Feature Article - June 2011
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A Look at Trends in YMCAs

By Emily Tipping


Respondents from YMCAs tend to offer more programming and a wider variety of programming than many other respondents. The top programs currently found among their facilities include:

  1. Holiday events and other special events (90.2 percent)
  2. Fitness programs (88.5 percent)
  3. Mind-body/balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (86.1 percent)
  4. Youth sports teams (86.1 percent)
  5. Personal training (85.2 percent)
  6. Day camps and summer camps (83.6 percent)
  7. Programming for active older adults (82 percent)
  8. Swimming programs (80.3 percent)
  9. Aquatic exercise programs (79.5 percent)
  10. Teen programming (76.2 percent)

YMCA respondents also were more likely than most other respondents (with the exception of those from community and private recreation and sports centers) to indicate that they had plans to offer additional programming within the next three years. Some 40.7 percent of YMCA respondents had plans to add more programming. Their top choices for expanded programs included:

  1. Teen programming
  2. Nutrition and diet counseling
  3. Performing arts programs
  4. Educational programs
  5. Individual sports activities
  6. Adult sports teams
  7. Arts and crafts
  8. Therapeutic programs
  9. Sport training
  10. Youth sports teams

Teen programming was far and away the most common planned program addition, with more than 15.4 percent of YMCA respondents reporting that they had plans to increase their programming for this audience. This is reflected on the YMCA of the USA Web site, where photos of teens and stories about the success of programs in reaching them are prominent. Day camps for teens are also common among JCCs, and Boys and Girls Clubs offer educational support, digital and financial literacy programs and much more aimed at educating and empowering teens.