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.”