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Freehold Borough officials salute scout for project at area park

A young man who resides in Freehold Township has been recognized by officials in Freehold Borough upon attaining the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America program.

On Sept. 7, Borough Council members honored Raymond Santiago, who is a member of Troop 18, which is chartered by St. Rose of Lima Parish and based in Freehold Borough.

According to a resolution, Raymond constructed a gaga pit at Opatut Park in Freehold Township for his Eagle Scout project.

According to the website thegagasphere.com, “Gaga is a form of dodgeball that originated in Israel in the 1970s and spread when Israeli counselors brought the game to summer camps around the world.

“Players start in a ‘pit,’ an octagon shaped court, hitting and rolling the ball with their hand to eliminate other players. When players are hit below the waist, they are out, but players can always re-enter the game by catching a ball from the sidelines,” according to the website.

Councilwoman Sharon Shutzer said gaga is popular among youngsters who play at the park.

According to the resolution, Raymond led a group of scouts who installed 24 pieces of wood into braces to build the gaga pit’s octagon perimeter, installed the pit’s walls and laid down stone dust on the floor of the pit.

According to the resolution, Raymond is a 2021 graduate of Colts Neck High School. He was a member of the NJROTC magnet program and earned varsity letters in wrestling, soccer and track and field.

Raymond plans to study civil engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., and plans to participate on the track and field team in the javelin and discus.

“The mayor and council of the Borough of Freehold are aware of the significant efforts associated with this attainment of the rank of Eagle Scout,” officials said in the resolution. “(They) are of the opinion that individuals who attain excellence in chosen fields of endeavor such as the Boy Scouts of America are deserving of recognition and commendation by their community.”

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