It is a fast-paced, high-energy, dodgeball-style game that is gaining popularity all across the nation. Thanks to a local high school student, Gavin Clark, Grove Park Elementary has a Gaga Ball pit of its own.
“This game really gives the people who don’t play sports and people who are often intimidated by it, you know, athletic events to really to possibly get into more sports,” he says. “Hopefully, this game kind of influences some of the students at Grove Park to draw some interest in sporting and outdoor activities.”
Clark was working on ideas for his Eagle Scout project and said he wanted to do something special for the school. His mother has been the Speech Language Pathologist there for more than 20 years.
“This school has just provided her with so much love and care and just has such a great support system. And I just wanted to do anything I could to give back to this community.”
So, he met with principal Traci Horton who came up with the idea for the Gaga ball pit.
Clark says he “absolutely fell in love with it.”
He started working at Lowes to get the money for the lumber and gravel. And that’s where he learned the first of many lessons.
“Saving up for this project was really the first savings plan I had really developed, and I also began to realize that you know, I could benefit others with the savings goal as well,” he says. “So if I could, you know, start to build a positive savings plan while also building funds to help the community.”
The other lessons came during the construction.
“There were a lot of mistakes made initially, but after we started to get things sorted out and figured out, the cutting ended up, being the hardest part. But once we got that our strategy down for that, we really were able to efficiently get everything done and measure everything out right,” Clark said.
Now his hard work is in use almost every day at the school and by every class.
“It is for everyone. So, from our kindergarteners all the way up to our fifth graders. And I think my PE teacher has kind of jumped on board and said, oh, I would love to be able to integrate this in my PE classes,” Horton said.
“I just want the kids to enjoy outside. I think that our kids spend so much time on a screen that they need to be able to enjoy the fresh air and having fun with their friends. Being competitive, learning how to win, how to lose, how to lose gracefully, but just having fun. That’s what I just want for our kids to have fun and enjoy being at school.”
All of it thanks to Clark.
“It was so rewarding to be honest,” he says. “Like I had all the work that we had put into it for really the last year towards all the planning and funding and construction. It all paid off after seeing the joy that this, this Gaga ball pit brought the kids because that’s really all that matters to me.”
“I can definitely say this is What’s Right With Our Schools!” Horton says.