Gyms benefit from summer camp attendance

YMCA, other workout centers use short-term programs to offset summer membership slumps.


Many health clubs struggle to maintain memberships through the summer, but day camps are a good way to keep interest in a facility.

The Springfield Family YMCA, 300 S. Limestone St. has had one of its more successful summer camp seasons, and four weeks are still left in the season.

“It gives us a chance to reach more folks and is a huge service,” said Vince Chase, CEO of the YMCA.

According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, summer camps are an important way for clubs, especially those without pools, to stay afloat in the summer.

“Clubs that have the facilities and ability to provide summer camps are able to generate important revenues over the summer months, that are often slower for most health clubs,” said Meredith Poppler, vice president of industry growth, in an e-mail.

Since Chase was hired as CEO last year, he said memberships have risen, but dropped by about 300 members to 4,367 for the summer months.

“Some of that is because of the increase in our rates,” Chase said. “But we’re really working on building quality.”

Chase and his camp staff said last year they saw maybe 40 or 50 children for their summer camps; this year they have already seen around 80 children so far. The YMCA has three camps - Camp Journey for children with mental or physical handicaps,the Day Camp at the local facility, and a camp at Lincoln Park.

The Y uses the revenue generated by the camp as the budget to run the camp and do special field trips.

This year the Y camps have gone to “a field trip every week, it gives the kids more exposure into the community,” said Casey Rosseberry, camp counselor.

And at Lincoln Park, 90 to 95 percent of the children are non-members, said Jeremy Allen, camp counselor at Lincoln Park.

“We’re really hoping some of those become members, after all we still have four more weeks of camps,” Chase said.

While camps such as the Y have a pool and day camp, many gyms don’t have the ability to combat the summer slump.

According to IHRSA, only 21.5 percent of health and fitness clubs surveyed in the U.S. and Canada offer summer camp programs.

“Of course, not all health clubs have the facilities, especially the outdoor space necessary for hosting a camp,” Poppler said.

Poppler said that gyms with pools often do not have the same attendance decline as fitness only clubs.

Game Time Sports Center, in the former Springfield Racquet Club building on Bogles Run Road in Urbana, has had a drop off in the summer months they’ve been able to combat with various sports clinics.

Andrea Shiffer Tullis, co-owner of the sports center, said they have hosted basketball, tennis and volleyball clinics all summer, and have two more weeks of tennis.

“The clinics all bring in people in the summer since it’s such a down time,” she said. “We had the basketball clinics just to help bring people in.”

The sports center has only been open since September, but has been steady since then, Tullis said.

Locally, the Y has one of the few day camp programs available. The Fitness Cellar hosts conditioning for local schools’ sports teams year round but not necessarily a camp.

“We have several of the local high schools and middle schools in the area do our spinning program with us as a group,” said Tammy Beam, co-owner of the Fitness Cellar at 137 E. Main St. “Basically it’s their sports teams that are just (doing) off season conditioning or getting in shape for their season.”

The Fitness Cellar is currently working with sports teams from Shawnee High School, Northeastern, Catholic Central and Urbana. Besides spinning, the also offer the weight lifting class Body Pump.

The club is not membership based but offers 40 to 45 classes a week and personal training. Beam said personal training drops some in the summer time, but the classes stay steady.

“We’ve been in the new location for three years and this has been our best year,” she said.

Wittenberg University also hosts a number of youth athletic camps, but declined to be in this report.

“There’s a lot of working people whose kids could be taking advantage of camps while they’re at work,” Chase said. The YMCA provides financial assistance to those who need it to attend those camps. So far they have given $8,500 in scholarships for the YMCA.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Springfield business property sold for $15M
Springfield business property sold for $15M

A private equity firm based in Atlanta recently purchased a business property leased by Eby-Brown for $15 million as part of a larger real estate transaction, according to the firm’s founder. Records from the Clark County Auditor’s Office shows the property at 1982 Commerce Circle in Springfield was recently purchased by a limited liability...
Bob Evans Farms is sold: 3 things you need to know
Bob Evans Farms is sold: 3 things you need to know

Post Holdings will acquire Bob Evans Farms for $1.5 billion, adding vegetable-based side dishes and breakfast sausages to its portfolio, the companies announced Tuesday. Post Holdings and Bob Evans Farms have entered into a definitive agreement in which Post will acquire Bob Evans for $77 per share. The deal does not affect Bob Evans restaurants, which...
Unemployment rates drop in August in Clark, Champaign counties
Unemployment rates drop in August in Clark, Champaign counties

Unemployment rates fell in Clark and Champaign counties in August while economists said results at the state level showed mixed results. The unemployment rate in Clark County fell to 5 percent in August, according to information from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services released Tuesday. That’s down from July’s 5.7 percent unemployment...
Walgreens acquires Rite Aid for $4.4B: What it means for consumers
Walgreens acquires Rite Aid for $4.4B: What it means for consumers

Walgreens has secured regulatory clearance to buy Rite Aid for $4.4 billion. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. will buy 1,932 stores, three distribution centers and related inventory from Rite Aid for an all-cash purchase price of $4.375 billion on a cash-free, debt-free basis. Rite Aid will retain approximately 250 additional stores as compared to the...
Bob Evans Farms has been sold for $1.5B
Bob Evans Farms has been sold for $1.5B

Post Holdings, Inc. will acquire Bob Evans Farms, Inc. for $1.5 billion, the companies announced today. Post Holdings and Bob Evans Farms have entered into a definitive agreement in which Post will acquire Bob Evans for $77.00 per share. The deal will “significantly strengthen Post’s portfolio of brands, expand choices for customers and...
More Stories