Feature Article - June 2018
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A Look at Trends in YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs, and Boys & Girls Clubs

A majority of Y respondents said that they have construction plans in the works, though that number fell from 2017 to 2018. Some 64.2 percent of Y respondents said they have construction plans in 2018, down from 72.1 percent in 2017. Nearly one-quarter (24.7 percent) said they will be building new facilities. Another 29.6 percent plan to add to their existing facilities, and 43.2 percent will renovate existing facilities. (See Figure 59.)

On average, Y respondents are planning to spend $3,760,000 on their construction plans. This represents a 15.4 percent increase from 2016, when their average construction budget was $3,258,000. In 2017, Y respondents' construction budget saw an unexpected jump, to $5,170,000, likely driven by the high percentage planning entirely new facilities in that year.

The 10 features most commonly found in Y respondents' facilities in 2018 include: indoor courts for sports like basketball and volleyball, locker rooms, fitness centers, exercise studio rooms, Wi-Fi services, classrooms and meeting rooms, indoor aquatic facilities, childcare centers, playgrounds, and bleachers and seating.

The number of Y respondents who have plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years has fallen nearly 10 percent since 2015, from 41.2 percent to 32.1 percent in 2018.

The most commonly planned additions for Y respondents in 2018 include: splash play areas, playgrounds, park shelters such as gazebos or picnic shelters, indoor courts for sports like volleyball and basketball, climbing walls, indoor tracks, exercise studios, bleachers and seating, classrooms and meeting rooms, and community gardens.


All Y respondents covered by the survey said they offer programming of some kind at their facilities. This compares with 96.9 percent of non-Y respondents.

The most common programs found among Y respondents in 2018 include: day camps and summer camps (offered by 93.8 percent of Y respondents); fitness programs (88.9 percent); holiday events and other special events (87.7 percent); youth sports teams (87.7 percent); mind-body balance programs such as yoga, Pilates or tai chi (87.7 percent); swimming programs (81.5 percent); educational programs (79 percent); personal training (75.3 percent); aquatic exercise programs (74.1 percent) and programs for active older adults (71.6 percent).

Programs that saw an increase in the percentage of Ys providing them from 2017 to 2018 include: youth sports teams (up from 84.4 percent); and swimming programs (up from 81.1 percent).

The percentage of Y respondents who said they have plans to add programs at their facilities has held relatively steady for the past several years. Some 32.1 percent have such plans in 2018, up slightly from 32 percent in 2017.

The 10 most commonly planned program additions for Y respondents include:

  1. Teen programs (no change from 2017)
  2. Special needs programs (did not appear in 2017)
  3. Adult sports teams (up from No. 4)
  4. Individual sports activities like swim clubs or running clubs (up from No. 10)
  5. Youth sports teams (up from No. 6)
  6. Nutrition and diet counseling (did not appear in 2017)
  7. Educational programs (down from No. 2)
  8. Arts and crafts (did not appear in 2017)
  9. Sport-specific training such as golf or tennis lessons (down from No. 8)
  10. Swimming programs (did not appear in 2017)

As usual, there is a lot of variation in the top planned programs among Y respondents from year to year. In 2018, special needs programs, nutrition and diet counseling, arts and crafts programs and swimming programs all rose into the top 10. These programs replaced sports tournaments and races, performing arts programs, environmental education and fitness programs, which were among the top 10 planned programs in 2017.