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On a gorgeous day, the last thing people want is to be stuck indoors. This is the main driving force behind why more and more community recreation facilities are adding outdoor features and amenities.

Take the Minot Family YMCA in North Dakota, for example. It created an entire outdoor fitness park to cater to the growing desire of people to be outside enjoying the scenery in North Dakota. The outdoor fitness park features 12 fitness stations in the center of the park, surrounded by a jogging and walking path connected to the city sidewalks.

“During our summer months, we will hold fitness classes on the basketball courts of the park,” said Cindy Mueller, the director of program services. “It’s a great way to promote our offerings, as people driving or walking nearby can see it and think that would be something they would enjoy. Our preschool, day camps and other youth programs utilize this area as well, so we really see great use out of it.”

Just as the Minot Family YMCA sees a lot of use from kids on their outdoor facility, so does the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne in Indiana. In fact, it created its own outdoor organization, the YMCA Camp Potawotami, because of this.

“We saw such a desire from our members for outdoor offerings that we decided to give them a place devoted to this,” said Sean Diamond, the outdoor education director for the YMCA Camp Potawotami of the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne. “We offer camps for anything a family could want — kids camps; a fame camp, which discusses the importance of the arts; ranch camp, which teaches kids how to care for horses; and even a Star Wars camp.”


Kids aren’t the only ones who want to exercise outside.

YMCA Camp Potawotami also offers spaces for corporate team building and utilizes an outdoor challenge course as a way to bring in the adult population.

“Our team building programs can range from a few hours to multi-day events depending on group needs, and can be tailored so many ways,” said Diamond. “Groups love our outdoor challenge course because they get to be a kid again and climb ropes varying in heights, and it’s great because it really makes you use team-solving strategies to get through it. So it is perfect for every group, from a church group to a sports team.”

The Minot Family YMCA caters to sports teams as well by offering multiple fields outdoors for organized sports to be held. It boasts a half basketball court, a sport field for football, soccer or any other outdoor activity, and a racquetball court.

“Sports are very popular in the demographic of our members, so we see a lot of utilization of our fields,” said Mueller. “Everyone from kids to adults are constantly using them, and we find they are great ways to get others involved with our YMCA community, while still being able to be outdoors.”

The Minot Family YMCA also sees a large usage of their fitness park. Indoor workout classes are often taken outside when the weather is nice to take advantage of this space being in their community.

“When we learned more and more people were taking their workouts outside and doing functional fitness or bodyweight movements, we knew we needed to incorporate this into something we could bring to the community,” said Mueller. “We have machines for any level of athlete, from more complicated movements to the simplest of just stepping up and down. It was important for us to make sure that anyone who wanted to get a workout in outside had the opportunity to do so with us.”


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