Summer camp goes for World Record in … singing and clapping

It wasn’t just fun and games for the hundreds of summer campers who gathered at an Acworth park Friday afternoon. It was about something much bigger. Even bigger than the 4-foot tall trophy one group would eventually claim.

It was about a world record, as in a Guinness World Record. And at stake was the record for the most people clapping and singing to “Down by the River.”

“We don’t know the official count, but we had enough kids here to break the record,” said Thad Joiner, owner of the Sunbrook Academy childcare centers. “We wanted to go big and break a record.”

More than 300 school-age campers, staff members and parents gathered at Hubert Park for a day that started with fun competitions, dubbed the “Amazing Race.” Then, it was time for the main event.

Sitting in large circles on the ground, the participants sang and clapped to the childhood rhyme over and over, eliminating participants at the end of each round. The game continued until it was down to just two participants and finally a winner.

Confused? Don’t be. This was child’s play.

“On the ‘dong’ you have to go out if it lands on you,” Olivia Roberts, 8, of Woodstock, said after she was eliminated.

Olivia and her team, the Fiery Flames of the Trickum Sunbrook Academy, didn’t mind getting eliminated too much because it meant a chance to get cooled off in the shade.

“I was the first one to get out,” 7-year-old Gaby Sierra said.

Megan Laborde, 6, attends the Legacy Park school and lasted nearly to the end. Sweaty and smiling, Megan was congratulated by her friends for lasting so long.

The next step toward a world record will be completing the Guinness application, Joiner said. In addition to a written form, Sunbrook will send in video, thanks to a bucket truck and cameraman with a bird’s eye view. Kennesaw police officers were also on hand to witness the record-breaking attempt.

When the singing and clapping ended, the Stilesboro center was awarded first place for the earlier competitions. Then, it was time to cool off and head back to daycare centers.

“It’s all about the memories for the kids,” Joiner said. “We plan to go for another world record next year.”

Did they set a record? Stay tuned.