REESES MILL - Camp Minco is a special place in the hearts of many Mineral County youths and past campers, even those who have moved away from the area. It is centrally located in the county and the heart of the County 4-H program.

For the News Tribune
REESES MILL - Camp Minco is a special place in the hearts of many Mineral County youths and past campers, even those who have moved away from the area. It is centrally located in the county and the heart of the County 4-H program.
Almost all youths who attended Mineral County Schools during the past 30+ years have had the opportunity to attend sixth grade Outdoor School, gaining valuable life skills and a better understanding of the environment.
Haylea Wilson, a 4-H member and senior with Keyser High School, decided that for her 2020 Senior Project she wanted to do something for Camp Minco. “I really wanted to add a new fun, recreation activity to the camp that everyone could enjoy,” said Haylea. “I decided to build a GaGa pit.”
“Many of our local 4-H members who attend state 4-H camps at Jackson’s Mill have come back saying what a great time they have playing the GaGa game,” says Margaret Miltenberger, Mineral County 4-H agent. “This seemed like the perfect project for Haylea and Camp Minco.”
“The GaGa game is simply a dodgeball type of physical activity that gets your blood pumping and heart racing,” says Haylea.  The game involves many participants in the ball pit and a dodge ball is hit by a player who aims at opponents’ legs. If it hits your legs or if the ball flies out of the pit, that player is out. It is a game of elimination and the last person standing is the winner. 
The court is made in an octagon shape with eight sides. There are three ten-inch-wide boards that are 10’ long on each side, the sides are connected by a joint. “We used treated lumber so it will last a long time and hold up in the weather,” says Haylea.
Health education funds of $1,000 were used to support the project. The hardware was from the GAGA pit website and the lumber from Boggs Supply. 
“Because 4-H camp has a tribal tradition, we used different colors for the joint connectors to represent the different West Virginia 4-H Tribes,” says Wilson. “We used green for Seneca, red for Mingo, and orange for Cherokee, and black for Delaware.”
“Haylea and her helpers completed the project on Feb. 23, so that it would be ready for Mineral County Outdoor School and 4-H Camps,” says Miltenberger. “Of course these camps are now delayed for a later time, but the GaGa pit is ready when camps are back in session!”
The GaGa pit will used by future Mineral County Outdoor School campers, 4-H members and with other camps and family reunions.  Approximately 800+ people could use this game annually.
 Haylea Wilson is a senior at KHS and plans to study nursing and attend West Virginia University in Morgantown. She has been active with KHS, participating in soccer, basketball, cheer, Key Club, High-Y, Student Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FFA, 4-H, National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, and Science Honor Society.
She was awarded “The Heart of the Community” scholarship through the local Moose, as well as being named a PVC Scholar Athlete.
“I would like to thank the 4-H Leader’s Association, Margaret Miltenberger, James and Kayla Lyons, and Dylan and Hayward Wilson for their help with the project,” she said. “I hope many children will have a lot of fun and enjoy playing the GaGa game for many years to come.”
For more information about the Mineral County 4-H program, contact Margaret Miltenberger with WVU Mineral County Extension Office at 304-788-3621 or email m.miltenberger@mail.wvu.edu.
Although the physical office is currently closed, Mineral County Extension faculty and staff are working remotely. WVU Extension programs are open to all youths, families and individuals.