improving their mental health, a cause Jayden holds particularly dear.
“My struggles with my own mental health came from be being physically inactive, so I personally knew the impact that exercise can have,” explains Jayden. “mYnd-pump came about from my passion for mental health and my desire to teach people, particularly young people, about the benefit of physical and mental health.”
While mYnd-pump’s core mission is to educate young people on the relationship between physical and mental wellbeing, Jayden also stresses the equally crucial community aspect of the program. “The difference with mYnd-pump is that we do it in a group environment, so the focus is on the social side of things and the community it creates,” explains Jayden.
With mYnd-pump spreading across Brisbane, Jayden has been asked to share his brainchild with the rest of the international movement at YMCA175. “It’s very exciting,” says Jayden. “It’s my passion project and I want to take it as far as it can go, so we can have an impact on as many young people as we can.”
Jayden’s excited to see what the future holds for mYnd-pump after YMCA175, but in the meantime, he’s looking forward to pushing on and creating a million more moments he can be proud of.