Taking the Plunge
By Skylar Reddick
About Special Olympics
I have been involved in the Polar Bear Plunge since 2010. Over those five years, I have seen the amount of people participating and donating increase dramatically. All of the jumpers raise as much money as they can to help support Special Olympics. The money that is donated means that another person in need will be funded to be apart of the teams. They offer over 32 individual and team sports that allow the people with intellectual disabilities to challenge themselves. Many people volunteer as coaches or helpers to support and encourage the athletes. Special Olympics members make sure that everyone is accepted, no matter what disability they have.
My very first year of doing the plunge was nerve wrecking. I had no idea what to expect, as well as what I was raising money for. Waiting in line to jump was the worst part. The wind was blowing and everyone was standing in the snow, while looking at the freezing lake. They had to cut a chunk of ice out between two docks to leave enough space for the people jumping. It was very cold that year, which meant they had to re-cut the ice multiple times. All of a sudden, it was my turn to jump. I wanted to back out, but I knew that I shouldn't. I walked on to the dock and waited for them to give me the OK. When they did, I jumped as far as I could, which wasn't that far, and swam to the ladder. I was in such shock and it felt like there were little needles all over my body. The person in the water helped me climb out and then I ran through the snow to go change. Afterwards, everyone got something to eat, and waited until they started announcing the prizes. They found who raised the most money, the youngest plunger, the oldest plunger, and a few others. I was 12 at the time, and ended up being the youngest plunger. I am proud that I started doing this so young, because it is for a great cause. To get involved and volunteer, click on the link below.
This year, the event was huge. After putting all of the donations together, the total raised was $48,200. There was 380 people that took the plunge in Belleville, MI. Many other places around the country also do this, and as the years go on, it gets more and more publicity. Celebrities are starting to take part in this event, such as Lady Gaga and Taylor Kinney. They took the plunge in Chicago, IL, jumping into Lake Michigan. This proves that a good cause can bring many different people together.