The Polar Plunge serves as a means to raise additional funds for the Whitefish Township Emergency Services which includes the Whitefish Township Fire Department and the Emergency Medical Technicians. This year the chamber offered participants two strategies to raise funds: a challenge and or sponsorships. While Internet social networking sites are popular and a lot of dialog included conversations about the plunge, official challenges had to be posted at Paradise Foods, downtown Paradise. One resident could challenge another resident to JUMP for a specific amount of money.
The challenged has several options: a) reject the challenge, b) negotiate a higher amount, c) find someone else to jump on their behalf and maybe sweeten the pot, or d) JUMP. In options c and d, the challenger has to pay up. If someone wishes to jump, they may approach a business or organization and offer to wear a shirt with their logo for a negotiated amount of money. A Jumper may collect as many sponsorships or challenges as possible. All of the money goes to a great cause. Community conversations related to the Polar Plunge preceded the event by nearly eight weeks as challenges, sponsorships, and nerves were collected.
A number of people contributed to this entire project: Snow had to be cleared (Many thanks to Bolz Construction.) The ice (8 inches thick this year) had to be cut, Charlie Jacques and his crew did a great job! Joann Cook, PACC Vice President, oversaw the entire event including the validation of several challenges. Sue Anway aided in getting the eager plungers to sign waivers and collect funds. Many were very grateful to Roger Clark and his ice shanty, the shelter, heat, and refuge that it provided was invaluable. Two kind, local photographers contributed their skills capturing some mighty cold moves. Each of them caught by the other in these next two candid shots.
$360 was raised by this tiny band of brave souls. Afterwards, ideas were shared among the coordinators as to how this event might be improved for 2017, the last Saturday in the month. Ice cutters, emergency crews, and snow removal crews have been locked in. Last year, the Yooper Sauna Company added to the festivities, may be they would return if we reached out earlier in the year. The action could start a little later in the afternoon. The Chili Cook-Off participants wanted to get in on the fun, so next year we'll start at 2:00PM maybe the air will be a bit warmer. The T-shirt idea was great! Nice work Tanya! If we offered shirts to the brave souls that take the plunge in 2017, the plungers could wear the shirt as a badge of honor, so deserved! For your enjoyment and our reminder of a great time, here are a few additional shots you might enjoy! (Note that very clear, reflective water! Only in the Purest of Pure Michigan, the Upper Peninsula.)