Editor's Note: Story has been updated to reflect new date and time of workshop.
When a troop of Girl Scouts from Parker Elementary School were concerned that not enough space existed to play their favorite game at their Westbury school, an idea sparked in their minds.
“The girls love playing Gaga Ball. It’s like a friendly version of dodgeball. The girls have often lamented that there weren’t more places where they could play Gaga Ball. So the girls went and spoke to our parent-teacher organization and to the school’s coach about the project,” parent and troop leader Laura Livingston said.
Parker Elementary already participates in a school park program called SPARK Park, an organization that partners with more than 200 schools in 17 school districts in the Houston and Harris County area to build their own specially designed parks, according to its website.
The troop had the idea to add a Gaga Ball pit to their existing SPARK Park site. Using funds from a combination of the PTO and from funds raised from the girls selling Girl Scout Cookies, the troop “started to get the ball rolling” last fall, and according to Livingston, by March, it was time to start building their space.
A total of eight girls from Girl Scout Troop No. 147134 of the San Jacinto Council worked on the project together. One aspect of the project that was important to the troop was to make the Gaga Ball pit accessible for those with disabilities, which caused the installation period to take a bit longer.
“On March 27, that’s when we got the doorways installed, because it was important to the girls and to the school also that we had an [Americans with Disabilities Act] gate, a gate that will swing so that it is accessible to anyone who wants to play,” Livingston said.
The finished project symbolized an accomplishment that would remain in the school’s history and in the girls' hearts.
“Some of these girls have been in this troop together since kindergarten. So they've been in this troop together for six years, and they're all going to be graduating and going to a [local] middle school. So this is something for the community and also something of a parting gift for their school,” Livingston said.
How to play Gaga Ball
According to www.gagaballpit.com:
- Gaga means “touch-touch” in Hebrew, and the game is said to have originated in Israel.
- The game is played in a large octagon or hexagon.
- The game can be played by groups of individual players, teams and in one-on-one matches.
- It combines dodging, striking, running and jumping.
- The object is to hit opponents with a ball below the knee while avoiding being hit.
Want to play?
A neighborhood Gaga Ball workshop is scheduled for April 29 from 10 a.m.-noon at Parker Elementary's SPARK Park. Livingston said the workshop is open to anyone willing to attend. For more information, contact Troop No. 147134 San Jacinto Council at [email protected].