In early August, a group of fifteen campers, ages 6-12 years, worked hard to “Make History!” at Reston Community Center. The children signed up to work on a group project in an attempt to break a world record. Under the tutelage of RCC instructor and Dogwood Elementary School teacher, Mark Moseley, the group reviewed many world records and eventually decided that they were try to make the world’s longest paperclip chain. They quickly discovered that the world’s longest paperclip chain stretched just over one mile and was created in less than 24 hours. Given they were participating in a three-hour, five-day camp, the goal no longer seemed feasible. Undeterred, the campers committed to dedicating one hour of the camp program each day to creating the chain with their own personal goal of linking 10,000 clips to stretch from their classroom to the entryway of the building. The additional hours of camp were spent studying and attempting to achieve other records including stacking cups and jumping rope within a certain amount of time, creating the tallest tower of playing cards, and even seeing who could achieve the most revolutions on a hand spinner. While these are all fun ways to pass time, the purpose is much deeper and beneficial—these types of goal-based activities teach children determination and resilience. As Mr. Moseley stated, “I kept thinking, how can I make this interesting and fun? I wanted the kids to learn about the process of setting a goal, being diligent, learn how to refocus and work through frustration, and achieve something while having a good time. And they did—they didn’t give up and they impressed me with their commitment all week.” Ultimately, the group linked 10,487 paper clips and beat their personal goal. The chain also stretched from the classroom to the entryway but then went far beyond—all the way down the sidewalk and around the Safeway to the back loading dock. Goals achieved!
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