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Polar Bear Plunge

1st Annual Ft. Phoenix Polar Plunge


Noah Griffith
by Noah Griffith

For those of you who have participated in the previous Polar Plunges at Ft. Phoenix, I know what you’re thinking:  How is this year’s plunge the First Annual Polar Plunge?  Haven’t I been doing this for the past ten years? I have answers to your questions, but first I need to fill everyone else in on what the Polar Plunge is all about.

I know you think I have to be crazy to jump in to freezing cold, close-to-freezing water in the middle of the winter, but take it from someone who has jumped into the freezing cold waters of the Atlantic the last five New Year’s in row: This is the BEST way to start off the New Year (and get rid of your hangover from the New Year’s Eve celebration from the night before).  If you don’t believe me, ask the 20 or so people I’ve convinced to jump in with me over the years.

After getting out of the water, we all head to to a local bar to have a few brews or a cocktail or two.  Why? Because after jumping into freezing cold water, you need a drink.  It’s a vicious cycle.  And yes, I do have to mention something about drinking in all of my articles…it’s my thing.

This particular plunge was started ten years ago for Nancy L. Schonheinz, a local physical therapist who was a victim of domestic violence and taken from us in November 2000.  In honor of her, the Ft. Phoenix Polar Plunge was set up to raise money for domestic violence victims, and also to create a Fairhaven High School College Scholarship Fund. The event is, and always has been, free to attend and participate in.

Polar PlungeEvery year there is a theme, and people dress up according to the theme, although you are not obligated to do so.  I myself have never dressed up because I’ve watched enough Man vs. Wild to know for a fact that it is better to run into freezing cold water wearing as little as possible so that you can dry off faster when you get out.  T-shirts are sold commemorating each year’s event and theme, with the money from t-shirt sales being the primary source of donations to the domestic violence and scholarship funds.

The event is always a blast, and there is usually a huge turn-out, but it takes money and a lot of time to set up and organize.  While the event itself is continually growing, the amount of people buying the T-shirts has not kept pace.  As I stated before, T-shirt sales are the primary means used to raise money and make it possible to put this event on.

After ten years, the Nancy L. Schonheinz Scholarship Committee has decided to drop the event because it just wasn’t financially feasible for them anymore.  Thankfully, someone else was there to grab the rebound: the Ft. Phoenix Polar Plunge Committee.  That is the reason why this year’s event is the 1st Annual Polar Plunge.  The event is continuing on just like the previous years, only with a new name and a new organization benefiting from it.  Proceeds will still be donated to honor the memory of victims of domestic violence, but this year some will also be given to the Dollars for Scholars Program.

Below is the information regarding this year’s plunge.  You don’t have to jump in the water, but if you come to this event, please buy a t-shirt or make a donation.  Anything from $5 to $5,000,000 is acceptable.  You don’t have to make a big donation to make a big impact.

NBG TshirtsAlso, New Bedford Guide will give out five (5) FREE NBG T-shirts to the first five people that approach us after having DONE the plunge.  We also be selling the remainder of our NBG T-shirts for $10 each and ALL the money we raise will be donated to the Ft. Phoenix Polar Bear Plunge Committee for their fund-raising efforts. Feel free to pre-order your shirts (color and size) by emailing me at Noah@LocalOralce.com.

Who? You and all your friends!
What? 1st Annual Ft. Phoenix Polar Plunge
When? January 1, 2011 @ 10 A.M.  SHARP!
Where? DCR’s Ft. Phoenix State Beach Reservation
Why? To establish a scholarship at Fairhaven High School in memory of Fairhaven’s domestic violence victims.  Part of the Dollars for Scholars Program.

Theme: This year’s theme is, “BE COOL. PLUNGE.”  Prizes will be given for the COOLEST costumes.
What’s new this year? As usual, this is a free event.  However this year, for your safety, we are requiring you to register for the event.  You can register prior to the Plunge via mail, or you can also register on Thursday, December 30th from 5-7 p.m.  You can also register on the morning of, between 9-9:30 A.M.  Just remember:  The early bird gets the t-shirt!
Polar Bear PlungeHow much do t-shirts cost?
·    Twenty-five dollars buys a long sleeve T-shirt.
·    Shirts will be available on a first come/ first served basis.
·    Shirts may also be purchased at December 30th from 5-7p.m. at:

·    Checks can be made payable to: Dollars for Scholars.  Please note on check:  Ft. Phoenix Polar Plunge

What should I bring? Towels, blankets and warm clothes to change into after the plunge.  We highly recommend water shoes or old sneakers to protect your feet from rocks and the cold.  There are some unavoidable rocks in the area so be careful!
What will be available? Changing tents, Port-a-Johns, warming fire, and hopefully refreshments.

Questions? Email Kathy at: lopeska@aol.com, or call (508) 991-2194

Directions to the plunge: Click here

About ngriffith25

An official Tough Mudder. I grew up in New Bedford. Graduated from UMASS Dartmouth with Operations MTG Degree (BA). I'm the Head of Sales for RocketFish Media and New Beford Guide. I've been a Bartending for over 9 years and still love it. I try to stay very active and enjoy being outside. Getting married in September (9/10/11) Hobbies: Snowboarding, MMA, riding motorcycles, going on vacation, SCUBA diving, anything outdoors Favorite Authors/Books: Lee Child, George R. R. Martin, Tim Ferriss, Tucker Max, "The Dragons Path"

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