Sugar Beet staff reporter
Many people will be freezin’ for a reason with the annual Polar Plunge upcoming. This event will showcase participants jumping in freezing water appropriately named the polar plunge, the polar strut which is a one mile and 5K outdoor fun run, a polar party, and a costume contest with the theme “All Characters Welcome.” Proceeds from all over the state will be going to support Special Olympics of Kansas. Minimum requirement to take part in the polar strut is $30 and $75 for the polar plunge, although raising as much money for the Special Olympics Kansas athletes is encouraged.
“The interaction between our special Olympic athletes and the community itself is what I enjoy most about organizing this event.” Luke Schulte, event organizer, said. “The Special Olympics all about unifying people whether it’s people with disabilities or without disabilities. Just seeing the community of Garden City come out and support our athletes is wonderful. The money that is made in the community stays in the community, so the money that is raised from Gardens Polar Plunge will go into hosting events for the athletes to go to. It was really the Garden City Police Department coming forward and saying they would like to host a polar plunge in our town. We jumped on it and it has been a fantastic partnership between the PD and the special Olympics. This year we would love to have teams of high school students coming out to help support.”
Raising money for this event helps to keep more than 4,000 Kansas athletes with intellectual disabilities on the playing field throughout the year. Garden Cities goal for their seventh annual polar plunge in 2019 is $12,500 with the state goal being $228,000, of that around $127,000 has been raised. New this year is the incorporation of Polar Bear Bucks. The more money raised the more bucks an individual can get, they can then in turn trade these in at any Polar Plunge Swag Stations. These stations include all sorts of items like gloves, hats, mugs, pop sockets, bags and more.
“When businesses in the community come together for any common goal it’s awesome.” Haily Knoll, manager of Parrot cove, said. “But when they come together for the special olympics, its a way so much of the community can bond with other communities to raise money for the benefit of someone who has different abilities than them. About 4 years ago in Wichita I participated and had a great time. We were pirates and dressed in hideous costumes. But we had a blast freezing before during and after the event. It was on my bucket list, and now its checked off.”
Garden City’s seventh annual plunge, set for Feb. 23, has been postponed to March ninth due to unforeseen conditions. It will be held at Parrot Cove Water Park, 990 Stone Creek Drive inviting participants of all ages to join. This is the state’s largest fundraiser that aims at athletes with intellectual disabilities. There are plunge locations in Topeka, Haysville, Pittsburg, Kansas City, Salina, Emporia, Manhattan, Lawrence, Hutchinson, Wichita and of course Garden City.
“I think the polar plunge is a great way for the community to bond.” Claire Lidstrom, lifeguard at Parrot Cove, said. “I plan on participating in the Polar Plunge this year because helping people who are not as fortunate as ourselves, like having an intellectual disability, means a lot to me. If anybody in Garden City would like to get more involved and help out for a great cause, this is the way to do it.”
Jordan Koerperich is a trade and health academy junior you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.