YMCA to Boomers: ‘Get out’

Alas, we have reached another moment when Baby Boomers are told that their time is up.

When the YMCA doesn’t want you anymore, it’s time to walk toward the sunset.

In Sioux Falls, S.D., the YMCA is eliminating most of its health and wellness programs for adults, the Argus Leader reports today. It’s closing and then reopening as a place for the young. More gymnastics, dance, cheer and martial arts.

Programs for anyone under 18 will be free.

John Mogen, a 25-year member, said he was going to miss the Y and all the friends he made over the years. Mogen said he would move to the Avera McKennan Fitness Center.

“I respect what they’re doing,” he said of the plan to broaden youth programs. “It’s just a struggle for all the health clubs. I just wish it wasn’t us.”

The decision to close the pool and scale back the gym in 2014 came amid increased competition in health and wellness programs citywide. The Y lost about 400 family memberships in the transition as Great Life expanded into gym memberships and Sanford and Avera expanded their health and wellness programs.

“It is one of the most saturated markets in the country,” Tucker said.

But the Y’s challenges in the health and wellness market reflect a longer-term decline, which saw a 55 percent decrease in membership revenue since 2004. At the same time, overall revenue increased as the Y expanded its youth programs.

Gym equipment will be replaced with pool tables. No adults will be allowed inside the Y after 4 p.m., unless they’re accompanying their child.

“It’s really all about growing,” Y president Eric Tucker tells the newspaper. “It’s just the right thing to do for the Y.”

  • Barton
    • Jack

      Oops – you beat me to the point by about 10 hours. I should really read all the comments before putting in my own. Kudos for thinking the same way as me.

  • Gary F

    Lots of the retired folk at LA Fitness tell me that have some ‘Silver Card” which gets them in for something close to free. Not sure if the actual health club is eating the cost of the sliver card members or if the club gets reimbursed. The health club game is already super competitive, so I could see it being tough to stay going with lots of low margin customers.

    • Sybil Twilight

      It’s called Silver Sneakers. The health clubs are being reimbursed through health plans (Medicare); most health plans will also do a partial reimbursement for those under 65. Some Silver Sneakers programs are completely free due to the reimbursement, others have a minimal additional cost depending on the regular membership fees.

      • Gary F

        I wonder if they get full reimbursement.

        I get a deal, I pay the club full price, then a secondary company auto deposits a rebate amount every month, so the club still gets paid full price.

        • Sybil Twilight

          I’m not entirely sure. I’m not quite old enough to be eligible yet. My health club reimbursement works the same way as yours. The Silver Sneakers website says that gym membership is free, but you have to fill out an online form to determine eligibility. From the website it looks like it’s a program that runs through Medicare Advantage coverage.

      • ec99

        My club doesn’t participate. I do get a senior discount, though.

  • Dan

    There’s plenty of room over at the OMCA.

    • jon

      yeah, but it’s fun to stay at the YMCA… it’s down right depressing to stay at the OMCA…
      I mean at one of them you can get you can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal…
      At the other you can have your catheter changed, and they’ll provide you your blood pressure medication…

  • MrE85

    Well, to be fair, the “Y” does stand for Young.

    • Jack

      Okay but “M” stands for males and I think they let in females too. And then there is the problematic “C”, is someone administering a religion test at the door?

      //The decision to close the pool…// Yikes – that’s the really the worst part of it. Kids need to learn to swim – it is a lifesaving skill.

  • John O.

    McKennan and Sanford Health are locked in a major struggle in the Sioux Falls region for patients, so it only makes sense that at least some boomers are going back to their health care provider to continue whatever P.T. or other therapy they may need.

    • Rob

      One of my favorite boomer health and fitness programs is “Oldies Sweating to the Oldies”

  • Rob

    The boomers need to start their own secular, all-gender health and fitness group. We could call it the GA (“Geezer Association”).
    : )

  • Rob

    Same here. Good times!

  • Brian Simon

    “YMCA to Boomers: ‘Get out’”

    What’s the issue here?

    • Trouble. With a capital “T”. Trouble. And that starts with T that rhymes with P and that stands for “pool.”

      • ec99

        Pass the Sen-Sen.

  • John

    I think the Y is shooting themselves in the foot, long term, but I like the idea. There’s a big gap from the time the current crop of kids turn 18, and the time when they start having the next generation of kids. I’d be interested in how the Y is going to stay in their heads enough to bring them back when their kids are old enough to go.

    I like the idea because there are a fair number of older members of the Y we belong to who give old people a bad name. My kid is on the swim team. Every kid on that team is a member, and they pay extra to be on the team. I have (more than once, and from more than one person) seen older members of the Y complain – usually loudly – to try to get the swim team kids (swimming 5-7 in a lane) cram into one fewer lane (making it 9-11 kids in a lane – an unswimmable number) because the complainer wants to swim alone. That get off my lawn attitude can go. (I have also watched a number of lifeguards and other staff handle these folks with grace and a politeness that I could not muster in similar circumstances.)

    There are also a few older members that I absolutely adore, because they are so polite, happy to be there, and genuinely excited about all the kids swimming laps and having a good time. Those folks are all right, and mostly make up for the ones in my previous paragraph.