Feature Article - June 2013
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2013 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


Programming

The vast majority (95.9 percent) of survey respondents offer programming of one kind or another. There was little change from last year in the top programs, which include holiday events and other special events (provided by 64.2 percent of respondents), fitness programs (61.4 percent), educational programs (58.9 percent), day camps and summer camps (55.2 percent) and youth sports teams (54.3 percent). (See Figure 27.)

For the most part, there was very little change year-over-year. Some 2.5 percent more in 2013 offer youth sports teams than did so in 2012, while 2.3 percent fewer set up festivals and concerts, and 2.2 percent fewer provide nutrition and diet counseling.

YMCAs are the facility type that most commonly offers most types of programming, with just a few exceptions. Parks are the most likely to offer sport training, and festivals and concerts. Health clubs are the most likely to offer fitness programs, mind-body/balance programs and personal training. And camps are the most likely to offer environmental education, water sports, camping, and climbing programs.

More than three in 10 (30.2 percent) respondents have plans to add additional programming options to their lineup over the next three years. The most commonly planned program additions include:

  1. Educational programs (planned by 28.4 percent of those who will be adding programs)
  2. Fitness programs (26.5 percent)
  3. Mind-body/balance programs like yoga and tai chi (25.5 percent)
  4. Day camps/summer camps (23.4 percent)
  5. Holiday events and other special events (22.4 percent)
  6. Environmental education (21.5 percent)
  7. Teen programming (21.4 percent)
  8. Programs for active older adults (20.9 percent)
  9. Sports tournaments or races (20 percent)
  10. Sport training (19.7 percent)

More respondents this year than last indicate they are planning to add: educational programs (28.4 percent in 2013 vs. 24.1 percent in 2012); mind-body/balance programs (25.5 percent vs. 22.7 percent); day camps and summer camps (23.4 percent vs. 20.9 percent); holiday events and other special events (22.4 percent vs. 20.7 percent); and sports tournaments and races (20 percent vs. 18.1 percent). Sport training appears in the top 10 planned programs this year, replacing adult sports teams, which appeared in the top 10 last year.

Private nonprofit organizations are most likely to be planning to add programs. Some 34.1 percent have such plans, and their top five planned programs include: day camps and summer camps; educational programs; fitness programs; mind-body/balance programs; and sport training.

Public organizations are second most likely to be planning to add programs, with 29.7 percent indicating they had such plans. Their top five planned programs include: educational programs; fitness programs; mind-body/balance programs; holiday events and other special events; and teen programming.

Private for-profit facilities were least likely to indicate they had plans to add programs over the next three years. Some 27 percent indicated they had such plans. Their top five planned programs include: educational programs; festivals and concerts; holiday events and other special events; fitness programs; and mind-body/balance.

For most programming types, community centers are the ones most likely to be planning to add such programs. There are a few exceptions. Parks are most likely to be planning to add: environmental education; sports tournaments or races; individual sports activities; and water sports. Colleges and universities are most likely to be planning to add: aquatic exercise programs. Health clubs are most likely to be planning to add nutrition/diet counseling; and daycare or preschool programs. YMCAs are most likely to be planning to add sport training; performing arts; youth sports teams; and camping. And camps are most likely to be planning to add: festivals and concerts; and climbing programs.