YMCA hosts annual Polar Bear Plunge for children with special needs

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RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV)- Hundreds gathered to jump into the freezing Ross Barnett Reservoir at the annual YMCA Polar Bear Plunge Saturday morning.

The event first began in order to build awareness of how the Inclusive Child-Care programs at the Reservoir Y help children with special needs “jump in” to a camp or after-school experience.

Jara Miller, President and CEO of the Metropolitan YMCAs, said, “The Polar Bear Plunge is a great way to challenge yourself by taking the plunge. It is easy to want to chicken out at the last minute but the thrill up jumping is well worth it, especially since it supports the YMCA’s Inclusive Afterschool and Summer Camp programs for children with special needs.”

Nicole Brendel, Reservoir Y Branch Director provided helpful tips for jumpers to have a successful plunge.

“First get a group of friends to do it with you, there is no better way to bond than jumping in the Reservoir.” She added that “linking arms makes sure you all go in together.” Other recommendations were to wear some old tennis shoes or sandals with ankle straps to protect your feet.

“The less material you have on your skin, the better it will be for you when you emerge from the water” said Brendel.

Local community sponsors including Community Bank, Barnett’s Body Shop, Merit Health Systems, Ergon and The Radio People were there to cheer on the jumpers and have already made contributions to support the Reservoir Y programs.

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