YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs

A Look at Trends in YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs

While we refer to the facilities covered in this section as "YMCAs," the respondents covered here include YMCAs, as well as YWCAs, Jewish Community Centers (JCCs), and Boys & Girls Clubs. In 2013 these respondents represent 19.4 percent of the survey respondents.

While YMCA respondents have typically been mostly from the Northeast in former years, this year, the greatest number of YMCA respondents are from the Midwest, with 29.4 percent of the YMCA response. They were followed by the Northeast (25.2 percent), South Atlantic (21 percent), West (13.4 percent) and South Central (10.9 percent) regions.

The greatest number of YMCA respondents were from suburban communities. Nearly half of YMCA respondents (48.3 percent) indicated that they were located in the suburbs. Another 30.5 percent were in rural communities, and 21.2 percent were in urban areas.

The vast majority of YMCA respondents indicated that they worked for private nonprofit organizations. Some 92.4 percent were private nonprofits. This compares with 17.1 percent of non-YMCA facilities. Another 5.9 percent of YMCA respondents said they were public organizations.

YMCA respondents manage three facilities, on average. This group of respondents was highly likely to report that they managed three or fewer facilities. Some 82.4 percent of YMCA respondents said they managed between one and three facilities, compared with 57.5 percent of non-YMCA respondents.

Once again, YMCA respondents were among those most likely to form partnerships with other organizations. Some 96.6 percent of YMCA respondents indicated that they form such partnerships, compared with 90.2 percent of non-YMCA respondents. The most common partners for YMCAs include local schools (85.7 percent of YMCA respondents partner with them), nonprofit organizations (69.7 percent) and local government (68.1 percent). More than half also report that they partner with corporate or local businesses (65.5 percent), healthcare and medical facilities (55.5 percent), or other YMCAs (52.1 percent). (See Figure 53.)

YMCA respondents were highly likely to indicate that their primary audience for their main facility was all ages. More than half (52.9 percent) of YMCA respondents said they reached all ages, compared with 40.1 percent of non-YMCAs. Another 23.5 percent of YMCA respondents said adults are their primary audience. Smaller numbers named children (18.5 percent), teens (3.4 percent) and seniors (1.4 percent) as their main audience.

Revenues & Expenditures

Respondents from YMCAs were among those most likely to report increasing revenues in all the years covered by the survey. While less than half (47.5 percent) in 2012 reported that their revenues had increased from 2010 to 2011, in 2013, 59 percent reported increasing revenues from 2011 to 2012. Another 17.1 percent said their revenues had fallen in that year. Looking forward, more than six in 10 YMCA respondents expect further increases to revenues in 2013 (60.2 percent) and in 2014 (69.5 percent). (See Figure 54.)

YMCA respondents reported a 7 percent decrease in their operating expenditures from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2012, to an average of $2,166,000. They expect a further drop of 0.2 percent in fiscal 2013, to an average of $2,162,000, after which operating costs are expected to rise again. Even with these decreases, YMCAs project their operating expenditures will be 54.4 percent higher than the across-the-board average in fiscal 2014, with YMCAs spending $2,339,000 on average in that year.

YMCAs were highly likely to report that they had taken action to reduce their expenditures. Some 94.8 percent of YMCAs had taken such actions, compared with 86.3 percent of all respondents. The most common actions YMCA respondents took to reduce their expenditures included: increasing energy efficiency (67 percent of YMCAs), increasing fees (56.5 percent) and reducing staff (49.6 percent).

YMCA Facilities

Around two-thirds (66.4 percent) of YMCA respondents said the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2011 to 2012—a big jump from 2011, when 53.5 percent saw such an increase, and 23.2 percent reported a decrease in usage. The percentage reporting a decrease also fell, to 9.2 percent who reported a decrease in usage from 2011 to 2012. Looking ahead, more than two-thirds of YMCA respondents expect to see further increases from 2012 to 2013 (67.8 percent) and from 2013 to 2014 (67 percent). (See Figure 55.)

YMCA respondents were the most likely to report that they charge a fee for membership. Some 96.6 percent of YMCAs charge such a fee, compared with 57.2 percent of non-YMCA respondents. They also were among the most likely to report that they had raised fees in 2012. Nearly four in 10 (38.6 percent) YMCA respondents raised fees in 2012, compared with 30.5 percent of non-YMCA respondents. Looking forward, nearly half of YMCA respondents expect that they will raise their fees in 2013 (48.2 percent) and in 2014 (49.1 percent).

YMCA respondents were slightly more likely in 2013 than in 2012 to report that they have plans for construction over the next three years. While 63.4 percent had such plans in 2012, this year, 65.5 percent indicated they have construction plans. Nearly half (47.9 percent) will be undertaking renovations, while 31.1 percent plan to add to their existing facilities, and 22.7 percent will be building new facilities. (See Figure 56.)

YMCA respondents were more likely than non-YMCA respondents to have construction plans. While 65.5 percent of YMCA respondents will be building over the next three years, 62.6 percent of non-YMCA respondents have such plans. YMCAs are more likely than non-YMCA respondents to be planning additions (31.1 percent vs. 26.4 percent) as well as renovations (47.9 percent vs. 45.3 percent).

YMCA respondents reported a decline in the amount they plan to spend on their construction again this year. After reporting a decrease of 27.8 percent between 2011 and 2012, this year saw a more modest decline of 6.2 percent from an average planned construction budget of $3,771,000 in 2012 to an average $3,536,000 in 2013. Interestingly, this brings planned construction spending at YMCAs below the across-the-board average for the first time. YMCAs plan to spend 14.6 percent less than the average for all respondents on their construction.

There was little change in the amenities included at YMCA facilities. The top features currently included in YMCA respondents' facilities include: locker rooms, fitness centers, exercise studio spaces, classrooms and meeting rooms, indoor sports courts for games like basketball or volleyball, indoor aquatic facilities, childcare centers, bleachers and seating, playgrounds, and community centers. Open spaces like gardens and fields, as well as concession areas dropped off of last year's list, as community centers and childcare centers rose onto the list this year.

Some 37 percent of YMCA respondents said they have plans to add more features to their facilities over the next three years, compared with 38.8 percent of non-YMCA respondents.

The most commonly planned additions for these respondents include:

  1. Splash play areas (40.9 percent of YMCA respondents with plans to add features)
  2. Climbing walls (18.2 percent)
  3. Exercise studio spaces (18.2 percent)
  4. Classrooms & meeting rooms (15.9 percent)
  5. Concessions (15.9 percent)
  6. Locker rooms (15.9 percent)
  7. Indoor aquatic facilities (15.9 percent)
  8. Playgrounds (13.6 percent)
  9. Fitness center (13.6 percent)
  10. Childcare center (13.6 percent)

Splash play areas saw a dramatic increase in the number of YMCA respondents who plan to add them in 2013. While 29.7 percent had plans to add splash play areas in 2012, in 2013 that number rises to 40.9 percent. New features on the list in 2013 include climbing walls, classrooms and meeting rooms, concession areas, and childcare centers. They replace waterparks, natural turf sports fields, bleachers and seating and indoor sports courts.


Every single YMCA respondent covered by the survey offers programming of one kind or another. The most common programs found among YMCA respondents' facilities include: day camps and summer camps (offered by 89.8 percent of YMCA respondents); holiday events and other special events (89.8 percent); fitness programs (89 percent); youth sports teams (88.1 percent); mind-body/balance programs like yoga, tai chi and martial arts (83.1 percent); swimming programs (80.5 percent); teen programming (78.8 percent); programs for active older adults (78 percent); aquatic exercise programs (75.4 percent); and educational programs (74.6 percent).

While no area showed an increase over 2012, aquatic exercise programs did rise to appear on the list, replacing personal training.

Some 37 percent of YMCA respondents indicated that they have plans to add programs at their facilities over the next three years, compared with 29.8 percent of non-YMCA respondents. The top 10 planned program additions include:

  1. Sport-specific training, such as golf or tennis lessons (no change from 2012)
  2. Performing arts programs, such as dance, theater and music (up from No. 3)
  3. Environmental education (did not appear in 2012)
  4. Nutrition/diet counseling (down from No. 2)
  5. Educational programs (did not appear in 2012)
  6. Teen programming (down from No. 4)
  7. Youth sports teams (did not appear in 2012)
  8. Mind-body/balance programs (no change)
  9. Arts and crafts (did not appear in 2012)
  10. Day camps and summer camps (did not appear in 2012)

There was a great deal of change, once again, in the top planned programs among YMCA respondents. Many types of programs dropped off the list from 2012, including trips, sports tournaments and races, fitness programs, programs for active older adults and adult sports teams. Many other programs that were not included in the top 10 last year rose to appear on the list, including environmental education, educational programs, youth sports teams, arts and crafts, and day camps and summer camps. Sport-specific training remains the No. 1 planned program among YMCA respondents for the second year in a row, after jumping from the No. 9 spot in 2011.

© Copyright 2020 Recreation Management. All rights reserved.