The SPARK After School (AS) Physical Activity Program began in 1995 as part of an effort to take lessons learned from the successful SPARK PE program and apply them to "out of PE" settings. PowerPlay, a research project in Memphis, TN and conducted in collaboration with the University of Tennessee, Memphis, involved 13, urban faith based centers.
After Power Play, SPARK participated in an after school/gender equity project with Work Family Directions in Boston. This project involved YMCA's located in 15 U.S. cities and ran for 5 years. SPARK curricula and training were modified again and used to support the after school component for Project M-SPAN (Middle School Physical Activity and Nutrition), an NIH funded study of 24 middle schools from 1996-2000.
Finally, in the late 90's, SPARK conducted their last after school testing project in partnership with CANFit (CA Adolescent Nutrition and Fitness). Project BOLT (Building Opportunities for Leisure Time) involved 15 after school programs in California (Parks and Recreation, Boys and Girls Clubs, and school district run efforts) and led to the writing of the SPARK Active Recreation manual, professional development program, and selection of content matched equipment.
Today's SPARK After School Program targets all out-of-school physical activity programs (e.g., after school, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, recreation center, day care center, or camps). Years of research and extensive field-testing throughout the country has shown SPARK After School to be effective for children and adolescents ages 5-14.
The SPARK after school philosophy: Include ALL youth, actively engage ALL youth, and instill the love of lifelong movement in ALL youth.
When an agency or organization chooses SPARK After School, they receive four components necessary for successful promotion of physical activity: