Feature Article - June 2008
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A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

Innovative Programming

Hand-in-hand with increasing user participation goes creating innovative programming to draw them in, and indeed, this was the fifth issue most commonly listed as a current concern by survey respondents.

The most common programs included by all facilities included holidays and other special events, day camps and summer camps, and fitness programs, all of which were offered by more than half of the survey respondents.

Other more commonly offered programs include educational programs, sports tournaments and races, swimming programs, youth sports teams, programs for active older adults, mind/body balance programs like yoga and tai chi, and adult sports teams. (See Figure 23.)

Among respondents from parks and recreation departments and districts the top programs offered largely followed the trends for the general survey population, with holidays and special events, day camps and summer camps and youth sports teams all offered by more than seven out of 10 respondents in this category. Unlike the general population, parks and recreation respondents were also likely to provide environmental education programs, which is reflective of many parks' mission to get more people outdoors.

For colleges and universities, fitness tops the list of programs currently offered. More than three-quarters of respondents in this category indicated that they currently include fitness programs at their facilities. Other programs included by more than half of respondents at colleges and universities included sports tournaments and races, educational programs, mind-body balance programs, individual sports like running clubs and swim clubs (though this was the least common program included by all types of facilities, at just 8.7 percent), personal training and aquatic exercise.

For schools and school districts, the programs one would expect to be most common—youth sports teams and daycare and preschool programs—do indeed top the list, followed by sports tournaments and races, fitness programs and individual sports activities.

There are no real surprises in the health club category either, where fitness programs and personal training are provided by more than 85 percent of respondents. Mind-body balance programs, nutrition and diet counseling, and programs for active older adults are also included by more than half of these respondents.