When I first got the email about this in the fall of 2009, I dismissed it pretty quickly, thinking, "There's no way I would ever do that." Then a few weeks later, I was on the beach in Barbados for Thanksgiving and realized that, of course, I could do it. I live a very charmed life and of course I could do something like this to help a cause that is important to me, no matter how cold it might make me (for a few minutes). Now, this will be my 4th plunge! Some weather stats: Year 1 – air was 36 degrees and water was 32 degrees; Year 2 – air was 44; and Year 3 was the coldest – my hair froze when I got out!! The air temp was 25-30 degrees but weather.com said it felt like 19 and the water temp was 35 degrees.
I've been associated with Camp Sunshine through the New England Kiwanis Family since 2000. In my friend Katie’s memory, I have volunteered there for the past five summers for a one week-long session each year. Although I always knew that Camp Sunshine was awesome, it wasn't until my first volunteer experience in 2009 that I truly understood the benefit of Camp Sunshine and how amazing a place, a program, a concept it really is. Camp Sunshine, on Sebago Lake in Casco, Maine, is a retreat for critically-ill children and their families. Families come from all over the country to be enjoy “Camp.” Families attend week-long or weekend sessions and escape their day-to-day challenges for a few days. They pay nothing to be there - this is why donations are so important. Sessions take place all year long, not just in the summer. Families can simply be together in a beautiful setting; it is an escape and a release from the stress of their worlds. It truly is, as Oprah says, JOY RISING. Kids (siblings and those who were or are sick) have all kinds of fun activities and games awaiting them and parents have some of the same, as well as discussion groups and reflective sessions. It is a magical place, and each volunteer week I’ve spent there has been moving and incredible in so many ways. There are just not enough photos or words to do it justice, and I am so proud to be part of it.
If you are so inclined to make a donation to this incredibly worthy cause, you can do so with a credit card on this website or by check payable to Camp Sunshine and mail it to me. (Let me know if you need my mailing address.) Camp Sunshine is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. Donations both small and large make a difference. For more information about Camp Sunshine, you can check out their website (www.campsunshine.org) or look at the photos from my first volunteer week in 2009 at http://tinyurl.com/campsunshine09 - they tell the story well of my experience, my connection with Camp Sunshine and the children and families I met.
Thank you for your consideration and your support.
P.S. Here are photos from the 2011 and 2013 plunges - they had to cut the ice on the lake before we could jump in 2011! http://tinyurl.com/polardip2011 http://tinyurl.com/polardip2013