Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Activity Spotlight: Gaga!

Campers and Staff during a game of Gaga!
Let me be loud and clear: we are NOT talking about Lady Gaga. Gaga is a game that came to YMCA Camp Pendalouan in 2010 and has been a hit every since!

Gaga is a fast paced, dodge-ball like game that anyone can play. Here are some details so that next time you make it out to camp, you'll already know how to play (and you'll know some insider tips too!).

It starts with a "pit." Ours here at camp is a wooden octagon (Fun fact: instead of buying one from a company, our maintenance staff used wood from the old T-Dock to make our own!). But some companies also offer portable Gaga Pits. Camper families have also seen improvised pits in public parks with tipped over picnic tables! You also need a ball. We, here at Pendalouan, use a normal playground ball.

Kids first enter the pit and line up along the edges, making sure to be touching the sides of the pit. One designated player or referee tosses up the ball in the center of the pit and all the players yell "Ga, Ga, Ga!" On the third "Ga" players may leave the sides of the pit and go for the ball, which has landed in the center of the pit. Players then attempt to get fellow players out by hitting the ball towards other players. The ball MUST hit the player below the knees to be out. If the ball hits a player above the knee, no one is out. If someone hits the ball and it flies over the sides of the pit, that player who smacked the ball is out. Once out, players hop out of the pit and watch from the outside.

Girls and Boys of all ages love to play Gaga here at Camp Pendalouan.

 These simple rules make for a safe game. But that doesn't mean it isn't fun! Sometimes 3 or four players can be out on a single toss and when the game gets down to two or three players, the outside of the circle is filled with onlookers and supporters. Sometimes you can hear the cheering all the way from Hiawatha Beach! When one player is left standing, she or he is declared the winner and a new game starts up!

Mark D, one of our 2010 & 2011 Summer Staff Counselors who prided himself on his Gaga skills, recently imparted some hints and tips that he regularly shared with campers the past few summers:
 "Everyone at Pendalouan knows I go gaga for Gaga. Here are a few tips for making sure you stay in the pit longer than anyone else. FIRST, don't forget to watch your back! A hit is still 'live' even if it bounced off the sides of the pit and hits the back of your legs! SECOND, I like to remember to sink down to knees if I know I don't have time to dodge it. THIRD, don't be discouraged if you get out early in the game. The next  round will start in a matter of minutes. LAST, the more you play, the better you get!"

Counselor Mike attempts to steal the ball from a camper. Shortly after this picture was taken, Mike got out!

We here at Pendalouan love Gaga because it's fun, safe, and is a healthy activity that gets kids moving quite a bit! It's a great chance for kids to learn sportsmanship and a wonderful opportunity for both campers and counselors alike to practice the four core values of Honesty, Caring, Respect and Responsibility.

Although we play Gaga all year round, the game is best played in the summer with warm sand under your feet! We hope you can join us in a game (or three) of Gaga the next time you make it out to the shores of Big Blue Lake!

Want to join us for Overnight Camp or Day Camp this summer? Registration is open! Sign Up Today! If you have any questions about any of our Summer Camp Programs or would like to register, see our website or call our office at (231) 894-4538. 

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