Polar Plunge to benefit W.Va. Special Olympics
Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 30, 2012 00:01
How far would you go to support a good cause?
The Polar Plunge is an event in which participants "plunge for a purpose" into a freezing pool or river, and proceeds from the event benefit the Special Olympics of West Virginia. The 8th Annual Polar Plunge will take place Feb. 18 at the Star City Park & Marina.
"The Polar Plunge helps to underwrite the state events for the Special Olympics of West Virginia, and by doing that, the county has to come up with less money to bring their athletes to the event," said Janet Scarcelli, Morgantown chair for the Polar Plunge. "So, it actually benefits every county in the state and everyone in the long run."
This is the first year plungers have been given the option to take the plunge in a pool, Scarcelli said. In the past, all plungers have taken the plunge in the Monongahela River. When plungers sign up, they specify if they'd like to plunge in the pool or the river, and according to Scarcelli, this is a way to see what the plungers prefer and help organizers make decisions for the future.
The event is open to all participants, but individuals less than 18 years old require a parental consent form.
"We have had everywhere from 8-year-olds to 70-and-80-year-old folks take the plunge," Scarcelli said. "We usually get a lot of college students and professionals, as well."
The Morgantown Fire Department supplies the event with crews trained in diving who are in the water at all times during the plunge as well as a dive boat, Scarcelli said.
"In the pool and the river, you're never doing further than four feet deep. In the pool, you're jumping so you're getting wet all at once, and in the river you're just walking in. You can walk as far as you want until we say you can't go any further," Scarcelli said. "It's completely up to you whether you go in all the way and get everything wet or just get your toes wet, and say you took the plunge."
Participants may also enter the costume contest before the plunge and plunge in their costume. The individual and the team of two-to-four members with the best costume will win an in-state vacation.
"We've gotten as many different varieties of costumes as people can imagine. We've had everything from a person taking a bath or a shower to a polar bear, from the group KISS to Michael Jackson and even Fred Flintstone," Scarcelli said.
There are different prizes individuals can win based on the amount of money raised or donated.
The individual and the team of two-to-four members who raise the most money will win a getaway vacation in West Virginia.
The minimum contribution to enter the event is $50, and individuals receive a Polar Plunge T-shirt. The team of five or more who raises the most money in excess of $2,000 receives a trophy.
Scarcelli said those interested in taking the plunge can ask friends or family to donate online and put the name of the plunger in the comments section.
Registration for the plunge begins at noon on Feb. 18, and participants can register online before the day of the event.
Following the plunge will be an After Plunge Party at Kegler's Sports Bar at 3:30 p.m. with soft drinks, beer, wings and other food at no cost to the plungers. Prizes will also be distributed at the party.
"To participate in this event and give something back to your community really is a growing experience for folks, and it helps identify who we are as adults," Scarcelli said. "I think that everyone who has had the opportunity to participate in this event in the past have all walked away saying that it felt so good to do something for such a good cause."
To register for the plunge, donate or for more information, visit www.wvpolarplunge.com.