Thursday, May 8, 2008

All the Same (Sick Puppies)

12,000 People Join Together for Supersized Group Hug

Everyone feels a little friendlier on a Friday afternoon. But on April 25th, more than 12,000 students, teachers, and parents from 10 Ottawa-area high schools took their T.G.I.F. joy to the next level, joining together in a supersized group hug that spanned a circle around the city's Rideau Canal.

It wasn't just the elation of another week coming to an end that brought the group together, though: The major-league hug was an attempt to break a Guinness World Record, and a fundraiser to collect more than $150,000 for several Ottawa nonprofit organizations. In 2004, the city first broke the record for world's biggest hug with 5,100; but after being beaten by a group of amorous Americans, they decided to reclaim their title this year. They're still waiting on verification from Guinness, but it seems like a sure thing that Ottawa will be back on top this time.

The group hug was a great way for the students to bond and raise money for a good cause – and it was definitely an experience they won't forget, regardless of whether they make it into the Guinness Book or not. "We felt like connected with everyone else, and I was in between two Canadian Mounties," one of the students, Byron Shaw, told CBC News. "It was pretty cool."

SONG: All the Same by Sick Puppies

BOOK: A Book of Hugs by Dave Ross, Laura Rader (Illustrator)

POEM: Hug o' War by Shel Silverstein

I will not play at tug o'war.
I'd rather play at hug o'war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

QUOTE: "Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism." ~ Leo Buscaglia

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