What if you’re asked to jump in a lake?

Chris and Sandra Chilson and niece Nicole Klomp stand with Snowflake.

Chris and Sandra Chilson and niece Nicole Klomp stand with Snowflake.

By Marcie Klomp

Folks might not jump off a cliff for their boss, but some employees from DAC in LeRoy and Adams jumped in a frozen lake with Sandy Chilson. Although it was for a good cause! The group was raising money for Special Olympics

This is the second year the group from Cedar Branch DAC (Developmental Achievement Center) has taken the Polar Bear Plunge at Rochester. Last year five brave employees, friends and spouses (Stephanie Besendorf, Matt Oelkers, Jyl Schlafge and Sandra and Chris Chilson) took the plunge and somehow talked five others (Clarissa Gaskill, Jordan Hanson, Deanna Hilton, Nicole Klomp, and John Hatten) into doing it in 2013.

In 2012, Team Shock & Thaw raised nearly $600. After seeing all the interesting themes other teams had last year, the old wheels were turning, and they came up with Incognito Banditos as a new team. They wore sombreros and mustaches to complete their costumes for the Feb. 9 jump. The team raised over $800.

Some entertaining teams included the characters from Wizard of Oz and Marvel Comics, not to mention the girls in tutus, the Vikings team, geeks, tuxedo-clad men, prom dress girls and those dressed as toilets, with plungers as hats! Everyone seems to get into the spirit.

The day of the plunge was warmer than it had been—in the low 30s, but the wind made it seem much colder. Luckily there are heated changing rooms and waiting areas. The best part though is the hot tubs welcoming participants after they plunged into the freezing water.


Sandy’s team grew from last year, just as the number of participants in the Polar Bear Plunge at Foster Arend Park has increased year after year. The first plunge in 2002 had 25 crazies and 2013 had 1,053, who raised $224,000 for Special Olympics.

Gaskill commented, “I’m thrilled to be doing this for a good cause.” Chris added, “We plan to do this every year. It’s fun.”

Hilton has been to the park and swam in the lake during summer. There’s a bit of a temperature change in February! “I had fun. It was a blast. It is definitely an experience I won’t forget.”

Although Hanson wasn’t part of the team last year, he has plunged before. “I jumped in glacier water in Alaska. I was working, and I did it for fun!”

The consensus of the locals who jumped is they will do it again. Sandy’s niece, Nicole Klomp added, “I don’t know. I might. It wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

Another team with local ties participated in the Polar Plunge. Stewie Early Birds consisted of Becky Kidd, Mickie Tuseth and Teri Simmons, along with Ostranderite Julie Yost-Minnich.

She commented, “This was our first year as a ‘Plunger,’ and, we had the best time. The four of us run together early in Stewartville (That is how we came up with our team name.), and three of us are teachers.” Yost-Minnich teaches at PEM, and the other two teach in Stewartville.

“We have all had students in our classes who have participated in Special Olympics, and we felt it would be a great way to help such a wonderful program.

“One of the things that I really thought was nice was that on each of the shuttles to the Plunge Site, they had a Special Olympics participant who shared about their participation or involvement in the program. It was a great experience for a wonderful cause.”

There is a whole year to prepare for the next Polar Bear Plunge. Think about it and enter a team of your own!


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