BATH TOWNSHIP — Fairborn resident and Eagle Scout Candidate Alex Hooper has pitched a project to Bath Township Trustees that he hopes will be a great addition to the township park.
The 14-year-old Boy Scout, who is an active member of Fairborn Troop 72, has proposed building a hexagon gaga ball pit as a community service project to attain Eagle Scout rank. Hooper first introduced his proposal to the township trustees during the Aug.1 township meeting and pitched the idea to trustees again during the Aug. 15 township meeting.
“I do believe that the majority of the guests visiting the park will enjoy gaga ball just as much, if not more, than I do. Especially with the increasing popularity of the game, more and more children have become interested in playing gaga ball,” Hooper said. “I chose to build a gaga ball pit for my project because of the game’s simplicity, its free-for-all nature, such as the fact that any number of people and all ages can play, and its overall level of fun.”
The local scout said he was first introduced to the popular sport two years ago while attending a Boy Scout summer camp in Michigan. According to Hooper, the scouts would dash straight to the gaga pits during activity time each day.
“Later that year my church bought a gaga ball pit as well, giving me plenty of opportunities to play the game with my friends,” Hooper added.
A gentler variant of dodge ball, gaga ball is played with a soft foam ball in a large fenced-in area called a gaga ball pit. Players need to dodge, run, jump, and keep moving to avoid getting hit by the ball. The object of the game is to be the last person standing, Hooper explained.
Hooper told trustees that the proposed service project would include months of fundraising and one month to construct the pit. The scout also pointed out an area in the township park, which is located at 1006 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road, where he proposed to build the pit.
When asked by Township trustee John Martin what the dimensions of the pit would be, Hooper stated that he was planning to build a 17-foot diameter pit with walls that would be 2-to-3 feet high.
“Each side of the hexagon pit will be 10 feet long, and I might add a gate or entrance to the pit,” said Hopper.
The scout also offered to stake out the area of the park where the pit would be built to provide the trustees with a better concept of the size and location of the pit.
Township Trustee Steve Ross told Hooper during the Aug. 1 township meeting that he would consult with a representative of the township’s insurance company concerning any risks involved. During the Aug. 15 meeting, Ross said he had spoken to a representative of the risk management division of the insurance company who approved the construction of the pit. However, Ross noted that the company representative wants a site plan in advance and has suggested that the gaga court to be wheelchair accessible.
“People in wheelchairs need to be able to get close enough to the gaga pit to watch the games as well,” Ross said. “It is just a concern of our insurance company representative.”
Township Trustee Tom Pitstick inquired about Hooper’s plans for the surface of the pit and voiced his concerns about the pit becoming muddy during periods of rainfall. Hooper stated that he planned on using sand or grass for the surface area. Ross suggested using mulch.
Pitstick also asked about the material that would be used to construct the walls of the pit and suggested using a composite wood product that would last longer than wood. Hooper said he would use a type of treated wood.
The township trustees agreed that Hooper would submit a site plan to township trustees. Once the insurance company approves the plan, the scout could move forward with his community service project.
Hooper, who is the son of Daylond and Jeanne Hooper, is currently home schooled and has served several leadership roles as a Boy Scout, including assistant patrol leader for Badger Patrol for three months and patrol leader for Badger Patrol for three months. He has also served as senior patrol leader for one year and troop librarian for two years. Boy Scout Troop 72 meets weekly at the First Presbyterian Church, 1130 Highview Drive, in Fairborn.
Hooper noted that he plans on soliciting the help of fellow scouts, friends and family to complete his Eagle Scout community service project.
“I am excited to provide this game to boys and girls of all ages in my community by building this gaga ball pit at the township park,” Hooper said.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.