Polar Plunge 2022 offers participants chance to make a difference

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For Indiana residents, 2022 kicks off with an opportunity to make a difference to the Special Olympics. Polar Plunge 2022 will be held Feb. 12, 2022 at Metea County Park, 8401 Union Chapel Rd., Fort Wayne. The event will begin at 9 a.m. All funds raised will stay in Indiana to support the goals of the Special Olympics organization in the state.

Polar Plunge: how it works

First, participants need to commit to the project. Meaning, they will decide to immerse themselves into a freezing body of water that might be a pool (if participating virtually) or the nearest natural body of water if participating in-person. There are 17 sites around Indiana. Interested parties who reside outside of Fort Wayne should check the website for more sites.

Next, the determined plungers should raise money. Each participant is required to raise $85 at least. The minimum fundraising entitles each person to a long-sleeved t-shirt. Prizes are awarded for fundraising starting at the $300 level. Children as young as 12 can participate, but must have a parent’s or guardian’s permission.

Last, but not least, show up and participate. According to Special Olympics Indiana website, participants should turn in all forms and money raised off-line. Those brave enough to weather frigid temperatures should resist the urge to dress warm, the website warns. Instead, swimwear, plus a pair of old athletic shoes are recommended. Remember to bring towels and other supplies to get warm and dry.

Polar Plunge 2022: where to get involved

Polar Plunges, or Polar Dips, or even Polar Bear Runs (like the kind that used to be held in Fort Wayne each New Year’s Day, in which brave participants would run into a freezing local river and right back out, for a good cause) are popular around the country. This year, for Special Olympics, there are 17 events that kick off with the Boonsville Polar Plunge Feb. 6. College campuses, and cities and towns of various sizes are representative of sites for the activity. For more information about how to get involved, visit: http://soindiana.org

Safety and polar plunges

For the cautious, there is apparently little risk to those who participate in polar activities. The risk, however, does exist if a person has underlying medical conditions prior to jumping into very cold water, according to cnn.com Despite some myths, however, there is also little no health benefit to jumping into cold water, either. But, the potential for fun, and a good cause should be enough reason for people to get involved.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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