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Polar plunge organizers expecting more teens

Belfair Herald of Belfair, Washington

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Anyone who knows a teenager knows it may be hard to get him or her to wake up early on a Saturday morning.

That makes it difficult to get kids to participate in an early-morning fundraiser like the North Mason Boys & Girls Club's annual polar plunge event —an oft-frigid dip into North Bay in Allyn that raises thousands for the local club.

In an effort to get more kids involved, for the first time in the 17 years of the event, teens will be spending the night at the club's teen center before the plunge and carpooling to Allyn, said Branch Director Beth Wallace.

"We're trying to get more participation, and I think participation at the high school will be bigger this year," Wallace said. "The lock-in is going to generate a lot of excitement because we never have sleepovers here."

Wallace hopes this year's event will re-energize people and create more enthusiasm for the fundraiser, which raised close to $5,000 last year at the plunge, compared to about $8,000 in 2010.

"It's for the kids, it's for the teen center, but in the past there haven't been that many kids involved," she said. "People like to see who this is for. It will be cool to see more teens."

Also new this year will be awards for best costume and biggest funiraiser, to encourage people to dress up and raise money.

The awards will be a bedazzled plunger that the kids at the teen center will fashion, Wallace said.

"We thought it'd be more fun," she said. "I want the kids to get excited about this."

For the first time, club member Na-dine Tidwell, a senior at North Mason High School, plans to plunge this year.

"It'll be interesting," she said. "I'm a Floridian girl, I'm used to warm water. But it's going to be fun. and it's for the Boys & Girls Club. I'd do anything for the Boys & Girls Club."

Wallace said the hardest part of the plunge is the anticipation right beforehand.

"If it's cold outside, you're miserable," she said. "But if I have a whole bunch of kids this year, I'm going to have them throw me in."

The North Mason Boys & Girls Club's annual polar plunge fundraiser begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Allyn Waterfront Park.

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Original Publication Date: January 19, 2012

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