‘Polar Plunge’ fundraiser still going strong

Press Release

Would you jump into Rainy Lake on New Year’s Day 10 times?
The answer for the Fort Frances Voyageur Lions is “Yes, and willingly!”
This Jan. 1 marks the 10th-annual “Polar Plunge,” staged by the club as a community fundraiser for youth groups and activities.
Since the first jump in 2001, the club has shared more than $102,000 with local youth groups. In all, 337 people have braved the icy waters of Sand Bay.
Voyageur Lion Jim Martindale has raised more than $10,000 himself, followed by fellow Lion Dale Gill with more than $6,000.
Both have taken the plunge in all nine jumps so far—and will be there again this time around.
Meanwhile, Lorne Gill managed to raise more than $6,500 in just two brief but very colourful appearances.
Gillian Gustafson, who first jumped for the Fort Frances Aquanauts back in 2001, is the youngest person ever to “plunge”—and she has at least five repeat performances.
The Aquanauts have been the biggest benefactor of the “Polar Plunge” because, for the first three years, the funds raised were split equally with the swimmers.
However, in order to spread the proceeds around a little more and to increase participation, the Voyageur Lions opened its fund-splitting idea to any youth group that wanted to jump in.
Since then, top groups have been the Visserettes, Kiwanis skate park committee, Special Olympics, and the Muskie Sports Association.
Many other smaller groups also have shared the money they’ve raised.
The other part of the “Polar Plunge” that has become a drawing card is the costumes the participants come up with. Who can forget the mermaid, the New Year’s baby, Capt. Canada, bewildered fishermen, and the singing waiters?
Numerous penguins, bikini clad girls, and fanciful cartoon characters also have made their appearance. But no one can be more imaginative than Maureen Hahkala, who has won the costume prize seven times!
What will she come up with this year?
The Voyageur Lions are very grateful to all jumpers who have participated before and who intend to jump this New Year’s Day. Let’s celebrate the 10th anniversary of this event with record number of jumpers and pledges!
Come out to enjoy the spectacle and support your favourite jumper, or grab a pledge form and take the plunge yourself!
See you on Jan. 1.