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Plunging Into the New Year

A handful of dedicated, loyal supporters of Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in Wisconsin had a bracing start to their New Year, making a splash to kick off National Mentoring Month by participating in the 18th annual Polar Bear Plunge, held in Chippewa Falls and Phillips, Wis.

Each year, in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Wisconsin, and their affiliate Northwoods Branch, volunteers and supporters come out to a uniquely prepared frozen lake, ready to take the plunge. At each location, a section of the ice was removed and the area prepared, complete with a bonfire or tents with a hot tub and other supplies to help warm up the participants.

In small groups, participants walked, jumped and even belly-flopped into the icy waters while a crowd of warmly dressed onlookers gathered around to witness the event. Some people came in swimsuits, and some in funny costumes and wigs. All 15 had fun. Several in attendance were repeat participants, and plan to start off 2015 in the same way!

“Here in Wisconsin, for the last 18 years, brave souls have been ringing in the New Year with a plunge into a frozen lake,” said Christina Thrun, Development & Marketing Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin. “2014 came in cold with highs in the single digits. Participants collect pledges to support mentoring in their communities. The stories are all unique and some of the costumes are crazy, but it’s always a fun way to kick-off the New Year.”

This year’s event raised a total of approximately $2,300 for the local agency, with nearly every participant raising at least $100 that will go toward supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin.

Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts annual Polar Bear Plunge by Caleb Brown (The Chippewa Herald)

People take a dip into icy waters for the Polar Bear Plunge by Jesse Yang (WQOW ABC18)

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