The Swampscott Yacht Club Hosted the 11th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Fisherman’s Beach in Swampscott on New Year’s Day, 2017.
The 2017 plunge benefited 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!
On Sunday, January 1, 2017 the Swampscott Yacht Club hosted its 11th annual Polar Bear Plunge. Participants started 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 dashed into the water to benefit two local charities.
One beneficiary was 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.
The second beneficiary was 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 were raised at the Polar Bear Plunge to help pay for the college educations of Rusty’s young children.
The Polar Bear Plunge has raised over $100,000 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.