The 2023 Windsor Polar Plunge community kickoff launched today in the morning of the year's first full-day snow event with a "Slip n' Slide" party on the softball diamond at our St. Clair College Sports Park.
Windsor and Essex County law enforcement agencies are again partnering with St. Clair College to support Special Olympics Ontario through the Annual Polar Plunge. The in-person plunge took a brief hiatus during the pandemic, with the Polar Plunge 2023 taking take place on Friday, February 24, 2023, at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre at 6:30 p.m.
"Of all the annual events that were disrupted by the pandemic, I think I missed the LIVE Polar Plunge the most," said St. Clair College President Patti France. "It truly brought out the fun, crazy, giving spirit of the College's students and staff – and, really, of everyone in our community – and helped to brighten our dreary winters. On top of that, of course, it has helped to fund the activities of our inspirational Special Olympians, and nothing could be more beneficial than that. St. Clair is thrilled to renew this partnership with local law enforcement agencies. We hope this preview event will lead to a record number of participants taking the plunge in February."
St. Clair College students and alumni started the 2023 fundraising campaign by announcing $15,000 towards the local campaign for Special Olympics. Our Student Representative Council (SRC ) and the Students Saints Athletic Association (SSAA) each provided $2,500, and the St. Clair College Alumni Association donated $10,000.
This year's plungers will jump in the water in a pool constructed specifically for this event just outside the front doors of the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre. All plungers are eligible to receive great incentive items. As a bonus for future St. Clair College Saints, the College is presenting a $500 bursary to any current grade 12 student who will attend St Clair College in September 2023.
The College has been the main sponsor of this event since its inaugural plunge in 2015. Over 1,000 participants have taken the icy plunge locally. All funds directly benefit the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, with 75 percent of funds raised by any Special Olympics athlete or volunteer remaining within the host community. This year's fundraising goal is $50,000, and organizers hope to see over 200 participants throughout our community.
Law enforcement officers worldwide advocate for Special Olympics year-round as Guardians of the Flame. In Windsor-Essex, we are especially excited to engage with our partners at St. Clair College and the entire community to share in the joy of inclusion.
"I am so proud of these athletes, and I admire their drive, dedication and courage. I look forward to this event every year and am excited again to take the plunge IN PERSON for this great cause. The Windsor Police Service is excited to team up with our local law enforcement partners and St. Clair College to support the amazing athletes who participate in Special Olympics," said Windsor Police Chief Jason Bellaire. "This ongoing collaboration has raised nearly $300,000 in support of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, and nobody stages this event better than our local volunteers here in Windsor-Essex."
To register for the plunge, visit: www.polarplunge.ca/windsor-essex.
Special Olympics Ontario provides individuals with an intellectual disability in communities across the province the opportunity to participate in sports and recreational activities. Windsor-Essex has 120 athletes that compete in Special Olympics programs.