It’s mid-winter again, and that means the Student Senate at Washington County Community College is ready to invite the community to participate in one of its most popular events—the WCCC Polar Bear Dip. Now in its seventeenth year, the dip encourages participants to take a lightning run into the ocean while their supporters cheer them on. As in previous years, all of the funds raised for the event will be donated to Ronald McDonald House and Sarah’s House both in the Bangor area.
“It’s an important cause, and it’s something that really brings Calais and the surrounding communities together,” Tammy Cox, secretary for the Student Senate, said. Over the years, more than $200,000 has been raised to support the nonprofit Ronald McDonald House and Sarah’s House, both of which provide housing to sick children and their family members. “Thankfully, I’ve never needed their services, but I like to think that they’d be there if my children were ever seriously ill, especially since we are so far away from the hospital.”
This year’s theme is Glitter and Gold, a Dip in the Cold—meaning participants will be seen in flashy and glamorous outfits that are also appropriate for running into chilly water with. Cox, who is herself planning to dip, said that her costume will likely involve gold glitter leggings and a shower curtain to be used as a cape.
“I hate the cold,” Cox stated frankly, “but the experience alone is phenomenal.” Cox has dipped once before, over a decade ago in New Hampshire, and she vividly recalls the details. “Last time, I went in up to my knees, dived under, and came back up,” Cox said. “I couldn’t feel my legs on the way back out—the only reason I knew I was moving was because the shore was getting closer!” She added that she was much warmer as soon as she left the water, and said the bonding that she shared with those around her made it all worthwhile. “I still remember names, faces, and the laughs we had afterwards.”
As painful as it sounds, it’s a lot of fun, actually,” Cox continued. “It’s great to be able to laugh at yourself in a silly costume, and it’s great to be able to do something for a cause and know you’ve made a difference to a family. It’s a great bonding experience, and, coupled with the fact that you’re actually doing something good for people who need it, you can’t go wrong.”
As in previous years, the National Guard has been contacted to provide a warming tent, and Dunkin Donuts has come forward to offer hot drinks and munchkins. There will be hot chili and other snacks available to participants after the dip. An ambulance from Pleasant Point will be on hand in case of emergencies.
The dip will be held at Split Rock in Pleasant Point, with special thanks given to the Passamaquoddy tribe for the use of their land. It is scheduled for March 3rd at 1 pm, an hour later than usual to accommodate the tides. To become a participant, stop by WCCC to pick up a pledge sheet. All checks should be made payable to WCCC Polar Bear Dip.