Volunteers work with Boy Scout Xavier Muller on an Eagle Scout project at Warren Hope Dawson Elementary.

By Makenzie Atkins

For over 100 years, boys have been helping their communities through Eagle Scout projects. Xavier Muller, a Life Scout with Troop 109 in Valrico, spent months planning and building a new piece of playground equipment for Warren Hope Dawson Elementary School in order to complete his Eagle Scout project.

An Eagle Scout project is done in order to test a Scout’s leadership. The Scout must understand and apply logistics and interpersonal skills while helping a nonprofit organization. In this case, Warren Hope Dawson Elementary School was the nonprofit in need. Muller was brainstorming for an Eagle Scout project when a troop leader who works at the school mentioned to him that it was looking to add playground equipment. The school that opened back in 2017 was in need of something new as it was lacking compared to the population of the school.

Muller first began this endeavor in December of 2020 by deciding to build the school a GaGa Ball Pit. As a lover of the game himself, he knew this would be a perfect addition to the playground.

“I built a GaGa Ball Pit rather than other options due to the fact that once my friends and I played it, we were hooked,” said Muller.

Once completing about 575 hours of paperwork, planning and fundraising, he was able to assemble the GaGa Ball Pit. He spent two days building at the school on July 11 and July 17. Muller raised over $1,000 in one month to complete this project, primarily through a GoFundMe page that he and his mom created in June.

A GaGa Ball Pit is a hexagon or octagon-shaped wall that kids can use for a fun game. Muller explained that the players stand inside and throw a ball towards other players’ legs; when you hit someone, they are out. This continues until one person is left standing and crowned the winner. With a new school year just around the corner, the students are looking forward to having a new game to play during recess.

For more information, please contact Derrick McLaughlin, Warren Hope Dawson Elementary School’s principal, at derrick.mclaughlin@sdhc.k12.fl.us.

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