Feature Article - June 2015
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2015 State of the Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


There were few changes from 2014 to 2015 in the top types of programming most commonly found among respondents' facilities. These include: holiday events and other special events (provided by 62.8 percent of respondents); fitness programs (56.9 percent); educational programs (56.8 percent); day camps and summer camps 52.7 percent); youth sports teams (50.3 percent); mind-body/balance programs such as yoga (46.8 percent); sports tournaments or races (45.6 percent); adult sports teams (45.1 percent); swimming programs (45 percent) and arts and crafts (44 percent). (See Figure 27.)

YMCAs and health clubs are the respondents most likely to offer any programming at all. A full 100 percent of YMCA and health club respondents reported that they offer some type of programming.

YMCAs are more likely than others to offer holidays and special events, educational programs, day camps and summer camps, youth sports teams, swimming programs, arts and crafts, active older adult programming, teen programs, individual sports activities, aquatic exercise, trips, performing arts, day care, special needs programs and therapeutic programming.

Health clubs are more likely than others to provide fitness programming, mind-body/balance programs, personal training and nutrition and diet counseling.

Parks are more likely than others to provide sports tournaments and races, adult sports teams, sport training, and festivals and concerts.

Camps are more likely than others to provide environmental education, water sports, camping and climbing.

Nearly one-third (32.2 percent) of respondents indicated that they have plans to add more programming options to their offerings over the next three years, up from 28.4 percent in 2014. The 10 most commonly planned program additions include:

  1. Mind body/balance programs (planned by 25.2 percent of those who will be adding programs)
  2. Fitness programs (24.9 percent)
  3. Educational programs (24.3 percent)
  4. Day camps and summer camps (22.8 percent)
  5. Environmental education (21.5 percent)
  6. Teen programming (20.4 percent)
  7. Adult sports teams (19.4 percent)
  8. Active older adult programs (19.4 percent)
  9. Holidays and other special events (19.1 percent)
  10. Nutrition and diet counseling (17.4 percent)

More respondents in 2015 than in 2014 said they would be adding mind-body/balance programs (25.2 percent vs. 22 percent), as well as day camps and summer camps (22.8 percent vs. 19.8 percent), environmental education (21.5 percent vs. 18.7 percent), and nutrition and diet counseling (17.4 percent vs. 15.9 percent).

Respondents from YMCAs, community centers and parks were the most likely to report that they had plans to add programming at their facilities over the next three years. Some 39.7 percent of YMCA respondents said they had plans to add programming, up from 36.8 percent in 2014. The most common programs they planned to add included nutrition and diet counseling (33.3 percent of those with plans to add programs were planning to add this); mind-body/balance programs (27.8 percent); and adult sports teams (25.9 percent).

Nearly four in 10 (39.2 percent) of community center respondents also were planning to add new programming. The most common programs they planned to add include teen programming (26.9 percent); fitness programs (25.4 percent); and nutrition and diet counseling (20.9 percent).

Some 38.3 percent of parks respondents reported that they had plans to add programs. The most commonly planned programs for these respondents included: environmental education (30.1 percent); mind-body/balance programs (28.6 percent); and fitness (26.3 percent).