The 5th Annual Staten Island Polar Bear Plunge was held on December 4th 2011 at the Great Kills Beach. While the sun was shining and the temperature sat at a brisk 53 degrees, the water in the Atlantic Ocean still ran shivers down your spine.
This event was a fundraiser to raise money for the Special Olympics of New York that serves more than 30,000 athletes across all 5 New York boroughs. While the crowd varied from the youngest plunger of 11 years old, to high school participants, adults, athletes, college students and community volunteers, more than 700 people took the plunge at noon into the icy ocean. Some participants dipped their toes in while others fully submerged and continued to splash around in the water after the initial plunge was over.
Among the participants were Jill Wright of the Staten Island Yankees who did not wear a wetsuit for fear of cheating and made sure to dive into the ocean like a true sport and supporter of the Special Olympics. While Jill was the only brave heart of the Staten Island Yankees to take the plunge, other volunteers helped take pictures, run registration, and set up and break down the event. Volunteers included: Michael Kitlas, John DeLuca, Heidi Silber, Matt Magnani, Ryan Woodley, Chris Anderson, Kerry Haley and of course, Scooter the Holy Cow.
The event was expected to raise over $100,000 and fun was had by all.