SHS senior builds ‘gaga pit,’ becomes Eagle Scout

Published 9:56 am Friday, October 28, 2016

Visitors to the James L. Camp Jr. Family YMCA in Franklin may notice a newly constructed octagonal addition to the fields outside.

Known as a “gaga pit,” an arena for playing a variant of dodgeball called “gaga ball,” this recent addition is the brainchild of Southampton High School senior Brandon Fenters, who took the lead in its construction as one of his final steps toward becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank a boy scout can attain.

“I had in past camps played gaga in gaga pits and nobody in our town had ever heard of it,” he said regarding his inspiration for constructing the pit. “I figured the YMCA could use a gaga pit. I talked to the YMCA director about the project and I lined everything up for the construction, but the actual construction was done with the help of other scouts.”

The rules of the Gaga Pit game

The rules of the Gaga Pit game

Since nobody in town knew of the game, Fenters placed a plaque with rules and instructions on one side of the pit as a final touch. According to him, there are many different ways to play gaga and the rules change depending on where it’s played, so he wanted one universal set of rules for his pit so it would be easy for others to learn the game.

“The kids love it; it’s a great game,” he said. “The Y has actually used the gaga pit every day it’s been there.”

Fenters said the requirements for the project included its benefiting some type of nonprofit organization with a focus on bettering the community, approval from the Colonial Council, and his leading others in the project’s completion.

Fenters also had to secure all the materials himself, some of which were donated or discounted by local businesses, and others were purchased using funds raised during Troop 17’s annual spaghetti dinner during February this year. Everything else came out of his own pocket with money he had earned working.

The last step in the process was to submit a final report and official Eagle Scout application once everything was finished. The application includes an essay on what a prospective eagle scout has accomplished in life thus far and what he intends to accomplish in the future, in which Fenters wrote of his plans to attend Longwood University and study nursing.

“Then all that paperwork gets sent to Colonial Council; then you go through a board of review to make sure you’ve completed everything,” he said. “At the time of your board of review, you’re considered an eagle scout and your paperwork is sent to national.”

According to Fenters, before even being eligible to begin the process of becoming an Eagle Scout, a scout must complete 21 merit badges, serve in a position of responsibility for at least six months after making first class, have a specific number of community service hours at each rank and learn certain scouting skills such as first aid, knot tying, cooking and electronics.

He joined the Boy Scouts in 2011 and worked his way up through the ranks from scout to tenderfoot, second class, first class, star and life. Fenters was officially proclaimed an Eagle Scout after his review board on Tuesday evening.