Welcome to the 15th Annual Westchester Polar Plunge for Special Olympics New York! Below you will find the timeline of events for the Polar Plunge. Please be aware that below is a tentative timeline. Make sure you are check your email for information from firstname.lastname@example.org. We will keep this site as up to date as possible.
- 10am-Reg Opens
Cool School Challenge
The Cool School Challenge is a friendly competition between local private and public schools as part of the Westchester Polar Plunge. Students and staff are encouraged to create a team of “Plungers” and join the coolest event around! Your school’s team should work together to recruit as many participants as possible, while raising money and awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics New York!
The school team that raises the most money for the Westchester Polar Plunge will be named the Cool School Champion for that year, receiving a traveling trophy, school logo on the back of next year’s sweatshirts, a Pizza Party, & ultimate bragging rights!*****
To be officially entered into the Cool School Challenge, your group must commit to the following:
- Appoint a designated faculty member as Team Captain, who will serve as the point of contact
- between the school and Special Olympics New York.
- Register online a minimum of 5 students and staff from your school that are committed to raising your sweatshirt minimum each.
- Agree to “challenge” neighboring and rival schools to participate in the Plunge.
Participation in the Polar Plunge as a Cool School also leads to these meaningful benefits:
- Strengthens your school by uniting students and faculty for a great cause
- Teaches students the importance of being active citizens in the community
- Earn community service hours
- Raises awareness of intellectual disabilities in your school
- Creates lasting memories with your peers!
Q: What is the minimum amount that I need to raise to participate?
- A: Individual Plungers need to raise at least $150. THIS IS MANDATORY this year. By raising $150, you will receive an official Polar Plunge hoodie the day of the plunge. Raise more money and receive more great prizes! Raise $500 by Friday, October 29th and YOUR name will go on the back of 1,000 Polar Plunge hoodies! Incentive prizes will be sent out after the plunge.
Q: Where/how do I turn in my money on Plunge day?
- A: Any money you have in-hand should be turned in at the Registration area on Plunge Day. This includes cash, checks, and money orders. Credit card donations are also accepted at Registration.
Q: What prizes are available to participants who raise more than the minimum?
- A: Anyone that raises $250 or more will qualify for additional incentives. These incentives will be sent out AFTER the plunge. Check out our Incentives tab to see what other fun swag you could win.
Q: How far do I have to go into the water?
- A: As far as you want! There are no "plunge police" making sure that you go in. Some choose to go all the way under, while others go ankle-deep and then go home. Everyone is a Plunger in our book! We do have photographers in the water so try to make it out to them to get the BEST plunge picture you can!
Q: How old do you have to be to Plunge?
- A: While we do not have any age restrictions, participants under the age of 18 must have written consent from a parent or legal guardian. Over the years, many young children have participated quite safely and we defer to the parents on what makes the most sense for their family. Remember, Plunging can mean dipping a hand or a big toe, which is plenty of cold water for a little one!
Q: Is there someplace where I can change before and/or after the Plunge?
- A: Restrooms will be available at the beach.
Q: What should I wear to the Plunge?
- A: Pretty much whatever you want, within the following guidelines: You must wear shoes of some sort. We recommend old sneakers, crocs, or water shoes. Flip flops fall off easily. Lewd or indecent bathing suits or outfits are not permitted. Please remember that this is a family event. Participants who disregard this policy will be asked to cover up, or will be escorted from the park. There is a costume contest! Prizes for the best individual and best team costume will be given out so we strongly encourage costumes!
Q: I am a first-time Plunger. Can you tell me what I should expect when I arrive?
- A: The most fun you'll ever have at the beach in the winter!
Q: Do you have any other tips for plungers?
- A: Bring a plastic bag for your wet clothes. Don't wear any jewelry that you are afraid to lose. If you want to take your cell phone with you, put it in a plastic bag so it won't get wet.
DONATIONS / FUNDRAISING
Q: Who should checks be made out to?
- A: Checks should be made out to Special Olympics New York. Please include in the memo area of the check the Plunger's name that will receive the credit.
Q: I am trying to make an online donation but it doesn't seem to be going through. What can I do?
- A: Call or email us and we can help! We can check on the back end to see what the problem was.
Q: I have received additional donations for the Plunge but the event is over. What should I do with them?
- A: Donations to the Plunge are accepted at any time of the year, and simply need to be mailed or delivered to: Special Olympics New York, 211 East 43rd St. Suite 1100 New York, NY 10017. Please be sure that the name of the individual or team that the donations should be credited to is clearly indicated.
Q: I have registered online but I also have cash and checks that people have given me, what can I do with these?
- A: All donations should be turned in at the event Registration, these additional funds will be added to your fundraising total. You can also drop your donations off to our offices at , 211 East 43rd St. Suite 1100 New York, NY 10017. Please contact Kaitlin Rosner to coordinate a time.
Q: Does Special Olympics New York issue refunds?
- A: Charitable contributions are non-refundable, and the minimum Plunge registration fee is considered a charitable contribution and is therefore also non-refundable.
Q: I have received some cash donations and I want to update the fundraising total on my webpage to include these. How can I do this?
- A: Individual Plunge participants can enter donations in the system, but they must be confirmed by the staff at Special Olympics New York. All donations cash, check, money order received via mail or in person are entered by the administrative support staff for the Plunge. Contributions in this form should be mailed to Special Olympics New York, , 211 East 43rd St. Suite 1100 New York, NY 10017 for processing. Please allow at least 5-7 days from receipt of the donations for totals to reflect online.
Q: How long does it take for checks that are mailed in on my behalf to show up in my fundraising total?
- A: Generally speaking, contributions will be entered no more than 5-7 days after they are received by Special Olympics New York. When checking on a donation that has been mailed, please remember to allow 2-3 days for handling by the USPS. During the week of the Plunge, processing time WILL increase due to the volume of mail received. In this case, contributions may or may not appear on your webpage prior to the event.
Q: My company offers matching gifts. If I get my personal contribution to the Plunge matched, does that count towards my fundraising total and how do I go about getting credit for it?
- A: Yes, that is an excellent way to raise additional funds on behalf of your Plunge. All you need to do is complete a request with your employer. They will have us verify your donation and will send us the matching funds — usually within 6 weeks, sometimes longer.
Q: Can I get blank receipt forms to give to my donors?
- A: Blank receipt forms are available for you to give back to donors upon receiving a contribution. They are at the following LINK.
Q: What is the minimum amount that my team needs to raise?
- A: Teams are not required to raise any specific amount; however, every team member still must raise at least $150 to receive an official Polar Plunge sweatshirt.
- A: All Plungers must fund-raise individually. However, we are aware that in some cases a family member or a company will issue one check that is intended to cover multiple team members, but will just use the team name. You can help us to avoid this by asking donors to indicate in advance exactly who they are sponsoring and in what amounts. If that information is not included ahead of time but the donor did intend for it be split among team members, please contact us at email@example.com. If you are bringing a bulk check or dollar amount with you to the event registration, PLEASE have exactly how you would like the funds split up between each Plunger written out or the donation will go to whichever team member is handing it in during registration.
Q: My team would like to put out some banners/posters/flyers/other promotional materials to promote a special fundraiser and/or our general participation in the event and help us raise money. How can we get these?
- A: We are happy to work with teams to assist in promoting participation in this event. Send us the information and we will post it on our social media accounts. Please email Kaitlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: As a spectator, where is the best place to watch the Plunge?
- A: Spectators are welcome to stand along the outside perimeter of the fence line designating the official "Plunge Zone" in order to watch the action; however, they will not be allowed entry into the Plunge Zone. For those Plungers who need photographic proof, we recommend taking a waterproof camera to the water with you and asking a fellow Plunger to capture the moment. Another option is to delay your Plunge until the bulk of the crowd has already entered and exited the water, making it easier for your supporters to see you from the spectator area.
- A: No! Spectators are welcome to the event free of charge. There are, however, tons of great food and beverage vendors, crafters and other merchandise for sale at the event so you might want to have some money on hand for when you see that sweatshirt you just can't live without!
Q: I was going to participate but now I can't. Is there a way for me to cancel my registration?
- A: If you simply want to let us know that you are no longer attending, there is no need. We expect a certain % of no-shows each year and plan accordingly.
Q: I was going to participate but now my schedule doesn't allow. Is it possible for me to turn in my money early and still receive the Plunge sweatshirt?
- A: Absolutely! Please contact your regional Plunge staff and they will help you arrange that!