Thursday, June 23, 2011

Building a Youth Camp Profit Center for a Health Club

Youth Camp Profit Centers:
A Sample Proposal 

Many people in the fitness industry are looking at ways to increase revenue, keep members with families happy, retain current members and reduce childhood obesity. Adding a profit center that targets the child population of your area can be a very profitable adventure for the fitness center involved. It can also be a way to maintain fitness center retention rates and to keep those with children happy. When designing a Youth Sports Camp profit center it is good to know your area and what other clubs in your area are doing. However, don't be afraid to look at clubs of similar sizes outside of your area.* This is just a sample of what a proposal might look like. If you do design a proposal of your own you might want to include charts or graphs. Detailed data from clubs in your surrounding area. I would limit that area to 25 miles, however, it doesn't hurt to add in clubs from other areas. Keep in mind clubs within a 25 mile radius will most likely represent your targeted audience.

*The area that I looked at for this blog is Denver, CO (my hometown) and though I currently run a fitness center out in the country, I have opted to compare an imaginary club (All Out Fitness Inc.) to those that would be rather larger than what I run on the southeastern plains of Colorado.

Look at your targeted audience?
Research other clubs in the area or similar sized clubs with similar programs.
Don't be afraid to look at profit margins and other financial information.

All Out Fitness Inc: Denver, CO branch.

Denver, CO is known for having active citizens and being a sports town that is truly amazing to live in. Denver has professional sports in nearly every market ranging from football to lacrosse. Because of this there are youth sports ranging from football to lacrosse. According to a survey done in 2004 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 60% of all Colorado children ages 5-14 participated in sports; whereas, 26.9% participated in less than 5 hours of physical activity each week (Shupe & Gannon, 2005). These are both markets that we at All Out Fitness can tap into for our proposed profit center of Youth Sports Camps in Denver, CO. Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood, CO has several youth camps. These camps include biking, running, swimming, tennis and basketball. All of their camps are onsite in a facility that is approximately the same size as our facility. They currently charge $150 per month or $400 per quarter to participate in multiple sports or $50 p/month to participate in one sport (McDonnell, 2008). Their programs have been very successful. Charging more for non-members could encourage families to become members of our facility, therefore, increasing our member numbers. Club Equinox in New York, NY charges non-members $25 to $50 dollars more for their six week youth programs, and at a member price of $175 the cost of being a non-member can add up quickly (McDonnell, 2008).   

Justify your program, or why do you feel there is a need. Trust me, your administration will want to know.
What are some facts on youth fitness programs?
What problems might your facility run into with a youth program?

What strategies might you come up with to keep adults and children separate?
The reason for selecting Youth Sports Camps as our profit center is based off of our family member’s needs. It has been brought to our attention through surveying our members that those with families would like to bring their children with them while they work out at our facility. Also, our single members have noted that they feel that childhood obesity is an issue and they feel that adding Youth Sports to our facility could help in lowering the staggering numbers. As sports and PE programs leave public schools many fitness centers are beginning to provide physical education and programs for children of all ages and are finding it very profitable (Gormley, 2005). Because of this children under the age of 18 are growing in the US as members at fitness facilities. The last number noted was that nearly 4.6 million kids are active in their family’s gyms or health centers (Kruse, 2011). Also, Larry C. Conner of Stone Creek Club and Spa in Covington, LA brings in over $140,000 in revenue, which is nearly a 20% profit margin (McDonnell, 2008). In Canada, this is a fast growing profit center for many clubs. At La Sporteque de Hull in Quebec they see a 50% of their net return as being derived from children and youth programming (Gormley, 2005). With Denver, CO being a sports center it only makes sense that we build a facility that is open to targeting the family population in Denver while still accommodating the needs of our single members. We could do this by selecting youth camp times that utilize the club during the hours when our single members tend to attend less (like just after school or late afternoon), create separate locker rooms for our kids, or adult only training areas (Gormley, 2005). Of course we would have to look at our space availability first to make sure that we can accommodate separate kid and adult areas.

What programs do you think would work best in your facility?
Justify the reason for the sports that you have chosen. This could be because the areas are developed or because you already have similar adult programs.
What are some additional training needs that should be addressed?

The development of our program should start with onsite programs. We currently have spinning rooms, a basketball court (can be transformed to accommodate two volleyball courts), tennis & racquetball courts, and a lap pool with 5 laps. All of these areas are separate from the general training areas, so this will keep the noise from child’s play to a minimum as to not disturb the members that are training on cardiovascular or resistance training equipment. The development of the Youth Sports Camps should utilize these areas first. If the camps become popular it might me important to look at areas outside of the club. These areas could be youth adventure camps, soccer camps, baseball camps, and softball camps. The biggest reason parents place their children in a sports camp is because they want their children to learn new skills and to develop the ones that they already have (Gormley, 2005).  All of our camps should finish with a game or match. This could be a game against another club’s youth camp or a game or match against our own youth camp attendees. Having a final event associated with each youth camp will help keep our kids motivated and committed to finishing the camp (McDonnell, 2008). Also, learning a new skill is important, but our kids should also receive some formal resistance training, speed workouts and nutritional training in addition to focusing in on learning new skills associated with their sport (McDonnell, 2008).

How will you staff the program? 
Will you hire from the inside or the outside of your current staff?
Will you need specific certifications? 

Staffing these camps would be the biggest challenge. First, I would recommend looking within our current All Out Fitness branch. We currently staff personal trainers, group fitness instructors and other associates that maintain several other certifications. This should be our first group that we look at for staffing these camps. We have many part time staff that would benefit greatly from taking on extra duties. After we look at our staff we should then look at outside sources. These could be local coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, performance enhancement specialists, speed and explosion specialists, athletic trainers and other certified fitness experts.

What are some equipment or additional costs that you might run into?

Sports specific equipment will be necessary for these camps such as balls, racquets and other various equipment as needed. We will encourage those participating in racquet sports to supply their own racquets. We currently have two sets of volleyball nets and our in-facility sports areas are fully equipped. So the cost of these camps should be minimal. Jerseys and/or uniforms for our kids could be included in the price of their enrollment. We would first have to see which programs would have the highest amount of interest from our members prior to developing our purchasing additional equipment.


Gormley, B. (2005). Everyone profits from kids’ programming, Fitness Business Canada, 6(2), 58-61.

Kruse, S. Building revenue through kids’ camps. , 06/22/2011

McDonnell, A. B. (2008). Profiting from sports training. Fitness Management, 24(12), 30-33.
Shupe, A., & Gannon, J. (2005) How healthy are colorado children? Key findings from the 2004 colorado child health survey. Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment Health Watch, Sept. 2005, 59. 
 All photos come from 

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