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Maple Grove Voice

Plungers Prepare for Annual Maple Grove Polar Plunge at Fish Lake Regional Park

Jan 27, 2016 07:36AM ● By Wendy Erlien

2015 Maple Grove Polar Plunge (Photo provided by MGPD)

During the heart of the winter season in Maple Grove, community members are coming together to show support and raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota during the annual Polar Plunge.

The 2016 event takes place Saturday, Feb. 6 at Fish Lake Regional Park, located at 14900 Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove. The plunge begins at 1 p.m. with participant check-in from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  A pre-plunge check-in is available 4-7 p.m. Feb. 4 at The Lookout Bar and Grill.

Last year, more than 820 people took the icy dip into Fish Lake – raising approximately $168,000 for Special Olympics Minnesota. In the last five years, 5,638 plungers raised more than $1.1 million.

Among the participants and volunteers from first Maple Grove Polar Plunge, the Maple Grove Ambassadors plan on braving the cold again in 2016.   

“The highlight of the event is, of course, the actual plunge! It's so exciting to see the event grow every year, people signing to not only do something fun and crazy, but also raise money for a good cause while doing it,” Maple Grove Ambassador Program Director Gillian Key said.

How does the Polar Plunge work? According to organizers:

  1. Register online at Participants may plunge as individuals or in teams and are encouraged to wear unique costumes on Plunge day.
  2. Ask for pledges for your plunge. Each participant must raise a minimum of $75.
  3. Check-in on plunge day and bring your pledges with you. Shoes and towel are required.
  4. Plunge in Fish Lake!

"We wanted to get involved again this year (and are hopeful for years to come), because we like to be as involved as possible in the communities that we serve. We especially enjoy being involved in events that raise money and support for such great organizations,” Accurate Home Care, LLC Marketing Communications Specialist Cody Durkee said.  “We have found that our employees of all positions really appreciate giving back, again—especially when it is for such a good cause. The connection that it brings to our team is also a huge part, especially when doing something like jumping in freezing water together!” 

More than 20 locations across Minnesota have Polar Plunge events, which are organized by Minnesota law enforcement as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR).

In their fourth year, a team from Rush Creek Golf Club approaches the Polar Plunge as a way to share year-round support.

“Many of the staff has been involved with the Minnesota PGA / Special Olympic Pro AM and the Ian Leonard’s Bad Pants Open through the years and thought the Polar Plunge was a great way to continue the support of Minnesota Special Olympics through the whole year,” Rush Creek Golf Club PGA Head Golf Professional Jay Meyerhoff said. “It is for a great cause and every dollar raised helps all the athletes in the state of Minnesota.”

Special Olympics Minnesota offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition. Special Olympics Minnesota provides services and opportunities to more than 7,800 athletes, according to their website.

“It’s a great way to show support for something bigger than yourself,” Durkee said. “It’s also a great team/friendship building experience as jumping into a frozen lake in the middle of a Minnesotan winter is just a little bit crazy! The comradery and strange sense of pride that comes from braving the elements are great reasons to get involved, but even more so, is showing you stand behind an event that is raising money and awareness for the Special Olympics.”

Interested in supporting a Polar Plunger or registering to take the plunge? Search for Maple Grove participants, teams, event details, and registration information here:

“We always encourage others to sign up and participate! It's a great experience to say you've jumped into a frozen lake in the middle of a Minnesota winter, but also the money raised by jumpers goes to Special Olympics Minnesota,” Key said.

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