Polar Bear Dip for charity
Despite the below-freezing temperatures, students at the College and members of the community donned their shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits this past Saturday as part of the 18th annual Polar Bear Dip. Participants raised money to jump into the boat landing at the Pressey House in Oakland as part of the charity event, which was run through the Alfond Youth Center and Colby Volunteer Center (CVC).
Participants were required to donate at least $10 to partake in the Dip, which raises money to send kids to camp who could not afford to go otherwise. “I think it’s a great opportunity for Colby to be seen out and getting involved amongst all the other Waterville people who [participated in the Dip] as well,” Assistant Director of the CVC Dana Roberts ’12 said.
Last year, students jumped into the outdoor pool at the Alfond Youth Center. This year, the coordinators decided to put a new spin on the event by having it take place at an actual lake and incorporating a beach party theme, Roberts said.
“As a center [the CVC is] focused on giving students the opportunity to use their time as a volunteer service, but we really wanted to reiterate that raising money is a great way to help out too,” she said.
The CVC had high hopes to raise a lot of money this year, Roberts said. “It takes $1,000 to send a kid to camp. We’re anticipating raising at least $2,000 and being able to send two kids to camp. But I’m really hoping we can do even more than that,” she said before the event. “I think it’s very feasible.” The CVC ended up beating their goal, raising $2,645, Roberts said.
About 50 student participants completed the Dip, including members of the football team, the baseball team, the women’s volleyball team, the men’s soccer team, hall staff, the Echo, Colby Cares About Kids, the Farnham Writer’s Center, Hillel and the CVC. Roberts said the significant student involvement was largely a result of the pervasive advertisements around the campus. The Student Programming Board and Colby Cares About Kids (CCAK) displayed “a lot of advertisements for [the event] on all of the winter carnival posters,” Roberts said. “I feel like this year people really [knew] a lot about the dip thanks to them!”
Students’ anticipation about the jump grew as they watched their peers run into the water. “Judging by everyone else’s reaction who went before me, I thought it was going to be really cold. And then when I actually got in, it was worse than I expected,” said Nate Tolman ’14, a member of the men’s soccer team.
Following the jump, “volunteers piled into [a] warming trailer that was filled with space heaters,” Roberts said. “At one point when all the Colby kids were inside, a Colby College chant broke out, which was really fun!”
Participants also had the chance to enter a raffle—the big prize was a trip to the Bahamas for two.