A day after the hot passion of Valentine’s Day, St. Clair and the Windsor-Essex community will display its warm support of local Special Olympians, when dozens of daring divers jump into an icy pool during the annual Polar Plunge.
For the fifth consecutive year, St. Clair will play host to the crazy fundraiser, on February 15 in the parking lot of the college’s SportsPlex.
A press conference to promote the event was held at the SportsPlex on January 18.
Since 2015, the Windsor-Essex Polar Plunge – organized by the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics – has been one of the highest-earning events of its type in all of Canada. With the fundraising tally climbing each year, it has collected a total of $185,665 during the past four years.
On-campus promotion of the Plunge has been spearheaded, from the start, by the Student Representative Council (SRC).
In her remarks during the January 17 press conference, SRC President (and three-time Plunger) Holly Nicholson, noted, “Every year, for the past five years, the members of the Student Representative Council, St. Clair’s students, our student-athletes, our faculty and staff, students and staff from local high schools, the members of local businesses and service clubs, emergency responders led by the Windsor Police Service, and just plain crazy individuals – we’ve all been jumping into icy cold water during the annual Polar Plunge.
“And this insanity makes perfectly good sense to us. Once you’ve met our local Special Olympians, and come to appreciate the pure joy they experience by playing their sports, the chance to assist them in reaching their goals warms our hearts to a far greater degree than the water chills our skin.”
[As part of the in-college promotion of the during the next week or two, students can look for Nicholson to be perched on a stool, wrapped in plastic, and welcoming donations for a chance to “Pie The SRC President”.]
College President Patti France used a portion of her remarks during the press conference to pay tribute to Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick, who will be retiring this year:
“During the very first year of the Plunge, Al was called to the podium to make some welcoming remarks, and we thought that would be about the extent of his participation. But, no, he concluded his comments, and then cannon-balled right into the pool – and he’s repeated that feat every year since.
“Chief Al: You took an oath to ‘serve and protect your community’ as a police officer. Cherishing your community, being a selfless example to your community, may not have been contained in that oath; but, fortunately for all of us, those qualities were contained in your personal DNA. Thank you for everything you’ve done for this area, and especially for your support and promotion of this very special event.”
France added, "St. Clair College is thrilled to be hosting the Polar Plunge for the fifth consecutive year – but, moreso, we're honoured to be a long-time partner and participant of this wonderful fundraiser for the Special Olympics. As long as the community is committed to generating these 'frozen assets', St. Clair students and staff will be the first ones on the diving board."
The Polar Plunge begins on the 15th at 10 a.m., with pre-registration and some fun-and-games in the SportsPlex’s gym.
Then, at noon, the diving commences.
The organizers have arranged for a number of give-aways and incentives for fundraising participants this year. All Plungers will receive a Polar Plunge “icy mug”. The highest fundraiser will receive a Samsung Galaxy tablet. Raising $100 in donations will earn a diver some Polar Plunge socks, and $150 will be rewarded with socks and a T-shirt. The highest fundraiser in the province will receive tickets to a Toronto Maple Leafs game.
More info (and the ability to register and make donations, by team or individual) is available at http://www.polarplunge.ca/plunges/windsor-essex/
The local event’s fifth anniversary can be multiplied by ten for the beneficiary of the plunge … Special Olympics Ontario is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. For information about the organization’s local district, see http://southwest.specialolympicsontario.ca/