Scout will build Gaga Ball pit at Antrim Park

Shawn Hardy
Alex Porterfield of Troop 99, Greencastle, plans to build a Gaga Ball pit like this one at Antrim Township Community Park for his Eagle Scout project.

What’s Gaga Ball? That question was almost a chorus Tuesday night when Alex Porterfield went before Antrim Township supervisors with his proposed Eagle Scout project.

The Life Scout and Troop 99 member received the supervisors’ approval to create a Gaga Ball pit at Antrim Township Community Park after he explained the game and talked a bit about its popularity.

According to the packet he prepared for supervisors, “Gaga Ball is a game where everyone starts with their hands on the wall. Then someone tosses the ball in the center and everyone says ‘Ga-Ga Ball.’ Once they say ‘ball,’ the ball is in play, everyone hits the ball with their hands aiming toward their waist or lower. If it hits them below the waist, they are out, and the game continues to carry on. If the ball bounces out of the pit, the last person to touch it is out. You can only hit the ball once and not double hit it. The game is over once there is only one person left.”

Gaga is a form of dodgeball that originated in Israel in the 1970s and spread when Israeli counselors took the game to summer camps around the world, according to thegagasphere.com. Wikipedia says ga-ga is Hebrew for touch-touch.

There are two Gaga Ball pits at the Camp Sinoquipe in Fulton County and playing the game is the most popular activity among Boy Scouts at the facility, Porterfield told supervisors. There also is a Gaga pit at Greencastle-Antrim Elementary, he said, adding that one is not handicapped accessible like he plans to make his.

Porterfield’s packet included the design, specifications and costs for the Gaga Ball pit, for a total budget of $1,581.28. In addition, the township will supply excavation, gravel and cement.

“I worked at Sinoquipe and thought it would be cool at our park,” Porterfield, the son of Mary and Dave Porterfield, said outside the meeting. He hopes to begin work in a couple of weeks and complete the project by mid-June. Anyone interested in making a donation can call 717-593-0862.

*** Dog park ***

In other news from Antrim Township Community Park at Tuesday’s meeting, Nate Bacon of the township park committee talked about the condition of the ground in the dog park.

“We’re chasing our tail,” he quipped about the turf at the dog park. Because of the shale soil, maintaining grass has been an ongoing problem.

Options could include irrigation, closing the dog park for six months or doing nothing.

After discussion with Bacon, supervisors want to look into placing granite dust in the dog park and the associated costs.

Bacon also pointed out the dog park is used year-round, but the township does not have a figure for the number of dogs that patronize it. The township will also look into ways of tracing numbers at the dog park, whether it is through a swipe card at the park or a free registration program.