By Lisa Capobianco
The Southington YMCA plans to kick off its ninth annual Polar Plunge on January 18, giving members of the community an opportunity to jump into the frigid waters of Sloper’s Pond for a good cause.
Transforming into one of Southington’s most popular fundraisers, the Polar Plunge event features nine different teams made up of local politicians, school staff and officials, YMCA employees, firefighters and police officers. Lake Compounce will also have a team of plungers, and a “feature team” will be announced soon. Each swimmer requires a sponsor to participate in the event, and all donations help provide a summer camp experience at the YMCA Camp Sloper for children and teens.
Mark Pooler, the Outdoor Center Director at Camp Sloper, said the YMCA received close to $24,000 in donations last year, and hopes to raise at least the same amount this year. Pooler said the Polar Plunge serves as a great way for the community to have fun while giving back to children.
“It is such a unique event,” said Pooler, who will help lead Team YMCA during the event, along with Executive Director John Myers. “People like to see others do crazy things. It is a great community event.”
Pooler added how much energy the teams bring to the event every year.
Brian Goralski, the chairman of the Southington Board of Education, will help lead his team with Southington High School teacher Bob Lasbury. Calling the Polar Plunge exciting, Goralski has participated in the event for at least four years now. Goralski said that he returns every year simply for the joy of giving back to children in the community.
“It all goes toward what we work for—giving kids opportunities,” Goralski said. “We have a lot of kids that need our help and support.”
The Polar Plunge starts at 1 p.m. at YMCA Camp Sloper. Spectators should arrive at 12:30 p.m. to get a good spot. Anyone interested in participating in the Polar Plunge must be at least 18 years of age and will need sponsorships totaling a minimum of $100 per plunger—all pledges must be collected and submitted upon registration on January 18. Each team should have no more than 40 members. All plungers must complete a signed waiver form before taking the plunge, and must pre-register with a Team Captain or with Mark Pooler if looking for a team. For more information, contact Pooler at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (860) 621-8194.