BY VERONICA REINER
The 37th annual Polar Plunge on Feb. 15 was a success, featuring 25 participants, around 200 spectators, live music and CTV media coverage.
“It’s on par with the turnout we had last year,” said Stephanie Marks, Conestoga Students Inc. events co-ordinator.
The money raised from the plungers went to KW Habilitation, which provides a wide range of individualized services and supports to children with any special need and adults with developmental disabilities.
CSI’s goal was to raise $2,500. Sponsors of this year’s event included Boston Pizza, Centre in the Square, Kitchener Market, Grand Valley Golf Course, Skyzone, Uptown Waterloo and Chicopee Ski Park.
CSI marketed the event through several channels. There was plenty of promotion through social media platforms like Facebook, “as well as via posters, flyers, promotional videos and classroom presentations,” said Laura Sinclair, a communications assistant at CSI. A member of the radio station Dave Rocks MCed the event.
Everyone had different reasons for participating in the Polar Plunge.
“So I’m from the (CSI) board of directors,” said Scot Wyles, a third-year Conestoga College student. “And they picked this as their charity this year so I felt like I should jump in and raise some money for it.”
Raising money for KW Habilitation was a consistent answer given. Students wanted to make a difference.
“It’s a bit of a shock,” said CTV reporter Tyler Calver, who spontaneously dove into the pool. “Well, the crowd was cheering me on, so I had to do it. The shock of the water, it’s so frigid!”
Another CTV news reporter, Mark Venema, also dove into the pool at the end of the event while wearing a gladiator hat. He also had a similar shocked reaction.
All plungers were encouraged to wear a costume of their choice. “This year we had some awesome costumes,” said Sinclair. “This included a pirate, an ice cube, Cinderella and the CSI guy, who was wearing lots of green.” It was certainly a colourful event.
There were also winners of the event, based on certain criteria. “So we have best costume, largest fan base, and most donors,” said Marks. “We stepped away from most funds raised this year. We changed it that way to make sure people were talking to people about the organization and getting the word about the charity out there. So kind of trying to touch as many people as possible, versus people just trying to bring in a lot of money.”
The judges this year included Anmolpreet Singh, a CSI board member, Porter Oleson from Conestoga Students Inc., Mikaila Emrich, Miss Oktoberfest, and Ann Bilodeau, executive director, KW Habilitation.
“Some of the prizes include two green fees for Grand Valley Golf Course, a $25 Boston Pizza gift card and a VIP meet & greet at Centre in the Square,” said Sinclair. Other prizes included two Chicopee experience passes and two cooking class passes at the Kitchener Market, and a $25 Uptown Waterloo gift card.