Freezin for a Reason
Raising money for Special Olympics Kentucky
by Austin Johnson
What makes it a great day to go swimming? Many would say, “It needs to be sunny and warm, without a cloud in the sky.” but they would be wrong. A cold day in February, preferably with snow would be the correct answer. Why you may ask, it’s simple. Polar Plunge. The most memorable swims of my life weren’t at a beach or in an Olympic size pool but in a crazy costume, in a parking lot, in February.
Every year Lexington comes together to jump into ice water to raises money for Special Olympics Kentucky. This year was no different. According to the sign posted on the front of the pool the water was a bone chilling 34 degrees Fahrenheit. That didn’t stop teams from local business, law enforcement, and schools as well as teams comprised of friends, families and athletes jump into the arctic water in support of Special Olympics and it’s easy to see why.
Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of sports for individuals with intellectual disabilities. It gives people opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and socialize with peers. “It helps athletes build confidence and be a full member of their community,” said Taylor Ballinger, Special Events Director at Special Olympics Kentucky. Ballinger recommends that people planning on jumping in a polar plunge should bring “Warm Thoughts, a towel, change of clothes, but mostly a good attitude. You must be ready to embrace the cold.” If jumping in to ice water scares you Polar Plunge also has a “Too Chicken to Jump” category where you can still raise money but stay dry. Ballinger said, “We appreciate the support of the community this year’s event raised roughly $67,000 and that money stays in Kentucky to help individuals with intellectual disabilities.”
If you are interested in getting involved with Special Olympics head to their website. “There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer. We always need people at our various sporting events,” said Ballinger, “People can also help raise money through events like Polar Plunge or our Truck and Plane pulls in the summer.”
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