There are three little words that are eliciting a variety of responses around the NRCM office these days… “Polar”… “Bear”… “Plunge.” That’s right, as we began planning ways to celebrate our 50th anniversary next year, we thought, what better way to dive into the festivities than a brisk romp in the Atlantic Ocean? We have some staff who could easily answer that question – they can think of LOTS of “better ways” to celebrate than jumping into ice cold water in front of their friends and colleagues.
But, there is a group of hard-core NRCM staffers who are ready to “Be Bold in the Cold” and who have now turned a crazy idea into a friendly (at times, maybe not-so-friendly) competition. They are taunting each whenever they receive a new pledge, and once someone surpasses their pledge amount, they begin sending out requests via Facebook, email, and other means in order to once again take the fundraising lead.
We even have some NRCM members and supporters who are willing to take the plunge with us. To learn more about the plunge, you can visit www.nrcm.org. If you’re as brave (or nutty?) as NRCM staff, then you can join in the fun!
I participated in a pseudo Polar Bear Plunge last year for a different group of which I am a member. Our polar plunge involved jumping into a kiddie pool filled with ice water on New Year’s Eve – so I believe I have already received some valuable training and have some advice I would like to offer this group of “plungers”:
- Taking cold showers or sitting in a cold tub of water to “train” for this event won’t help – and might even scare you off. It’s like climbing down the ladder into a cold pool – it just makes it worse. You need to jump in – and remember to keep your mouth closed even though you want to scream – the only thing worse than jumping into freezing cold ocean water is swallowing a bunch of ice cold salt water at the same time!
- Don’t think wearing lots of clothes into the water will keep you warm – they will actually weigh you down and make you take longer to get dry and warm – if you ever feel “warm” again.
- Have a trusted friend or family member hold your bathrobe and blanket – you don’t want to give it to someone who is untrustworthy, as they may wander off and not pay attention (maybe even on purpose, for more “fun”!) so that they are there the second you emerge from your ocean romp. Or, worse yet, they may drop your blanket or robe (maybe even on purpose, for more “fun”!) so that it is wet when you get back to wrap up. Finding a TALL family member or friend who won’t drag your warm items on the ground would be an even better suggestion.
- Don’t think about what you are going to do – just do it! If you overanalyze the fact that you have volunteered to stand on a beach until someone blows a whistle signaling that it is time to race into ice cold water in the middle of winter – then you may back out. All of the money raised by NRCM’s Polar Bear Plunge will be used to support our work on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and reducing global warming pollution. Your participation will be for a great cause – and someday will make for a good story to tell kids and grandkids.
We hope to see you – please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like to sign up to receive the packet of information about participating. In order to participate, we ask that you raise a minimum of $50 (people can send their pledges online or give them directly to you) and that you sign a waiver form stating that you know what you have signed up for.
Have a wonderful holiday and consider joining us as we dive into the celebration for NRCM’s 50 years of protecting the nature of Maine.