Polar Bears “freezin’ for a reason” in Borden Feb. 18 PDF Print E-mail

A group of brave souls sporting summer swim attire will gather together in Borden later this month to take a refreshing, bone-chilling dip in Deam Lake. Yet contrary to what the evidence may suggest, these people aren’t crazy - they’re just participants in this year’s Polar Bear Plunge.
The Plunge is an annual, nationwide fundraising event that raises money and awareness for the Special Olympics. In the spirit of a 5K run for charity, participants are encouraged to raise their own entry fees by soliciting donations and collecting pledges from friends, family, co-workers or anybody else they can think to ask. Would-be Polar Bears also have the choice of raising money as a team, an option that might be particularly inviting in the workplace.
The minimum amount required is $50 for young people who bring along a student I.D. and $75 for adults. Every member of a team must raise their own individual entry fee. There is also the option of becoming a “Super Plunger” for people who go well above and beyond the call of duty by raising $4,000 or more and participate in two or more Plunge events in Indiana. Those who acquire that special rank will be eligible to acquire some additional prizes, along with some other unique privileges.
“This is the fourth year they’ve had  it at Deam Lake,” says Michelle Dewitt, a member of the Polar Bear Plunge committee for Area 2, which covers Clark, Floyd, Scott, and most of the other counties in Southern Indiana. Aside from the main attraction, she says there’s lots of fun to be had the day of the event, including a costume contest before the plunge and an “After Splash Bash” afterwards that consists of a silent auction, a hot meal and an awards ceremony celebrating those who have raised the most funds.
But all fun and games aside, the staff who put on the Indiana plunges are very mindful of the event’s beneficiary, the Special Olympics. The organization is very close to the hearts of many of the committee members, according to Dewitt. “Nobody pictures having a child with intellectual or physical disabilities...and the Special Olympics allow that child to do the things they want to do.” Special Olympics Indiana provides year-round sports training and athletic competitions in over 16 different sports for both children and adults with varying disabilities. They currently boast around 11,000 athletes across the state.
Dewitt said the excitement for this year’s Plunge is growing and they’re hoping to capitalize and build on last year’s momentum. Borden saw around 300 people take the frosty dive in 2011 and they raised an impressive $50,000. She also mentioned they’ve been concentrating on getting the word out in Washington County, an area that hasn’t yielded a large number of participants in recent years. Polar Bears have made appearances at Salem and Eastern basketball games this season, trying to drum up interest and maybe even a little rivalry between the two school systems. “Every year it gets more fun as  competition grows between teams,” Dewitt added, so a fundraising duel between the lions and the musketeers would make a very welcome addition to the festivities leading up to the big event.
The Polar Bear Plunge will take place the morning of Saturday, February 18. You can pre-register early at the Special Olympics Indiana website, www.soindiana.org, but last-minute entries will also be able to easily register on-site at the Deam Lake Beach House from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., when the costume contest begins. Folks will start taking the actual plunge at 11 a.m. For more information on the Polar Bear Plunge or Special Olympics Indiana, visit the SOI website. For specifics on the Borden event and how you can get involved, contact co-chair Bobbie Binggeli at 502-553-2092, or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 February 2012 14:16