By Valerie Cellucci
Hampton Union, Tuesday, February 2, 2010
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]
The 11th annual Penguin Plunge to benefit Special Olympics New Hampshire will be held at noon on Sunday, Feb. 7, at Hampton Beach.
New and returning volunteers will plunge into the cold Atlantic Ocean to raise awareness and support the athletes of Special Olympics New Hampshire (SONH). Volunteers can participate individually or in "flock" groups of five or more.
SONH is a nonprofit organization that teaches sports training and offers athletic competition that can help build important physical and social skills to be applied at school, home or work for children and adults with intellectual challenges.
"It is our largest fund-raiser event in the state," said Mike Quinn, public relations director for the Penguin Plunge. "It has been of major importance for maintaining and growing SONH."
Money raised from the Penguin Plunge will provide funding for the Special Olympics for more than 3,500 athletes and volunteers. There are more than 100 local programs in the area, and all of the local Special Olympic sports teams will share in the proceeds.
Chris Roblee, team leader of the Gang Green and the Funky Fuzz, is plunging for his ninth time. The team is trying to be the biggest flock with around 35 members so far.
The team is made up of state police troopers, like himself; teachers; local police officers; correction officers; and civilians.
To prepare the team, Roblee offered a practice strategy.
"I just told them to take a bunch of cold showers," said Roblee.
Team member and second-time plunger, Dennie Foss has a personal goal to reach $1,500 in donations.
"I got recruited last year by Chris and had a blast," said Foss. "He said, 'When you see how happy it makes the kids, you'll have to do it again,' and he was right. I got hooked."
Plungers must raise the minimum amount of $300 in addition to the $50 registration fee ($350 in total) in order to participate.
Each plunger receives two tickets to the post-plunge lunch celebration, one for themselves and one for their guest. Tickets are $20 each beyond that and are limited to two additional tickets per plunger.
Donators who do not want to get cold and wet can take the "chicken plunge" where they will have a prime viewing spot to watch the plungers from under the "Big Top" tent erected on the beach.
Contests will be held following this year's theme of "Under the Big Top." Awards include the "Super Flock Award" for most money raise by a group; "The Flock of Excellence Awards" for the group that makes an exceptional contribution; "The Biggest Chicken" for the non-plunger who raised the most money; "The Peerless Penguin" for most money raised by an individual; "The Peerless Flock" for the group with a minimum members that has the highest dollar average raised per plunger in their group; and "The Most Distinguished Penguin/Flock" for the individual plunger and flock wearing the best costume.
To sign up for the Penguin Plunge, visit www.sonh.org.
Plungers must be 15 years or older. Any chicken under the age of 15 must have adult supervision.
Refreshments and souvenirs will be available for purchase outside of the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom. The plunge will be held rain, snow, or shine.
GO & DOWhat: 11th annual Penguin Plunge
to benefit Special Olympics New Hampshire
When: Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010 at noon
Where:Hampton Beach State Park
Contact: Registration is still open, www.sonh.org