Feature Article - June 2008
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Helping Build Healthy Communities

The top 10 amenities respondents from YMCAs, YWCAs and JCCs were planning to add within the next three years included:

  1. Climbing walls
  2. Exercise studios
  3. Locker rooms
  4. Challenge courses
  5. Classrooms or meeting rooms
  6. Indoor aquatic facilities
  7. Splash play areas
  8. Community centers or multipurpose centers
  9. Fitness centers
  10. Indoor sports courts

Programming at YMCAs is largely dominated by a focus on family and community needs, but these facilities have plans in place to address some of the larger health issues confronting Americans by helping them learn to get more active and manage their weight.

The most common programs found at YMCA, YWCA and JCC respondents in our survey—all offered by at least 80 percent of facilities—included:

  1. Day camps and summer camps (93.9 percent)
  2. Fitness programs (92.2 percent)
  3. Swimming (88.7 percent)
  4. Holidays and other special events (88.7 percent)
  5. Programs for active older adults (87 percent)
  6. Personal training (87 percent)
  7. Youth sports teams (87 percent)
  8. Mind-body balance (85.2 percent)
  9. Aquatic exercise (85.2 percent)
  10. Teen programming (80 percent)

When it comes to plans for adding new programming, YMCAs and similar facilities can often be found at the cutting edge. Not surprisingly, with the Y's push to incorporate programs that aim to encourage people to eat healthier, the most common program they are planning to add was nutrition and diet counseling. Some 22.6 percent of these respondents planned to add such a program. Other programs many YMCAs, YWCAs and JCCs are planning to add over the next three years include: sports activities for individuals like running clubs and lap swimming, performing arts programs, therapeutic programs, educational programs, programs designed specifically for active older adults and for teens, climbing, mind-body balance programs like yoga and tai chi, and special-needs programming.