A group of about 50 students from area middle schools and high schools were on hand Tuesday for the announcement of grants for Kansas Association of Youth clubs aimed at getting teens and their communities more physically active.

“Be the Spark” grants totaling nearly $100,000 were made to 18 KAY clubs across the state, with monies to be used for student-generated projects ranging from exercise stations in schools to hiking trails in communities to after-school fitness programs.

The announcement took place at the Kansas State High School Activities Association, 601 S.W. Commerce Place.

Students from Holton, Santa Fe Trail and Wabaunsee schools were on hand and cheered when their grants were announced.

The “Be the Spark” program was launched in 2017 as a partnership between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and the Kansas Association for Youth Alumni Network.

According to a news release, Blue Cross provided the Kansas Association of Youth Alumni Network with a $150,000 grant to administer the two-year program.

The first phase of the program challenged KAY clubs to use social media tools to raise awareness of the importance of having an active lifestyle with their fellow students.

The second phase of the program provided the opportunity for KAY clubs to apply for mini-grants to create sustainable projects for their peers and future generations.

Officials said 26 applications were received for the “Be the Spark” program, which included submissions of letters of intent, surveys of student bodies, research and partnerships with community organizations.

KAY clubs selected to receive the mini-grants were the following: Holton High School and Holton Middle School; Santa Fe Trail High School, of Carbondale; Wabaunsee High School, of Alma; Arkansas City Middle School; Atchison Middle School; Burrton High School; Clearwater High School; Derby North Middle School; Douglass High School; Goddard High School; Hodgeman County High School, of Jetmore; Macksville High School KAYs and Kayettes; Maize High School; Meade High School; Norton Junior High School; Oxford High School; Southwestern Heights High School, of Kismet; Trego Community High School, of WaKeeney.