Indiana Boys & Girls Club Chapter Battles Childhood Obesity with Innovative After School Physical Activity Program

Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County used funding from local organizations to implement SPARK™ After School (AS) Program with 5,000 students in grades K-12

San Diego, CA, October 1, 2013 — Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation are committed to promoting specific codes of conduct for youth, one of which is a healthy lifestyle. According to a recent Boys & Girls Club of America survey, 80 percent of alumni said their club had a positive impact on their attitude toward fitness and health. To help further this appreciation for physical fitness and ultimately battle childhood obesity in the youth it serves, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, IN adopted the After School (AS) Program from SPARK™, provider of the world’s most-researched physical education (PE) program. The implementation was funded by the United Way of Porter County and the Valparaiso Mayor’s Charity Ball. 

“We are following the national standards designated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and by doing so, we have committed ourselves to reducing the impact of the childhood obesity epidemic,” said Ryan Smiley,  President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County. “We were looking for an evidence-based curriculum that increased physical activity with fun and engaging activities to create a life-long love for physical fitness—SPARK does that.”

The goal of the AS program is to make incorporating physical activity into daily programming easy for after school leaders. Built around an innovative, blended-media approach, the AS Program includes both digital and print curriculum, on-site staff training and content-specific equipment. Each of the more than 230 session plans include “Right Fit” suggestions to help leaders modify the activity for limited space, lack of equipment and varying age ranges. The AS Program also includes character development resources, family discussion topics and STEM-related activities. 

“The 950 Porter County youth we serve daily come to our locations for a safe and structured after school environment,” said Smiley. “It is our duty to make high-quality resources available to them like academic help, as well as youth development programs to foster citizenship. Physical activity is just as important so we are proud that we can provide our youth with SPARK’s programming.”

For more information about SPARK, visit

About SPARK 

SPARK is a collection of research-based Physical Education, After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health programs for educators serving Pre-K through 12th grade students. Since 1989, SPARK has provided curriculum materials, teacher training, and consultation to over 100,000 teachers and youth leaders, representing many thousands of schools, organizations, and agencies worldwide. SPARK also helps educators find physical education grants. For more information on SPARK, visit or email spark(at)sparkpe(dot)org or call 1-800-SPARK-PE.