Feature Article - June 2009
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A Look at Trends in YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs


YMCAs and other nonprofit recreation and fitness facilities are well-known for cutting-edge programming that reaches out to the community, and this is reflected in the top concerns of these respondents. Unlike other respondents, who were most concerned about equipment and facility maintenance, YMCA respondents reported their top current concerns as:

  1. Marketing and increasing participation (58.8 percent said this is a top concern)
  2. Creating new and innovative programming (47.1 percent)
  3. Youth fitness and wellness (44.1 percent)

All three of these concerns drive the programming offered at these facilities, and surely impact new program plans. The top current programs at YMCA respondents' facilities, currently offered by more than 80 percent of respondents in this category, include:

  1. Holidays and other special events
  2. Day camps and summer camps
  3. Fitness programs
  4. Youth sports teams
  5. Aquatic exercise
  6. Mind-body/balance programs
  7. Swimming
  8. Active older adult programs
  9. Teen programming
  10. Personal training

The top program these facilities are planning to add over the next three years was nutrition and diet counseling. It was followed by educational programs and adult sports teams.

The move to focus on nutrition is reflected on YMCA Healthy Kids Day, when YMCAs across the country invited nearly 800,000 children, parents and community members to celebrate healthy living.

"The YMCA understands that many families in our communities are really struggling to maintain balance in their lives," said Lynne Vaughan, chief innovation officer, YMCA of the USA. "Through YMCA Healthy Kids Day, we give them an opportunity to have fun and be active as a family, as well as provide simple tools they can use all year long to make things a little better and less stressful."

The event emphasizes regular physical activity, nutritious food options and making time to connect as a family. More than 1,800 YMCAs hosted events this year on April 18, offering cooking classes, rock wall climbing, health screening and more.