Feature Article - June 2013
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YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs

A Look at Trends in YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs

YMCA Facilities

Around two-thirds (66.4 percent) of YMCA respondents said the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2011 to 2012—a big jump from 2011, when 53.5 percent saw such an increase, and 23.2 percent reported a decrease in usage. The percentage reporting a decrease also fell, to 9.2 percent who reported a decrease in usage from 2011 to 2012. Looking ahead, more than two-thirds of YMCA respondents expect to see further increases from 2012 to 2013 (67.8 percent) and from 2013 to 2014 (67 percent). (See Figure 55.)

YMCA respondents were the most likely to report that they charge a fee for membership. Some 96.6 percent of YMCAs charge such a fee, compared with 57.2 percent of non-YMCA respondents. They also were among the most likely to report that they had raised fees in 2012. Nearly four in 10 (38.6 percent) YMCA respondents raised fees in 2012, compared with 30.5 percent of non-YMCA respondents. Looking forward, nearly half of YMCA respondents expect that they will raise their fees in 2013 (48.2 percent) and in 2014 (49.1 percent).

YMCA respondents were slightly more likely in 2013 than in 2012 to report that they have plans for construction over the next three years. While 63.4 percent had such plans in 2012, this year, 65.5 percent indicated they have construction plans. Nearly half (47.9 percent) will be undertaking renovations, while 31.1 percent plan to add to their existing facilities, and 22.7 percent will be building new facilities. (See Figure 56.)

YMCA respondents were more likely than non-YMCA respondents to have construction plans. While 65.5 percent of YMCA respondents will be building over the next three years, 62.6 percent of non-YMCA respondents have such plans. YMCAs are more likely than non-YMCA respondents to be planning additions (31.1 percent vs. 26.4 percent) as well as renovations (47.9 percent vs. 45.3 percent).

YMCA respondents reported a decline in the amount they plan to spend on their construction again this year. After reporting a decrease of 27.8 percent between 2011 and 2012, this year saw a more modest decline of 6.2 percent from an average planned construction budget of $3,771,000 in 2012 to an average $3,536,000 in 2013. Interestingly, this brings planned construction spending at YMCAs below the across-the-board average for the first time. YMCAs plan to spend 14.6 percent less than the average for all respondents on their construction.

There was little change in the amenities included at YMCA facilities. The top features currently included in YMCA respondents' facilities include: locker rooms, fitness centers, exercise studio spaces, classrooms and meeting rooms, indoor sports courts for games like basketball or volleyball, indoor aquatic facilities, childcare centers, bleachers and seating, playgrounds, and community centers. Open spaces like gardens and fields, as well as concession areas dropped off of last year's list, as community centers and childcare centers rose onto the list this year.

Some 37 percent of YMCA respondents said they have plans to add more features to their facilities over the next three years, compared with 38.8 percent of non-YMCA respondents.

The most commonly planned additions for these respondents include:

  1. Splash play areas (40.9 percent of YMCA respondents with plans to add features)
  2. Climbing walls (18.2 percent)
  3. Exercise studio spaces (18.2 percent)
  4. Classrooms & meeting rooms (15.9 percent)
  5. Concessions (15.9 percent)
  6. Locker rooms (15.9 percent)
  7. Indoor aquatic facilities (15.9 percent)
  8. Playgrounds (13.6 percent)
  9. Fitness center (13.6 percent)
  10. Childcare center (13.6 percent)

Splash play areas saw a dramatic increase in the number of YMCA respondents who plan to add them in 2013. While 29.7 percent had plans to add splash play areas in 2012, in 2013 that number rises to 40.9 percent. New features on the list in 2013 include climbing walls, classrooms and meeting rooms, concession areas, and childcare centers. They replace waterparks, natural turf sports fields, bleachers and seating and indoor sports courts.