Going gaga for this project

Evan Rammel builds court for popular game to attain Eagle Scout status

EVAN RAMMEL SAT on the edge of his Eagle Scout project, a gaga ball court in Belgium’s Heritage Park. He fell in love with the game years ago at Boy Scout camp and wanted to bring the game to the village. Photo by Mitch Maersch
Ozaukee Press staff

When he was 12, Cedar Grove-Belgium High School sophomore Evan Rammel tried a new game at Boy Scout camp called gaga ball.

“It was really popular. I loved it,” he said.

Three years later, when Rammel, a member of Troop 806 in Belgium, was looking for a task to reach the highest rank in scouting, he remembered his favorite game.

“He knew immediately this was going to be his Eagle Scout project,” his mother Stephanie said.

Evan embarked on a mission to build a gaga ball court in Belgium.

It was easy to convince area kids to support his project, but parents hadn’t heard of the game.

Gaga ball is played inside an octagon made of wooden panels by 10 to 15 people. Players punch or hit a kickball at each other. A hit below the knee and they are out of the game. Play lasts until one person is left.

Evan brought the game to Summer Nights LIVE and Luxembourg Fest in Belgium, where it caught on.

He began the approval process to put a court in Heritage Park. Three sets of paperwork had to go to a Boy Scout council for approval.

Then Evan approached the village’s Parks and Recreation Committee.

“They were all for it. The adults knew what it was,” his mother said.

By the time the proposal reached the Village Board, it was a go. Evan was a little nervous presenting to Belgium’s elected officials, and they liked his idea so much “They kind of cut me off halfway through my speech,” he said.

Then it was time to go shopping. Evan wrote letters requesting funding to various companies.

Some of the materials were donated. Evan helped cut the panels of wood into the right sizes with specific tools. Scouts are not supposed to use power tools with cords.

Village employee Pat Wester let the wood be stored in a village shed and even helped deliver it to where the court would be built.

Wester had showed Evan around village parks and property to find a suitable spot. A grassy area next to the playground equipment at Heritage Park was chosen.

Evan, Scout leaders and volunteers, 12 in all, put the court together in six hours on a mid-October day. It took four people to carry each panel of wood. Then, each panel had to be hinged together.

“I felt accomplished. I was happy we finished it. It was a lot of work,” Evan said.

But the group still had some energy left at the end of the day.

“As soon as the boys were done putting this up, everyone was in. We had to play,” Evan’s mother said.

They weren’t the only ones who quickly took advantage of the new attraction.

“We started driving past,” Evan’s mother said. “They day after they built it there were two little boys here playing. They played over an hour.”

The project lasted six months and cost about $1,000. Evan wants to add plaques to the court to honor the donors.

He has a few more badges to finish before he becomes an Eagle Scout.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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