As a result of a grant-funded initiative from 2011-2013 with the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Community and Civic Engagement Initiative in the College of Liberal Arts continues to organize meetings and work sessions at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Notasulga on topics related to academic, personal, and workforce success.
Written by Blake Evans, College of Liberal Arts Graduate Assistant
Last night, students enjoyed their first meeting of the academic year by eating pizza, sharing stories of their summer, playing a fun team-building game, and developing SMART goals for the new school year. It was the first time the students had collectively met with each other since the Macon Citizens Camp in early June, and the monthly meetings, such as this one, are meant to build upon the foundation which was created in camp. Last night, the group participated in two activities, each of which uniquely prepared them for the upcoming year by teaching tools that are essential to being good citizens.
The first activity was a game called Hot Chocolate River. The objective of the game was for students to work together to cross an imaginary, boiling, flowing river of chocolate without falling in. If one person fell in, the group had to start over at the beginning. Students were challenged by the activity, but they learned to work together, have fun, and they strengthened group communication skills. Strong communication skills are very beneficial for students desiring to become great civic leaders because they greatly enhance a person’s ability to successfully deliberate on civic issues with other citizens.
Following the Hot Chocolate River game, the students learned about SMART goals, an easy way to remember how to best select and pursue life goals. SMART is an acronym for “specific,” “measurable,” “attainable,” “realistic,” and “timely.” Next, the students selected some goals they will pursue this academic year, and they each wrote their names and three goals on a big sheet of paper which was posted on the wall of the church. The paper is a tool that will serve as a friendly reminder to students of the goals they need to be striving towards, and it will also be used to hold students accountable throughout the year to make sure they are taking the necessary steps to reach, and perhaps even surpass, their goals.
The next meeting for students will be Tuesday, September 10. Students will continue to build on their experiences from camp and last night’s meeting. They will already have a few weeks of school under their belts, and they will probably have a plethora of stories to share as they continue to work towards becoming the best of citizens.