The Swampscott Yacht Club Hosts the 11th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Fisherman’s Beach in Swampscott on New Year’s Day, 2017.

The 2017 plunge benefits the Swampscott School District’s newly created SWIFT and HARBOR programs and The Russell J. Hopkins Children’s Fund.

This is the Ice Bucket Challenge Super-sized!

polarplunge-2017On Sunday, January 1, 2017 the Swampscott Yacht Club will host its 11th annual Polar Bear Plunge.  Participants start the New Year in an invigorating and charitable way by plunging into the chilly ocean waters off Fisherman’s Beach at 11:00 am. This year hundreds of hardy, enthusiastic and brave souls will dash into the water to benefit two local charities.

One beneficiary will be the SWIFT and HARBOR programs. The psychological safety of all students is a priority for the Swampscott school district, there are so many children who struggle both temporarily and long-term with anxiety, depression, concussions, or with serious emotional or medical issues. These are new programs which have created a space at the high school to support the increasing population of students who are struggling with mental health challenges. These programs are run in partnership with families and local support agencies and are open to all students who may need temporary support. SWIFT has given students a safe and supportive place through which transitioning back to school after a prolonged absence can occur; there are staff on hand to help handle anxiety, overwhelming workloads, lingering medical issues, and connecting families with outside resources in order to have successful full days of school. Monies raised at the Polar Bear Plunge would go to supporting the programs already in place at Swampscott High School and creating these programs at the middle school level where the need is just as great.

The second beneficiary will be the Russell J. Hopkins Children’s Fund. Rusty Hopkins, a lifelong residents of Swampscott passed away unexpectedly this past October 25. Rusty was a Navy Veteran of the Gulf War. Rusty loved sports. He was part of both the Swampscott Little League baseball team in 1983 that won the Massachusetts State Championship and the 1986 Swampscott Senior Little League State Championship team. Rusty was involved in Swampscott Little League as a coach and also served on the Swampscott Little League Board of Directors. He was a former member of the Swampscott Knights of Columbus. Monies raised at the Polar Bear Plunge will help pay for the college educations of Rusty’s young children.

The Polar Bear Plunge has raised over $90,000 for local charities since it began.  Past beneficiaries have included: The Swampscott Library, The Haven Project, The Friends of Swampscott Sailing, My Brother’s Table, The Jared Raymond and Jennifer Harris Scholarship Funds, The Legere Family Education Fund, Journeys of Hope, The Maureen Ingram Scholarship Fund, the Swampscott Education Foundation, and the Whelan Education Fund.

Join us for a brisk, energizing and fun start to 2017.  Pre-registration runs through December 28. On New Year’s Day registration begins at 10:15 a.m. at the Fish House, 425 Humphrey Street, Swampscott with the plunge following promptly at 11.  Complimentary hot beverages will be available and T-shirts will be given to all pre-registered participants. T-shirts will also be available, while supplies last, to those who register on the day of the event. The encouraged minimum donation is $30, but we urge all to get sponsors to maximize individual donations to these great charities. Register and/or download registration and sponsor sheets at http://swampscottyachtclub.org. Registration materials will also be available in the office at each Swampscott school.

Anyone who doesn’t want to get cold and wet can make a donation by mailing a check payable to the SYC Fund to the SYC at PO Box 12, Swampscott, MA 01907.  Please put “Polar Plunge” in memo line. All contributions are tax deductible.

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