The best polar bear swims in Massachusetts happen when winter takes the thermometer and heads south. Most people are ready to curl up on the couch with a heavy blanket and hot chocolate. However, there are a few hardy souls that see the dip in temperature as a reason to dip themselves in some freezing water for a good cause. The tradition is purported to have begun in 1916 by Gustave Marx and his friends with a leap into the icy waters of Lake Michigan. The newspaper called them Polar Bears, giving birth to the well-known name of many charity fundraisers based on the same idea. If you live in Massachusetts, here are a few popular polar bear swims that you can join, if you dare.
Plymouth Beach is home to Jordan’s Polar Plunge. Since 2003 they have raised more than $700,000 in innovative technology at the Jordan Hospital Club Cancer Center. This year the funds will be going to a new “smart” computerized pump for the center. This year the event will be held on March 3rd.
If you would like to have a choice between which beaches you go running into, look at the Polar Plunge occurring at either Nantasket Beach or Revere Beach. It occurs on Saturday, March 3rd, to benefit the Special Olympics. You can have your choice of being a plunger, or a chicken. While each group will defend their choice, both get to raise money for an important cause. The group advocates that each participant tries to raise at least $250, although many go far beyond that amount.
Improving a child’s education is a very important matter. Would you take a freezing swim to do it? On New Year’s Day the Swampscott Yacht Club does just that at their annual SYC Polar Bear Plunge. It’s located at Fisherman’s Beach and is dedicated to funding creative ideas that will enrich the curriculum beyond the ability of normal public funding.
Lake Chauncy takes a lot of safety measures when planning out their polar plunge. An EMS dive team establishes a safety perimeter and plungers set their own goals of how deep they want to go. Some people will only put their ankles in, while others would be content to splash around all day. For those who would like to help out, but find the idea of sub-zero temperatures unbearable, they can be virtual plungers. The fundraiser is put on by the FirstGiving organization. The proceeds go to providing assistance and emergency funds to Westborough residents in need.
Polar Bear Swims are a great, fun way to bring a community together. Massachusetts has a wide variety of beaches and organizations that use the activity to their advantage. Take the time to check out an organization that you care about, or even see if your favorite beach will be putting on a Polar Plunge. The water may be cold, but most get a lot of warmth from knowing it was a part of a great cause.