Polar Bear Plunge raises $40,500 for the YMCA!

Erin Rowley is the Program Assistant at the Centre County Community Foundation.

Ordinarily, waking up before 8 on a Saturday in order to run into a 37-degree lake in December wouldn’t be my idea of a good time.

But in order to help the YMCA, I was willing to abandon my sleepy-head, warmth-loving ways. The YMCA of Centre County’s annual polar bear plunge was on Saturday, and about 150 people joined me in plunging into the cold water. The minimum fundraising amount per adult was $50. But many people raised much more than that, helping the YMCA to raise $40,500 for its Open Doors Program, which helps underprivileged families who can’t afford YMCA memberships.

Some people got REALLY into the event, diving into the lake multiple times and wearing costumes that included Wizard of Oz characters, super heroes and an obese “Oops I Did It Again”-era Britney Spears.

Members of SCYP head into the chilly water at the YMCA Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday.

The group I plunged with, State College Young Professionals, kept our costumes simple. We wore business suits, but promptly ripped them off before we went in the water. Twenty-one member of SCYP plunged, and we received the award for most raised by a group, with $5132! Though it was very cold, our actual time spent in the water was very short. After putting my head under, and searching for a shoe that fell off, I dashed back to the shore, where my spotter had a dry towel waiting for me.

Thanks to my spotter and everyone who supported me and all of the other plungers! It was a fun event for a great cause, and if you’re on the fence about it, I would definitely recommend getting involved next year!

-Erin

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