While most people are singing “It’s The Time of Year When the World Falls in Love” and other holiday songs the members of the Rotary Club of Lake Arrowhead are busy, busy, busy planning for a February 2015 fundraiser that is unique to the mountains.
Each year the members spend countless hours planning for their upcoming PolaRotary Bear Plunge and this year, of course, is no exception. We all know there are many ways that organizations raise money but this event, held annually at the Lake Arrowhead Resort, surely has to be one of the most fun and innovative all at the same time. While many organizations sort of “shut down” during the cold winter months (snow or no snow) local Rotary members and their supporters actually voluntarily leap into the freezing cold waters of beautiful Lake Arrowhead to raise money. Then, once the funds are raised by generous donors they’re not off to the warm weather of Hawaii but they use the revenue to help pay for scholarships for graduating local school seniors and many, many other local (and national and international) philanthropic ventures. Last year alone the 53 “plungers” raised over $20,000 for this philanthropic organization.
Event founder and chairman Dr. Patrick Rains hopes to smash all records this year and he encourages all involved with nonprofit organizations to consider the PolaRotary Bear Plunge as a fundraising opportunity.
Those who “jump in the lake” can choose to split the money they collect from their individual sponsors between the Rotary Foundation and another charity of their choice. In past years many “on the mountain” charities have been the benefactors of funds from this incredible event. Some of those recipients have included Soroptimist International of the Rim of the World Community, the Rim Education Foundation, Arrowhead Arts Association, Cal State University San Bernardino scholarship Fund, UCLA Mountain Bruins Scholarship Fund, Hearts and Lives, Prevenvion Y Recate and the San Bernardino County Firefighters Association, among many others. Next year’s event will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 7, 2015. Even if you don’t participate you might want to attend anyway just because it is so much fun to watch. Last year members of the award-winning Rim High Band helped keep everyone’s spirits up (not that they need it) but they certainly added to the fun. The band will be there for the 2015 fun as well so come on out and enjoy the site and the sight (even if you’re not jumping!)
Fifty-three brave souls took the plunge last February and that benefitted 20 different charities. Pasadena College professor, Dr. Barbara Miller, who is a young 82-years-old, raised $710 for the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and she’s planning on jumping again this year. Other jumpers have included State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, former County Supervisor Neil Derry, several mountain citizens of the year, clergymen, school board members and a wide range of business and community leaders. Dr. Hugh Bialecki and Dr. Patrick Rains share the distinction of participating every year since the annual event began.
There are only three rules with which jumpers must comply. The rules are that no one can wear a wetsuit, no nudity is allowed and complete water submersion is required.
The event will be filmed by the Rim High Film Club and all jumpers will receive copies and copies are available for purchase.
A colorful tradition among PolaRotary plungers is to wear a costume and this is such a fun part of this exciting event.Not everyone wears a costume but it enhances the great atmosphere and it’s always, always, great to see who wears what. It is truly hilarious, at times.
Prizes are donated by the Coffee and Tea Exchange, the local branch of Union Bank and they will be awarded to the jumpers who wear the best costumes. “Divine Divas, mafiaosos, kings and queens, “Darth Vader” and “Marilyn Monroe” have been spotted in past years braving the cold water. It really is hilarious and so much fun so consider “being a jumper” to help Rotary raise money for all they do in the mountain communities. This event truly is wonderful!
If you want to participate there are only three requirements to be part of this great event: no wet suits are allowed, no nudity is definitely not allowed and complete submersion into the lake is required (but there’s no time limit, so it’s always in and out!) Thanks to the talented students who are part of the Rim High School Film Club all participants will receive a DVD of the event and additional copies will be available for purchase.
The Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa is not only providing the venue again this year but they will graciously allow jumpers to use their hot tubs, changing rooms and showers immediately after each person’s “refreshing dip into the lake.”
For more information about becoming a jump, a sponsor or donor, log onto: polartarybearplunge.com and click on the words “Jump In” or look for @RotaryPlunge on Twitter. You can also contact Dr. Rains at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Just think the next time someone tells you to go jump in the lake you might just do that if it’s February 7.