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Before we start, here’s a riddle for you: what disappears as soon as you say its name? (Check number five for the answer).

In community rec centers, we are all challenged to think of new ways to maintain high engagement with members throughout the year. Some of us may even be racking our brains over complex strategies and techniques to bring up engagement numbers. Below, you will five easy-to-apply membership engagement activities that take little time to get started:

1. Resolution Wall

This one is plain and simple — have cutouts available for members to fill out and hand in to a staff member. Tell staff to read over these resolutions and wish them luck. Staff should track the resolutions, make a point to touch on each resolution, and lend a hand in achieving these goals when they see them next.

2. Workouts of the Day

Make workouts fun, and let personal trainers or group fitness instructors take charge. Put a whiteboard in the wellness center and post a fun workout with fun names. Don’t forget to put a note at the bottom to see a staff member who can show how any workouts are done.

3. Fit Bingo

There are many variations of fit bingo. It’s simple, but also more involved than the other engagement activities. Set up a three-by-three card with nine engagement activities that require staff or other members to sign off on. For example, a member can get a staff member to sign off on 10 burpees they just did. They can meet another member they haven’t met before and write in their name. Complete several engagement and fitness activities, collect all nine squares, and be entered into a prize.

4. Goal Setting

No member walks into a facility without a goal in mind. Similar to the resolution wall, there are a variety of goal-setting strategies to try out that can quickly ramp up engagement. Set up a tracking system for member goals — at point of sale, a new member could put their goals in writing. Have members and staff collaborate to achieve these goals together. Eighty percent of members are likely to continue business with you if there is a personalized experience available. In learning the member’s goals, community rec centers are positioned to help them get the most bang for their buck and have the best experience possible.

5. Riddle/Trivia of the Day

Most of you just skipped down here to read the trivia question’s answer, right? Here’s the answer to what disappears as soon as you say its name: silence.

In your own facility, with a trivia board, telling members to ask staff the answer instantly creates a means for participants to take their headphones out and ask a staff member a question. The key here is to give your staff a couple of key talking points to engage with. Start with having your instructions learn the names of people who ask them the trivia questions.

At the end of the day, the key to engagement is connecting members to your organization through your staff, as well as other members. Do you have engagement activities that work well for you? We want to hear from you below.


Ben Green is the executive director of the Hillsborough YMCA, a branch of Somerset County YMCA.


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