By Ian Adler
This year marked the sixth annual “Polar Bear Plunge” to help benefit Special Olympics of York County. The event’s main goal is to fundraise to help pay for programs SOYC runs for its athletes.
Participants raise money, show up to the John Wright restaurant in Wrightsville and take a dip in the frozen Susquehanna River. However, there is much more to it than just hopping into ice cold water.
Many plungers dress up in creative costumes, as the event features a “costume contest” with categories such as “most outrageous” or “most creative.” There are also fun activities, with 96.1 WSOX broadcasting music for everyone to dance to throughout the day (the event goes from around 10 AM to 1 PM).
“The energy was a lot higher this year than last year,” Mrs. Carrie Smeltzer, Health teacher and event organizer said. “I think the weather had a lot to do with it and we had a lot of the athletes participate in the dances and things, so I think that made the energy a lot better.”
Red Lion’s team, “RL Hardcore” brought plenty of first time plungers to the stage.
“I think it’s a great event,” English teacher Mr. James Marsala said after taking the plunge. “It’s my first time here, and it’s awesome. It’s a great cause and a really fun time.”
“It was a shock at first, but after coming out of the water, it wasn’t that bad,” Mr. Ryan Small of the English department said. “My sister is actually in the special education program up at Bloomsburg, and she loved doing this last year, so I figured I’d come out and help a good cause and help Mrs. Smeltzer out too.”
“From Red Lion, I would like to see more of our administrators and teachers, colleagues, joining the team,” said Smeltzer. “I know that the students have a lot more fun when they have those individuals joining with them.”
With over 1,000 participants this year, about 350 showed up on the day of the plunge to sign up, marking a record attendance for the event.
The planning committee will meet in May to determine a date for next year’s plunge. Participants can start signing up around the 2015 holiday season.
“I want to put it out to the Rowdies to come next year.” Small said. Polar Bear Plungers ‘Freezin for a reason’, raised over $115,000