Girl Scout Cadets hope to introduce ‘Gaga ball’ to Shrewsbury

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Riley Manchester and Jessica Minton, Girl Scouts from Troop 11087

Shrewsbury – Jessica Minton and Riley Manchester, Shrewsbury Girl Scout Cadets from Troop 11087, have teamed up to work towards earning their Silver Award which is the highest award at the Cadet level. To do so, they must complete a project and as such, they have decided that they would like to build a “Gaga pit” in Shrewsbury.

Gaga, which originated in Israel, is described as a gentler version of dodge ball.

The girls have been friends and in scouts together since they were Daisies (kindergarten and first grade.)  Jessica is now a seventh grade student at Oak Middle School and Riley is in sixth grade at Sherwood Middle School.

“Jessica came up with the idea for the Gaga pit, so I heard she was doing her Silver Award and I decided I wanted to do it as well,” shared Riley.

“I went to a summer camp in New Hampshire called Camp Cody and they had a bunch of Gaga pits around camp,” Jessica added. “It was a sport kids could play in their free time whenever they had down time.”

Jessica explained that a Gaga pit is an octagonal or hexagonal shape in which the game is played. It is often lined with sand or some other soft material in case someone falls. Using a regular dodge ball, participants toss it up in the air and say “Ga-Ga-Ball,” then the players rush in and try to bump the ball towards the other players. When one gets hit below the knees they’re out.

“Dodge the ball at all costs. You can hit the ball with your hands but only under-hand and you may jump and move around and jump up on the wood [frame] briefly,” Riley further explained.

It’s a unique idea that is gaining popularity. The game originated in Israel and Ga-ga in Hebrew translates to “touch-touch”. There is a lot of physical activity but unlike dodge ball one isn’t physically throwing the ball at and trying to hit other people. It is an inclusive game as well for people of all abilities.

When asked if it was as fun as regular dodge ball, Jessica said, “I would say its more fun than dodgeball…everyone has a better chance of participating in the game.”

Jessica recently met with the Shrewsbury Parks and Cemeteries Commission who approved the request to build a Gaga pit. Two sites being considered are Dean Park and the Foundation Field. Angela Snell, Director of Public Facilities,  is their project mentor.

Jessica and Riley are planning two fundraisers to purchase materials for the base of the pit. The girls are collecting cans and bottles. If people have them cluttering up their garages they can arrange to pick them up: just email them at [email protected].

The second fundraiser they are planning is a yard sale to be held Sat. May 11, 2019 at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, 34 Prospect St.  They will accept donations to this yard sale which can be dropped off at the church on Friday, May 10 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

For more information, visit their website www.buildingforgagasilver.home.blog.

Photos/Melanie Petrucci

Riley Manchester and Jessica Minton, Girl Scouts from Troop 11087