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Feature Article - June 2018
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2018 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

A Look At What's Happening in Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


Of those respondents that require certification, the most common types of certification required included CPR/AED/First Aid (required by 90.3 percent of those who said they require some staff members to be certified), background checks (83.4 percent), and lifeguard certification (56.3 percent). (See Figure 23.) More than a quarter of respondents also require an aquatic management or pool operations certification (33.8 percent), personal training or fitness certification (28 percent), or foodservice certification (28 percent). More than one in five require a coaching certification (24.7 percent) or a pesticide application certification (23.4 percent).


Respondents from facilities that include aquatic elements were obviously much more likely to require lifeguard and aquatic management or pool operations certifications. While 56.3 percent of all respondents who require certification ask that some staff members achieve lifeguard certification, for those with aquatic facilities, that number jumps to 87.3 percent. And while 33.8 percent of all respondents require aquatic management and pool operations certifications certification, 56.3 percent of those with aquatic facilities do so.

Some facility types were more likely to require certain types of certification than others. Health clubs were the most likely to require CPR/AED training (96.8 percent) and personal training certification (82.5 percent). Ys were the most likely to require background checks (96.1 percent), lifeguard certification (84.2 percent), aquatic management/pool operations certification (53.9 percent), and childcare/early childhood education certification (52.6 percent). Camps were the most likely to require food service certification (59.4 percent), climbing certification (40.6 percent), and security/law enforcement certification (7.8 percent). Schools were the most likely to require coaching (69 percent) and teaching (59.8 percent) certifications. Parks were the most likely to require pesticide application certifications (38 percent), playground safety certification (34.2 percent), Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) certification (23.9 percent) and turf/grounds management certification (13 percent). Finally, colleges were the most likely to require athletic trainer certification (34.7 percent).

Facilities & Construction Plans

Since 2013, we have asked survey participants how old their main facility is. In that time, facilities have aged from an average of 27.5 years in 2013 to 34.4 years in 2018. Only 6.2 percent of respondents said their main facility was 5 years old or less. Another 7.5 percent said their main facility is between 6 and 10 years old. Some 21.3 percent of respondents' main facilities are between 11 and 20 years old. Another 30.7 percent have main facilities that are between 21 and 40 years old. More than one-third (34.3 percent) said their main facility is 41 years old or older. And, more than half of those (17.6 percent of all respondents) said their main facility is at least 50 years old.

The newest facilities are found among health clubs, colleges and community centers. Respondents from health clubs said their main facility is 23.2 years old on average. They were followed by colleges, with an average of 27.5 years, and community centers, at 28.4 years. (See Figure 24.)


The oldest facilities are found among camps and Ys. Camp respondents said their main facility is, on average, 55.1 years old, while Y respondents' main facilities average 40.8 years.