Gaga for Gaga Ball?

10492267_10153321412211210_6177118859686215103_nWhat’s all the fuss, anyway? The game is hugely popular at Beaver Summer Programs, especially among middle, upper, and senior campers (as well as CITs!) It originally became popular among Jewish camps during the 1970s and has seen a major resurgence over the past decade at camps, schools, and youth activity centers outside of the Jewish community. GaGa actually translates from Hebrew as “touch-touch” and is a variation on dodgeball.  Some refer to it as Israeli Dodgeball, Octo-Ball, or Panda Ball.  It is commonly believed that the game was brought to the US Jewish summer camps by Israeli camp counselors.

Rules of the Game:

  • All players start with one hand touching a wall of the pit.
  • The game begins with a referee throwing the ball into the center of the pit.
  • When the ball enters the pit, the players scream ‘GA’ for the first two bounces, and ‘GO’ on the third bounce, after which the ball is in action.
  • Once the ball is in play, any player can hit the ball with an open or closed hand.
  • If a ball touches a player below the knee (even if the player hits himself or herself), he or she is out and leaves the pit. If a player is hit above the knees, the play continues.
  • If a ball is caught on a fly, the player who threw the ball is out.
  • Using the walls of the octagon to aid in jumping is legal as long as the player does not permanently sit on the ledge of the octagon.
  • Players cannot hold the ball.
  • If needed, a second ball can be thrown in the pit to expedite the end of the game. The last player standing is the winner of that round.

Ask your camper how much fun he or she has playing in the GaGa pit at Beaver!