Single and group 'plungers' needed for next weekend's event that raises money, awareness, for nonprofit watershed org

 

A once small event to promote watershed stewardship has become one of the region’s most anticipated winter fixtures, as some braves folks prepare to “take the plunge.”

With more sponsors than ever before, the 2017 Brandywine Rec Clay Alliance’s Polar Plunge is looking to be bigger and better than ever, according to BRCA executive director Jim Jordan.

“We have the most sponsors we’ve ever had for an event,” Jordan, a Hockessin resident, said. “Including a lot of Delaware companies.”

Created in the spirit of Jordan’s own yearly NYE ritual, where he would take a dip in the chilly ocean to kick off the New Year, the Polar Plunge has become one of the nonprofit’s largest annual fund raisers.   

“To date the Plunge has raised $123,100,” Jordan said. “And this is our ninth annual Polar Plunge; it’s really grown in its popularity.”

The Plunge comes a little earlier this year, Jordan said, but the tradition is to always have it the Saturday after Super Bowl Sunday, and after all, a tradition is a tradition.

It’s a simple event, really: show up on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Brandywine Picnic Park in Pocopson Township, Pa., register yourself or your group name (team participation is heavily encouraged), and at the sound of the whistle, bolt headfirst into the cooling waters of the Brandywine.

You don’t have to wear a Speedo if you don’t want to – in fact, you can dress however you want. Costumes are encouraged, and everyone from Batman to Waldo (of “Where’s Waldo?” fame) has showed up to test their mettle over the years.

The prizes for top single and group fund raisers, and costumes, don’t hurt, Jordan said.

“We really love it when people embrace this event,” he said. “

Safety is provided by Water Rescue Team, and emergency personnel are also on standby, Jordan said.

Jordan added that improving the quality of the Brandywine, which provides the City of Wilmington with its drinking water, is an ongoing effort.

“That’s how important this is to the residents of Delaware. Water quality is a lot of work, especially the work that’s being done, but it takes a long time to reap the benefit in measurable results,” he said. “I’m competent in saying it’s safe to take a swim in, though.”

Jordan said that while it’s essential to raise funds for the agency’s ongoing stream restoration projects like Red Streams Blue, enhancing stewardship in the current and next generation is equally important.

“In fact, it’s mostly about awareness,” Jordan said. “There is a lost generation of young people that don’t know and don’t get out into the outdoors. And that’s what we’re really promoting – the importance of stewardship and some level of responsibility.”

Since the event is his baby, Jordan will of course take the Plunge himself – albeit, a few days ahead of time to avoid the public spectacle.

“When I do it the day of, it takes me out of the mix,” he said. “And then all the attention is focused on Jim Jordan, and we want it to focus on the other people. But I will video my plunge.”

The BRCA Polar Plunge is Saturday, Feb. 11. Sign up starts at 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit brandywinewatershed.org.