Any team that plays well together has a better chance of winning together. Team-building exercises, pizza parties and road trips are great ways to form bonds between teammates… but it doesn’t have to stop there!
Many coaches within Special Olympics Northern California (SONC) go above and beyond to support the organization through fundraising events like the Polar Plunge – and often encourage the athletes on their respective teams to get involved, as well. Whether a group has been competing together for 20 years or two months, making a splash and freezin’ for a reason together can create memories that last a lifetime.
“The Polar Plunge is a great way to raise money for Special Olympics while having tons of fun,” said Suzy Andrade, an 18-year coach with SONC. “I encourage all families, athletes and coaches to participate or at least donate.”
The Polar Plunge is SONC’s largest fundraising event of the year and encourages participants to raise money (a minimum of $125) in order to take a chilly dip into the water in support of Special Olympics athletes. The family-friendly event, held at numerous locations throughout Northern California, includes festivities, refreshments and plenty more.
“The Plunge is one giant party at the beach,” said Andrade, who participates in the Santa Cruz Polar Plunge each year as a part of Team KSSS, which includes a number of Special Olympics athletes. “There is music, fun, games and a costume contest and lots of people enjoying themselves. Then there’s the plunge itself. It may be cold when you first get in, but you warm up fast! There’s no pressure to get completely wet - but it’s more fun if you do. After the plunge we get to enjoy a nice lunch on the beach. Even if you don’t want to get wet, you can join the chicken coop – where you receive the same benefits as a plunger but stay warm and dry.”
Andrade became involved with the Plunge initially in San Francisco with her niece, Katy, who is a Special Olympics athlete. Team KSSS has grown each year and is now a staple of the Santa Cruz Polar Plunge, which will be held on March 10, 2018. Other locations, with respective dates, include the San Francisco Dash & Splash, featuring a 3/5K fun run and a Polar Plunge; Sacramento; and South Lake Tahoe, among many others.
For Andrade, it’s a fun and different way to support the Special Olympics ‘family’ that she’s been a part of for nearly 20 years while bringing her team of athletes together off the court.
“It only costs $250 for an athlete to train and compete for an entire year,” said Andrade. “Parents, families, athletes - think of all that the athletes get from Special Olympics! It’s worth way more than that. You can help keep these programs funded by joining our plunge team, starting your own team or making a donation. The athletes are worth it!”
Find a Polar Plunge near you and gather your team to register!