Have You Plunged Today?

Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 03:48

How can you have a crazy good time and help a deserving group of people at the same time? By participating in the 4th Annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics, that’s how. The Polar Plunge is a unique opportunity for individuals, organizations, and businesses to support Special Olympics Alaska athletes by gathering pledges and plunging into the icy waters of Goose Lake in Anchorage.

My daughter, Jenny and I have participated in the Polar Plunge for the past three years and have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We started doing the plunge to benefit my younger daughter, who has Cerebral Palsy. She has been participating in Special Olympics for the past 12 years, whether it be in track and field or in bowling. The Plunge was a way for us to give back to the organization who has given my daughter so much. And it is kind of cool to tell family members down south that you jumped into a lake in Alaska in the middle of winter. They definitely think you are crazy, but when they hear about why you do it, they cheer you on. There is a feeling of family among all the participants who are jump, the Special Olympic athletes who hand out towels to you after you jump, and the volunteers who help put this on. And boy, without those volunteers this event would never get off the ground. They are amazing.

Special Olympics, Alaska’s mission is to provide year round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This gives them the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community.

Having a daughter who participates in Special Olympics, I have been lucky to see a person be excited because they were able to knock a pin down while bowling, or able to complete a somersault in gymnastics. And though many children go through those same experiences, it is nice to see it in a group of people who without Special Olympics might not have ever been given the chance to try.

Special Olympics provides training and competition in many activities such as bowling, skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, gymnastics and others. To provide this training Special Olympics needs you. You can help by either volunteering to jump into Goose Lake on Dec. 15, by sponsoring someone who is jumping. You can also volunteer to become a coach or assist in competitions, such as the state bowling tournament in Anchorage on Nov. 16, 17 and 18.

You can find more information by going to the Special Olympics website at www.specialolympicsalaska.org. Here you can sign up to participate in the Polar Plunge or to find out more information on how you can volunteer with the Special Olympics.

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