Special Olympics Penguin Plunge – Narragansett RI – Wow
At noon yesterday, we had a “what the heck” moment. We learned the Special Olympics Penguin Plunge was happening nearby. So we thought we’d see what it’s all about. And, we sure did. All of us have probably seen the news stories on New Year’s Polar Bear Plunges around the world every year. You see a handful of people jump in the water and quickly out. Then say “OMG who would do this?” Well we learned the answer today. They do it for charity.
RI Special Olympic Penguins plunged in groups and as individuals. All participants needed to raise at least $500 to take the cold dip.
This year they raised a minimum of $125K, from our estimate, for RI Special Olympics. One group raised $20K. Wow!
The History and Event Details
For the last 42 years, RIers have raisied $3.2 million to support 3,900 RI Olympians annually through this event. RI Special Olympics is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year; and this is one of its largest fundraisings.
About 2000 people plunged this year. Take a look at the kickoff of the
Special Olympics Penguin Plunge. There were others who jumped in from other spots on the beach too.
Ready Set Go
Isn’t that amazing. And some people stayed in the water for more than a plunge. That still had us saying, “OMG who would do this?”
The organizers give you a safety sheet when you pull in to make sure everyone is plunging responsibly.
It was 56 degrees on Roger Wheeler Beach on Tuesday. Last year it was 1 degree.
Penguin Plunges are like a box of chocolate … you never know what you’re gonna get.
More Than Plunging
But there was more than plunging. There was fun music (personally I danced some…Chip swayed). Tents with opportunities to participate. We bought hats and tee shits.
There was a costume contest. Buses for different groups participating. Biker groups participating. Tailgaters. I will not say what some of them were drinking. Perhaps hair of the dog? It is the day after New Year’s eve.
The one thing missing was any visible corporate sponsor. No Dunkin Donuts tents with hot chocolate, nuttin’. The Free Masons had some signs around though.
Meet a Plunging Hero
But there were so many bright spots, that it didn’t matter. Meet the man below, Wayne Meunier of Warwick RI.
He has plunged for Special Olympics for 36 years of the 42 years of the RI Penguin Plunge . Each year they have a pin. You can see them all on his hat.
He casually walked in alone (as many people did). Plunged, dried briefly and got in his car and went home. We caught him in the parking lot and congratulated him. He was nice enough to tell us about himself.
All I can say is we were humbled and impressed. Chip wants us to try dipping in the Atlantic for the RI Special Olympics Penguin Plunge next year. It is for a good cause, so who knows.
Here Are A Couple More Pictures –
RI Special Olympics Penguin Plunge
The Polar Bear Plunges and Penguin Plunges both benefit the Special Olympics. I think Polar Bear Plunges are for National Special Olympics and Penguins are for state programs. Hundreds of events take place on lakes, rivers and oceans around the world.
Happy New Year!
And take the plunge in 2019. Whether in resolution or passing it forward. Hugs.
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