Feature Article - June 2015
Find a printable version here

2015 State of the Industry

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


Respondents from YMCAs are the most likely to require certifications, with 97.8 percent of these respondents currently requiring certifications of some kind for their staff members. They were followed by health clubs, where 95.9 percent of respondents require certifications, and schools, where 85.6 percent require certification. Respondents from camps were the least likely to require certifications, with 73.6 percent of camp respondents reporting that they are required. (See Figure 20.)

A majority of respondents require certification in CPR/AED/First Aid, with 88 percent requiring such certifications, as well as background checks (81.7 percent), and lifeguard certifications (59.4 percent). More than a third (33.7 percent) also require aquatic management and pool operations certifications. A quarter or more require food service (25.2 percent) or pesticide application (25 percent) certifications. (See Figure 21.)

Respondents from YMCAs are the most likely to require many types of certifications, including CPR/AED/First Aid (97.7 percent of YMCA respondents require them); background checks (91.7 percent); lifeguard (85.7 percent); aquatic management and pool operations (51.9 percent); and childcare/early childhood education (51.9 percent).

Parks respondents are the most likely to require pesticide application certification (43.4 percent of parks respondents require it); playground safety (36.9 percent); turf/grounds management (14.2 percent); Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) (21.1 percent); and security or law enforcement (10.1 percent).

Respondents from camp facilities are the most likely to require food service certification (57.8 percent of camp respondents require it) and climbing certification (38.3 percent).

School respondents are the most likely to require coaching certification (66.5 percent require it) and teaching certification (60.5 percent).

Health club respondents are the most likely to require personal training and fitness certifications (80.3 percent of these respondents require it); and college respondents are the most likely to require athletic trainer certifications (30.6 percent require it).

Facilities & Construction Plans

Since 2013, we have been asking survey participants about the age of their main facility. On average, respondents' facilities have aged from 27.5 years old in 2013 to 31.2 years old in 2015. Only 8.1 percent of respondents in 2015 reported that their main facility was 5 years old or less, down from 9.3 percent in 2014. Another 10.9 percent have facilities that are between 6 and 10 years old. More than a fifth (21.4 percent) reported their main facility is between 11 and 20 years old, and 16.9 percent said their facility was 21 to 30 years old. A large number of respondents-42.7 percent-indicated that their facilities were at least 31 years old, up from 41.3 percent in 2014. What's more, 29.7 percent are operating a main facility that is at least 41 years old. And, 14.2 percent of respondents said their main facility is at least 50 years old.

Respondents from health clubs report having the newest facilities, though on average, health club respondents' main facility is 24.6 years old. (See Figure 22.) They were followed by colleges and universities at 26 years and community recreation centers at 26.4 years old. Some 13.7 percent of health club respondents indicated that their main facility was 5 years old or younger. They were followed by colleges and universities (11.9 percent) and community centers (10.7 percent).

The oldest facilities were found among camp respondents, who report an average age for their main facility of 50.2 years. In fact, not a single camp respondent reported having a facility newer than five years old, and 37.6 percent of camp respondents indicated that their main facility is more than 50 years old. They were followed by YMCAs, with an average age of 35 years, and 19.3 percent reporting their facility is 50 years old or older.