Diving into the New Year

4 local plunges to mark arrival of 2014


Running into the ocean on New Year’s Day in honor of a charity has become a bit of a tradition, and this year will be no different. These brave Rhode Islanders will gather on three Warwick beaches tomorrow, braving a predicted air temperature of 27 degrees and water temperatures of 39 degrees, for four different “plunges” to benefit some very worthy causes.

The third annual Pit Bull Plunge will take place at the beach area in City Park at 10 a.m. All the funds raised by participants will benefit the Warwick-based charity, The Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club.

“It all benefits specific animals while they are in the shelter, and the enrichment programs,” explained Susan Parker, president and founder of the Club.

Parker explained that her 501c3 non-profit works with surrounding shelters to support specific animals living in the shelter, including pit bulls. Not only does the organization provide medical support and other items the dogs need in order to get adopted, but Parker, who is also the co-owner of Dynamic Dog Training Services, LCC, works with the dogs through specific enrichment programs such as Calming Scents Nose Works, a program to train and sharpen a dog’s sense of smell.

Parker works with a number of local shelters throughout the state, including Warwick Animal Shelter.

Last year, Parker said more than $1,000 was raised through the Pit Bull Plunge.

“We’re looking to break that,” said Parker. “We asked every person participating to get at least a $5 pledge.”

Those interested in participating in the Pit Bull Plunge can sign up online at www.dynamicdogtraining.webs.com, or you can sign up at the event. This event is open to dogs, but Parker asks that if your dog will be participating in the plunge, they be healthy and able to withstand the cold water. If you are just watching the plunge and would like to bring your dog, Parker asks that the dog must be dog-friendly and updated on all vaccines.

Over at the beach in Goddard Park, the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership will host the Third Annual Frozen Clam Plunge, with registration at 11 a.m. and the plunge starting at noon.

To register for the plunge, it is a suggested donation of $25 per person; all participants also receive a T-shirt.

In addition to the plunge, the Mentoring Partnership’s event will feature raffles, food and pictures with the Frozen Clam. The Gondoliers will also be on hand to perform the national anthem. Following the event, the raffles, food and fun will continue during the Post-Plunge Party at Ritrovo Pub & Grille at 1050 Main Street in East Greenwich.

Jo-Ann Schofield, executive director of the Mentoring Partnership, explained that the event usually draws 50 participants and 50 spectators. Last year, $4,000 was raised, and they hope to surpass that this year.

Schofield participates in the plunge most years and said running into the cold water is “horrible but it’s exhilarating.”

“I’ve done a half-marathon for this organization, and given the choice between this or that, I would choose [the plunge],” said Schofield, adding that the Plunge provides a great sense of camaraderie because of the shared experience.

Over at Oakland Beach, two plunges will be occurring.

The first is the sixth annual Seawall Splash to benefit the Oakland Beach Carousel Foundation. Registration starts at 10 a.m., with the plunge starting at noon. There is no minimum donation to participate.

“It’s more that people come out and show they support us and what we are doing,” said Doreen Kosciusko, president of the Foundation.

Since the organization began in April 2001, they have been able to raise the funds and build 18 unique, handcrafted carousel horses; they only have six more to make. Kosciusko says that the organization’s volunteers like to do things the old-fashioned way and they stretch all of the resources they have.

In addition to the plunge, the Seawall Splash will feature hot cocoa and soup for sale, photos with Poseidon, God of the Sea, thanks to Kate Fischer Photography, and a straw table raffle.

During a straw table raffle, guests are invited to purchase and pick a straw; each straw has a piece of paper tucked inside. If that piece of paper has a number on it, the participant receives the prize with the corresponding number.

Last year, Kosciusko said the plunge raised $2,500 for the Foundation, and they usually expect around 50 participants.

While there is no suggested donation to participate in the Plunge, there is a $10 suggested donation for the professional photos. Guests are welcome to make their donation on the day of the event, or prior to the event through the organization’s Pay Pal Donation Button on www.oaklandbeachcarousel.org. Kosciusko explained that many participants don’t want to worry about bringing cash or wallets if they are running into the water, so the option to make donations ahead of time is provided.

Kosciusko has participated in the plunge in the past and has been keeping her eye on the tides. Supposedly, the tides are going to be very low at the time of this year’s plunge.

“You do have to run out quite a bit to get wet when they are that low,” said Kosciusko.

Punks For A Princess Inc. will also be hosting their second annual Punk Rock Plunge on Oakland Beach. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Providence-based organization will be holding their fundraising event at the new Iggy’s Boardwalk (formerly Marley’s On The Beach, 885 Oakland Beach Avenue). Although Iggy’s Boardwalk is under renovation and closed for regular business, the event will feature live bands, a 50/50 raffle, and all-you-can-eat clam cakes and chowder for $10.

Last year’s Punk Rock Plunge attracted 150 participants, raising over $10,000 for the Angelina Rose Cox Fund. This year, Punks For A Princess Inc. is holding their Punk Rock Plunge to benefit Jake Gallerani, 10, a resident of Uxbridge, Mass. who has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, an uncharacterized type of soft tissue Sarcoma. After numerous surgeries, the tumors grow back, and radiation and chemotherapy have not been effective. Punks For A Princess Inc. is hoping to help raise money so the Gallerani family can afford to pay for a personal trial to determine what drugs might be effective for Jake.

Registration for the Punk Rock Plunge is $25 per person, whether you are joining a team or plunging as an individual. Registration is available until noon tomorrow by emailing punksforaprincess@cox.net; donations can also be made online at www.punksforaprincess.com.


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