VERSAILLES — Boy Scouts of America and Troop 79 awarded Collin Rismiller of Versailles, its highest rank, the Eagle Scout Award, at a Court of Honor Ceremony in Heritage Park on Sunday, May 21.
Rismiller is the son of Matt and Erin Rismiller and is one of approximately 4% of all Boy Scouts who attain the rank of Eagle. Each Eagle Scout must earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, show leadership, and successfully complete a community or church related service project to complete his Eagle Scout requirements.
Rismiller’s Eagle Scout project was to design and build the new gaga ball pit at Heritage Park. This project was selected with the intent to provide an activity that could be enjoyed by family and community members of all ages and future generations. His project began with a concept that was presented to the Heritage Park Board in the spring of 2022. The board was very receptive to the idea of adding this feature to the park. Rismiller worked in conjunction with the Heritage Park Board and Troop 79’s charter representative, HB Hole, to develop a design that would both complement the existing park structures and be low maintenance.
His gaga ball pit would include composite wood and a color scheme that would match the nearby playground and park’s benches. Furthermore, a full concrete slab with artificial turf grass rounded out the project upgrades that provide the opportunity to use the gaga ball pit almost year around.
Once the project plan was approved by the Heritage Park Board and the scouting organization, the fundraising for project began. In total, 34 local organizations generously supported the project that provides additional activities for the community to enjoy in Heritage Park. These organizations are: A.L. Smith Trucking, Alvetro Orthodontics, Blue Willow Boutique, Brown Chiropractic, Bruns Animal Clinic, CF Poeppleman, Inc, Classic Carriers, Co-Alliance, Dick Lavy, Direct Tooling Concepts Inc, Emerson Climate Technologies, Family Health, Gordon Orthodontics, Groff Mowing & Lawn Care, Grillot Construction, Herb Pantry, J & K Pallet, Kaup Pharmacy, Ruth Emerson Booher Grant, Versailles Area Pride and Progress, Versailles Modern Mothers, Versailles Lions Club, Versailles Fraternal Order of Eagles, Vtown Tigers, Nickol Monument, Pick Six Drive Thru & Pizza, Pohl Trucking, Prenger Financial, Prosperity Promotions, Rapid Development, Reese Electric Inc., Sidney Spouting, and Zechar-Bailey Funeral Home.
Construction began in the fall of 2022 as Rismiller led a group of Scouts and adult leaders in building the gaga ball pit. This took place over the course of several months. Key steps in the process were removal and relocating the frisbee golf practice basket, site prep for the concrete foundation, backfill of soil around the pit, and concluded with the installation of the gaga ball pit and artificial turf. As construction completed there was instantly children present, eagerly awaiting the chance to join in the inaugural game.
Gaga ball is a fast-paced, high-energy game that is typically played in an enclosed or fenced-in area, such as a gaga pit. It is a variant of dodgeball and is popular among children, teenagers, and even adults. The game involves hitting a ball with your hands to eliminate opponents and be the last person standing. Gaga ball requires quick reflexes, agility, and strategy. It’s a highly inclusive game, allowing players of different ages and skill levels to participate and have fun together. The core objective of the game is hitting the ball at opponents while avoiding being hit yourself. Children in Versailles learn the game during elementary school on the playground. However, it is also frequently played at 4H and scouting camps and other surrounding communities also have gaga ball pits in their parks.
Rismiller is the senior patrol leader of Troop 79 and has served as assistant senior patrol leader, patrol leader, den chief and liberian. He began his scouting career in the first grade by joining the Cub Scouts. Outside of scouting, Rismiller is a class of 2023 graduate Versailles High School where he played percussion for the Versailles Bands, sang with Amplified Show Choir, was a member of the golf and swim teams, the high school musicals, and National Honor Society. He served as the band president during his senior year and is a nine-year member of Dayton’s Muse Machine. He has performed on stage in 24 musical theater productions for VHS, Muse Machine, and Towne & Country Players and has played piano for 11 years.
In the fall Rismiller will be attending The Ohio State University and majoring in biomedical engineering. Versailles Troop 79’s Boy Scout charter has been sponsored by the Versailles Lion’s Club since 1946. Learn more about Rismiller’s Eagle Scout Project by viewing his website https://sites.google.com/view/collinriseaglescout.