Maine, N.Y. — Many people have heard of dodgeball, that perennial game of childhood gym classes and playgrounds where a rubber ball similar to a kickball is hurled through the air in an attempt to hit another person knocking him or her out of the game, and maybe even leaving a stinging red mark where that ball made contact.
But have you heard of gaga ball? Gaga ball is a fast-paced game like dodgeball but played in an octagonal pit with a soft foam ball. All players need to dodge, strike, run and jump while attempting to hit opponents below the knees with the ball.
Two Vestal middle-school Girl Scouts, Sophia Juriga and Francesca (Frannie) Vallone of Girl Scout Troop 30524 in Vestal, N.Y., built a Gaga ball pit at the Girl Scouts of NYPENN (GSNYPENN) Service Center located in Maine, N.Y. as part of their Silver Award service project. The Silver Award is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette (grades 6-8) can earn. Sophia and Frannie invite the community to a grand opening for the ball pit at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 20, at the office located at 2626 State Route 26, Maine, N.Y.
In a press release provided by GSNYPENN, Frannie said the girls’ end goal is, “to provide a space for local children, teens, and our fellow Girl Scouts with more opportunities to be active to improve their physical and mental well-being while participating in an all-inclusive game.”
Sophia added, “We realized that almost every park in our hometown does not have a gaga ball pit and that overall exercise for some kids is lacking. We also wanted to inspire girls who come to the GSNYPENN council office in Maine that exercise outside is very fun, especially playing a game you don’t hear of every day.”
Girl Scouts who pursue the Silver Award look around their neighborhoods and schools and develop a project to make their community better in the process. Silver Award projects require 50 hours of work per Girl Scout. Sophia and Frannie have raised approximately $1,000.00 in funds for their project through a bottle drive and car wash they organized as well as donations. The pair recently completed eighth grade at Vestal Middle School. Sophia has been a Girl Scout since Daisy level (grades K-1) and Frannie since Brownie (grades 2-3). They completed their work with support from their Project Guides Sandra Juriga and Jenn Vallone.
GSNYPENN serves girls in K-12 across 26 counties: Allegany,Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Oswego, Otsego, St. Lawrence, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne and Yates in New York and Bradford and Tioga in Pennsylvania.