Feature Article - June 2010
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A Look at Trends in Schools and School Districts


Programming options among schools and school districts differ greatly from those among other facility types, with a heavier emphasis on sports, in particular.

The top 10 programs currently included by schools respondents included:

  1. Youth sports teams
  2. Educational programs
  3. Fitness programs
  4. Sports tournaments or races
  5. Swimming programming (swim teams, swim lessons, etc.)
  6. Performing arts (dance, theater, music)
  7. Sport training (lessons and instruction)
  8. Individual sports activities (running club, swim club, etc.)
  9. Special needs programs
  10. Adult sports teams

Just 14 percent of schools respondents said they had plans to add more programs to their lineup over the next three years. The most popular choices among these respondents included:

  1. Fitness programs (also No. 1 last year)
  2. Educational programs (up from No. 3)
  3. Youth sports teams (down from No. 2)
  4. Mind-body/balance programs like yoga, tai chi and pilates (up from No. 5)
  5. Day camps and summer camps (not included by last year's respondents)
  6. Sports tournaments or races (down from No. 4)
  7. Arts and crafts (not included by last year's respondents)
  8. Swimming programs (also No. 8 last year)
  9. Adult sports teams (down from No. 6)
  10. Special needs programs (not included by last year'srespondents)

A recent report from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) highlighted the importance of providing sports activities to children. The report states that while fitness leads the way in terms of participation among Americans age 6 and older, the "gateway" to physically active lives is found in team sports. "Many Americans initially get introduced to athletic activities through team sports organized by local recreation centers or by their schools," the association stated.

The top sports for Americans age 6 and older in 2009 included: basketball (24 million participants), outdoor soccer (13.8 million), baseball (13.7 million), touch football (nearly 9 million), and slow-pitch softball (8.5 million).