Feature Article - June 2007
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General Survey Results

Not surprisingly, fitness programs are most popular among health clubs and sports clubs, with 96.7 percent of these facilities providing fitness programming of one kind or another. Most YMCAs (89.1 percent) also provide fitness programming, and 81.3 percent of colleges and universities do so as well. Mind/body balance programming like yoga, Pilates and tai chi is also popular among health clubs and sports clubs (with 88.5 percent offering such programs), as well as YMCAs (89.1 percent of which offer such programs).

Day camps and summer camps are primarily found at YMCAs, 92.1 percent of which offer these programs, and youth camps and private camps (for obvious reasons), 89.2 percent of which offer these programs.

Youth sports teams are most commonly found at the YMCA or via a park district, with 88.1 percent of YMCAs and 72.7 percent of park districts offering team sports like basketball, baseball, football, softball and soccer for kids. Adult sports teams, on the other hand, were more commonly found among military installations (68.8 percent of which provide adult sports activities), park districts (62.8 percent) and YMCAs (61.4 percent).

Arts and crafts-that bastion of community centers everywhere-was most popular for youth camps and private camps, with 76.9 percent providing this type of program, as well as park districts and YMCAs, with 68.7 percent and 68.3 percent providing this type of option, respectively.

As facilities of all kinds respond to the need to attract more patrons, program options will change in the next several years.

The top 12 programs that facilities across the board are planning to add in the next three years include:

  • Environmental education programs, including trail guides, birdwatching and more
  • Fitness programs, including cardio, strength and aerobics classes
  • Mind/body balance programs, including yoga, Pilates, tai chi and martial arts
  • Educational programs
  • Nutrition/diet counseling
  • Teen programming
  • Active older adult programming
  • Day camps and summer camps
  • Performing arts such as dance, music and theater
  • Adult sports teams, including football, soccer, volleyball and so on
  • Aquatic exercise programs
  • Holiday events and other special events

Environmental education programs were the most common option selected by parks and recreation departments as well as youth camps and private camps. Fitness programs were the most popular program selected by resorts and resort hotels, as well as schools and school districts. Mind/body balance programs were the most common program selected by respondents from military installations. Nutrition and diet counseling was the number-one choice of colleges and universities, as well as health clubs and sports clubs. YMCAs chose adult sports teams as the number-one program to be added over the next several years.

The following pages will discuss these findings in much greater detail with respect to regional information and types of communities, whether an urban city center or a rural countryside. Further sections will look more specifically at parks and recreation departments, colleges and universities, schools and school districts, YMCAs and health clubs, with glances as the major issues driving decisions of respondents from all types of facilities, as well as expert analysis.

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