By TAYLOR HARTZ
If you’ve ever had the desire to go jump in a lake—in the middle of winter—now is your chance.
The YMCA will be hosting their 11th annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, Jan. 16 at Camp Sloper, raising funds to help send local kids to the camp this summer.
Just under 200 people will be taking the plunge next week, as members of 11 teams that have already signed on to take the ice-cold plunge.
The teams include community leaders, local foundation members, memorial teams, and every-day Southington residents. Each participant will raise a minimum of $100 for Camp Sloper funding.
Southington’s police and fire departments will be making the jump, led by Police Chief Jack Daly and Firefighter Bob Hunt.
Town leaders on Team Board of Education, led by BOE Chair Brian Goralski, and Team Southington Politicians, led by Town Chairman Mike Riccio, will also face the cold temperatures on Saturday morning.
Team YMCA will be led by Director of Operations Mark Pooler and Executive Director John Myers, but the host team is open to all Southington residents.
“It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, other than summer camp,” Pooler said about the annual event.
“This event has become a community staple, and tons of volunteers and donors rally together to help kids,” said Pooler, who will be jumping in with his team.
Team Southington, open to all residents, will be led by YMCA recreation director David Lepray, joined by teams from Lake Compounce and The Calvanese Foundation.
For some, the plunge is an opportunity to honor late loved ones.
“Jon’s Jumpers” will participate again this year in memory of Jon Boros, led by his wife Hacah Boros, while Lynn Rossini will lead “Milestones for Melanie” in a plunge in memory of Melanie Rossini.
This year’s feature team is “Leaping Ladies,” with captains Jennifer Brumback, Moi Myers, Dawn Pooler and Terri Connellan.
“Jumping into the icy cold water in January is insane,” said Leading Ladies member Myers, wife of YMCA Executive Director, “which translates into an insane summer of fun for kids who would otherwise not have the opportunity.”
“If jumping into the pond in January brings one more smile to camp, then maybe it’s worth taking the plunge,” added Myers.
For those who can’t bear the cold, spectators are welcomed and encouraged to cheer on those taking “the plunge.”
“Each year we are amazed at the number of people who come out to the event and support the plungers,” said Pooler.
Opportunities for sponsorship are also available, and YMCA Polar Plunge banner sponsorships can be purchased for $250.
Businesses and families can visit www.sccymca.org for more information on sponsorship.
Those interested in taking the plunge this year should contact Mark Pooler firstname.lastname@example.org, all those interested in taking the plunge must be 18-years-old, raise at least $100, and be a member of a team.