Plunging Into a New Year…for youthLEADarts and Friends

I am a polar bear. Dressed as a reindeer. At least I was this year. Other years I have embraced the new year ‘cold turkey’ wearing a turkey hat and a roasting pan (authors love visual jokes and plays on words) and still others as “Pinky” with flashy flamingo glasses, a pink bee hive wig on my head and a giant pink flamingo pool floaty wrapped around my waist. I hope to still be a well dressed polar bear when I am in my nineties. 

By polar bear, I mean I am one of those colourful people who do the polar plunge and jump into cold or freezing bodies of water on New Year’s Day. It is a terrifying, invigorating and marvellously quirky way to start a new year. Most years I ‘swim’ with thousands of others at English Bay in Vancouver, but this year it was different.

This year, I joined a group of polar bears at Balm Beach, near Midland, Ontario whose polar plunge is sponsored by the local Lions Club. 

This year, the group was smaller than what I was used to but definitely as mighty. 

This year I dipped solo, far from the comfort and encouragement of my BC bears. 

This year we waded through actual ‘icebergs’ to dunk up to our necks. Watch for the video footage! I was far too chilly to take my own photos!

This year, I dunked for a cause: to raise funds and awareness for youthLEADarts programs across Canada as well as for the Lions’ Club charity of choice, Guide Dogs for the Blind. Our goal is $2000.

As you plunge back into work, into school, into life in 2023 this week, consider supporting the Polar Plunge for youthLEADarts. If you are interested in donating please send  an e-mail to Pledges will be accepted up to January 15th, 2023. 

Windrush Foundation @windrushestatewinery is generously matching all pledges dollar for dollar!

It takes a minute to countdown into a new year, 30 seconds to do the polar bear plunge and 10 seconds to make a donation that will impact a vulnerable youth for a lifetime. Your kindness goes a long way. Wishing you an ‘ice’ new year.

Polar Bear Swimmer and youthLEADarts President,

Lori Sherritt-Fleming