Polar Plunge participants are freezing for a reason

By Justine Fraser

The Polar Plunge in Waterloo is back and ready for courageous locals to jump in to. There probably won’t be any gold medal dives, but there will be people dressed in costumes jumping deliberately into icy waters to raise money for athletes participating in the Ontario Special Olympics, which are set to come to Waterloo Region this spring.

 The Waterloo Regional Police Services (WRPS) are hosting the event March 2 at their headquarters on Maple Grove Road.

The Chief of Police, Mark Crowell, usually kicks off the event by plunging in first.

“Whether its snow or shine, we’ll be out,” said Crowell on The Mike Farwell Show on Thursday.

“Every year it gets a little bit better, there’s great energy, great fun, a lot of spectators and I’m really looking forward to it.”

WRPS listed their fundraising goal for the Polar Plunge online at $30,000 but they have already surpassed that goal by over $8,000. More donations will roll in as registration for the event opens at 12 p.m. and plungers are scheduled to start jumping in at 1 p.m..

Anyone too chicken to jump into the freezing cold waters can purchase a rubber chicken to toss in the pool. They also have an option to buy a bag of ice to make it even colder for any plunger that thinks they can handle it.

Police departments in the province have been partnering with the Special Olympics for decades. Many across Ontario have already launched their own Polar Plunge events for this year.

The Ontario Special Olympic Spring Games are set to come to the region this May, hosted by WRPS.

“There is just an amazing spirit, and we know that people are eager and ready to launch the games. We were ready to go several years ago and the whole plan that was in place then is back,” said Crowell.

The games that were planned for 2020 had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Crowell said they are  back and mobilised, ready for the athletes.

“The way the model works is not only to raise money for this community and these games, we actually want to pay it forward to the next games that will be in Ontario.”

Anyone thinking of taking an icy cold plunge is advised to bring a towel and dry clothes with them as well as old or waterproof shoes.

There will be prizes during the event for individual and team costumes that take the cold plunge.

A hot tub will be on site for anyone needing to warm up afterwards. They also will have a food truck that plans to give a percentage of their sales towards Special Olympics Ontario.

The Polar Plunge is one of the biggest fundraisers for Special Olympic athletes.

More information can be found on their website.

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